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The Novel Approach to Email Hyper-Personalization

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The Novel Approach to Email Hyper-Personalization

Marketing is all about standing out and drawing attention to your product. Now that most marketing campaigns make use of personalization, it may no longer be enough. Moreover, targeting is an essential part of any marketing campaign, so it may no longer suffice to broadly target an audience solely based on gender, age, and previous engagement.

Nowadays, marketing strategists are relying on more than surveys and data entered upon signup. Good marketers know that the customer communicates with more than just words. It’s also about what the customer is doing. Thankfully, there are ways to collect such data and ways to leverage it to our advantage.

So what is hyper-personalization?

Artificial intelligence (AI), as well as real-time customer data, allow marketers to display the most relevant content, information, and products to consumers. This new form of personalization is a result of the digital era’s new trend of hyper-relevance. It is all about leveraging data, AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics to better understand your audience’s unique habits and tailor interactions to them.

This method allows brands to engage customers in meaningful ways that feel like engagement is done on a personal basis. It makes a world of difference if your brand strategy is the one that gets them in the sea of information that is the internet. So much so, in fact, that personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates.

What’s new in the field of email hyper-personalization?

The more data we have, the better we can reach our target audience. The more tools for personalization we have, the clearer our message will be. Thankfully, the tools for both of these elements are plenty with the tendency to grow exponentially.

Costs

If all this is getting your head to spin at the thought of more marketing costs, it may surprise you to learn that hyper-personalization tends to cut down on those costs relative to earnings. It seems counterintuitive at first but remember – marketing is all about targeting. If you can find just the right people in the sea of potential customers, then every dollar spent reaching them is well worth it.

Personalized email marketing is said to generate a median ROI of 122% according to the survey of US marketers conducted by the Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric. Segmented and targeted emails are said to generate 58% of all revenue.

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Now that we’ve settled that, let’s move on to hyper-personalization.

How does it start?

It starts with data collection. Think Website analytics, mobile application analytics, social listening tools, welcome emails, and email quizzes and surveys. It is all about paying attention to what the customer is doing as well as buying. People want to be discovered and known. It is up to a skilled and motivated marketer to look for what they are telling us about themselves.

A marketer delving into hyper-personalization will listen in on social media trends and mentions. They will look at what the users are telling them about themselves through quizzes, surveys and profile data. They will sit down and really do their homework incorporating website and mobile application analytics. Even the current email marketing metrics will provide good insight into the starting point.

Only then are they ready to connect with the audience in this new, unprecedented way. The next step will be to leverage this advantage to enhance brand engagement, but more on that later.

What can we do with all that data?

1. Keep Personalizing email subject lines

Hyper-personalization is really just an extension of personalization. Whereas marketers used to add names to subject lines and deliver season’s greetings coupled with offers, now the message can be tailor-made for a very narrow group.

Going the extra length of crafting a special message can really have people feel like you are thinking of them and, in the case of holidays, it can really help hitch your brand to that festive train ride everyone loves. These are all good practices and 62.26% of consumers have said that they feel “happy” and “excited” to respond to a personalized message from a retailer.

As more and more brands adopt personalization, these practices will not be enough for a brand’s email to stand out in a sea of similar titles. Website and app analytics allow us to collect information about behavior.

Perhaps the website visitor put something in their cart and left or maybe there is an item sitting in their wishlist for a long time. Mentioning a product or other keywords may help jog their memory even before opening the email and help pick up where they left off.

2. Personalize email copy

Dynamic content. So, your targeted audience has seen the tailored email title and it has tickled their imagination. Once they open it, should they see a generic email? The tools we have at our disposal allow us to keep going here. Whether you’re emailing the latest blog posts you’ve published or your monthly newsletter, personalization sets you apart from the sea of other emails vying for inbox space.  

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A brand could generate a special offer based on previous purchases of the customer. Another option is a triggered email. If there was an abandoned and forgotten cart, an email with just those items the customer was looking for will feel much different than a generic offer.

Similarly, if there is an event your targeted audience has shown interest in, or perhaps even signed up for, an email reminder will surely increase attendance.

It is actually possible to go even deeper than that. A marketer could create multiple versions of the same email that is personalized for different groups of subscribers. Perhaps the brand in question has different levels of membership or would like to differentiate between customers based on the level of past engagement.

Showing different segments of an email based on these is possible, but it doesn’t stop there. You could differentiate by gender, age, or any other characteristic that works for your particular brand and its type of customer engagement.

3. Personalize images

People are already starting to get used to tailored messages. Holiday and birthday greetings have been with us for a while. However, not many people assume images, drawings, and animations can be customized too. Why not surprise your users with something they don’t expect? Make it something that feels like a small gift in and of itself.

Some brands have recorded as much as an 8x improvement on click-through rates with a personalized video versus standard outbound email campaigns.

4. Personalize landing pages

In the end, there is no reason to stop at the email itself. Help further smoothen the transition from a killer email and call-to-action button to a landing page by using everything a customer reveals about themselves. Personalized calls to action are said to convert more than 200% better than default calls to action!

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Even as some users are beginning to expect customized advertising, not many have gotten used to the web pages themselves being tailored to them. This will be sure to enhance brand loyalty. Moreover, marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences.

5. Fine-tune the offer

So far we’ve talked about the content of the offer, but timing is important as well. Analyzing the mass of data will allow you to see not only the time when a specific customer is perusing, but what the end result of that engagement tends to be. Right now you should be able to time your emails perfectly and deliver your message, but that might not be the end of it.

We should be wary of tall promises, but it doesn’t seem far-fetched to say that you may end up making discoveries through correlating data.

If Google data engineers were able to make insightful discoveries about intimate topics solely through correlation, then there is good reason to think we may vastly improve our marketing practices by correlating the immense amount of data we collect nowadays. We will start to collect data that will provide further insights into purchase intent and then be able to correlate that into a larger picture that will work best for a particular brand.

The future of email personalization

Current trends in data collection and advancements in video and image manipulation technology, as well as machine learning, give a lot of cause to be excited. For early adopters of these trends, the future has in store a very positive self-reinforcing cycle.

Interacting with a brand that gets them will ensure that a customer is excited when they receive an email. If they are met with an intimate and familiar message, it will only serve to reinforce brand loyalty and brand awareness. They are then more likely to be elated when they receive their next email and… you get it.

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To wrap up

Modern technologies and trends are giving rise to amazing new opportunities. Many brands are already making use of these to great success. Do not be afraid to be one of the early adopters and do not be afraid to carve your own path.

This field is relatively unexploited which makes the advantages all the greater. The data needed for this kind of marketing is out there, ready for taking. The customers are already responding well. The rest is up to you.


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The Future of Content Success Is Social

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The Future of Content Success Is Social

Here’s a challenge: search “SEO RFP” on Google. Click on the results, and tell me how similar they are.

We did the same thing every other SEO does: We asked, “What words are thematically relevant?” Which themes have my competitors missed?” How can I put them in?” AND “How can I do everything just slightly better than they can?”

Then they do the same, and it becomes a cycle of beating mediocre content with slightly less mediocre content.

When I looked at our high-ranking content, I felt uncomfortable. Yes, it ranked, but it wasn’t overly helpful compared to everything else that ranked.

Ranking isn’t the job to be done; it is just a proxy.

Why would a high-ranking keyword make me feel uncomfortable? Isn’t that the whole freaking job to be done? Not for me. The job to be done is to help educate people, and ranking is a byproduct of doing that well.

I looked at our own content, and I put myself in the seat of a searcher, not an SEO; I looked at the top four rankings and decided that our content felt easy, almost ChatGPT-ish. It was predictable, it was repeatable, and it lacked hot takes and spicy punches.

So, I removed 80% of the content and replaced it with the 38 questions I would ask if I was hiring an SEO. I’m a 25-year SME, and I know what I would be looking for in these turbulent times. I wanted to write the questions that didn’t exist on anything ranking in the top ten. This was a risk, why? Because, semantically, I was going against what Google was likely expecting to see on this topic. This is when Mike King told me about information gain. Google will give you a boost in ranking signals if you bring it new info. Maybe breaking out of the sea of sameness + some social signals could be a key factor in improving rankings on top of doing the traditional SEO work.

What’s worth more?

Ten visits to my SEO RFP post from people to my content via a private procurement WhatsApp group or LinkedIn group?

One hundred people to the same content from search?

I had to make a call, and I was willing to lose rankings (that were getting low traffic but highly valued traffic) to write something that when people read it, they thought enough about it to share it in emails, groups, etc.

SME as the unlock to standout content?

I literally just asked myself, “Wil, what would you ask yourself if you were hiring an SEO company? Then I riffed for 6—8 hours and had tons of chats with ChatGPT. I was asking ChatGPT to get me thinking differently. Things like, “what would create the most value?” I never constrained myself to “what is the search volume,” I started with the riffs.

If I was going to lose my rankings, I had to socially promote it so people knew it existed. That was an unlock, too, if you go this route. It’s work, you are now going to rely on spikes from social, so having a reason to update it and put it back in social is very important.

Most of my “followers” aren’t looking for SEO services as they are digital marketers themselves. So I didn’t expect this post to take off HUGLEY, but given the content, I was shocked at how well it did and how much engagement it got from real actual people.

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7 Things Creators Should Know About Marketing Their Book

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7 Things Creators Should Know About Marketing Their Book

Writing a book is a gargantuan task, and reaching the finish line is a feat equal to summiting a mountain.

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Being position-less secures a marketer’s position for a lifetime

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Optimove Positionless Marketer Optimove

On March 20, 2024, the Position-less Marketer was introduced on MarTech.org and my keynote address at Optimove’s user conference.

Since that initial announcement, we have introduced the term “Position-less Marketer” to hundreds of leading marketing executives and learned that readers and the audience interpreted it in several ways. This article will document a few of those interpretations and clarify what “position-less” means regarding marketing prowess.

As a reminder, data analytics and AI, integrated marketing platforms, automation and more make the Position-less Marketer possible. Plus, new generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Canna-GPT, Github, Copilot and DALL-E offer human access to powerful new capabilities that generate computer code, images, songs and videos, respectively, with human guidance.

Position-less Marketer does not mean a marketer without a role; quite the opposite

Speaking with a senior-level marketer at a global retailer, their first interpretation may be a marketer without a role/position. This was a first-glance definition from more than 60% of the marketers who first heard the term. But on hearing the story and relating it to “be position-less” in other professions, including music and sports, most understood it as a multidimensional marketer — or, as we noted, realizing your multipotentiality. 

One executive said, phrasing position-less in a way that clarified it for me was “unlocking your multidimensionality.” She said, “I like this phrase immensely.” In reality, the word we used was “multipotentiality,” and the fact that she landed on multidimensionality is correct. As we noted, you can do more than one thing.

The other 40% of marketing executives did think of the “Position-less Marketer” as a marketing professional who is not confined or defined by traditional marketing roles or boundaries. In that sense, they are not focused only on branding or digital marketing; instead, they are versatile and agile enough to adjust to the new conditions created by the tools that new technology has to offer. As a result, the Position-less Marketer should be comfortable working across channels, platforms and strategies, integrating different approaches to achieve marketing goals effectively.

Navigating the spectrum: Balancing specialization and Position-less Marketing

Some of the most in-depth feedback came from data analytic experts from consulting firms and Chief Marketing Officers who took a more holistic view.

Most discussions of the “Position-less Marketer” concept began with a nuanced perspective on the dichotomy between entrepreneurial companies and large enterprises.

They noted that entrepreneurial companies are agile and innovative, but lack scalability and efficiency. Conversely, large enterprises excel at execution but struggle with innovation due to rigid processes.

Drawing parallels, many related this to marketing functionality, with specialists excelling in their domain, but needing a more holistic perspective and Position-less Marketers having a broader understanding but needing deep expertise.

Some argued that neither extreme is ideal and emphasized the importance of balancing specialization and generalization based on the company’s growth stage and competitive landscape.

They highlight the need for leaders to protect processes while fostering innovation, citing Steve Jobs’ approach of creating separate teams to drive innovation within Apple. They stress the significance of breaking down silos and encouraging collaboration across functions, even if it means challenging existing paradigms.

Ultimately, these experts recommended adopting a Position-less Marketing approach as a competitive advantage in today’s landscape, where tight specialization is common. They suggest that by connecting dots across different functions, companies can offer unique value to customers. However, they caution against viewing generalization as an absolute solution, emphasizing the importance of context and competitive positioning.

These marketing leaders advocate for a balanced marketing approach that leverages specialization and generalization to drive innovation and competitive advantage while acknowledging the need to adapt strategies based on industry dynamics and competitive positioning.

Be position-less, but not too position-less — realize your multipotentiality

This supports what was noted in the March 20th article: to be position-less, but not too position-less. When we realize our multipotentiality and multidimensionality, we excel as humans. AI becomes an augmentation.

But just because you can individually execute on all cylinders in marketing and perform data analytics, writing, graphics and more from your desktop does not mean you should.

Learn when being position-less is best for the organization and when it isn’t. Just because you can write copy with ChatGPT does not mean you will write with the same skill and finesse as a professional copywriter. So be position-less, but not too position-less.

Position-less vs. being pigeonholed

At the same time, if you are a manager, do not pigeonhole people. Let them spread their wings using today’s latest AI tools for human augmentation.

For managers, finding the right balance between guiding marketing pros to be position-less and, at other times, holding their position as specialists and bringing in specialists from different marketing disciplines will take a lot of work. We are at the beginning of this new era. However, working toward the right balance is a step forward in a new world where humans and AI work hand-in-hand to optimize marketing teams.

We are at a pivot point for the marketing profession. Those who can be position-less and managers who can optimize teams with flawless position-less execution will secure their position for a lifetime.

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