The email marketing statistics don’t lie: The time for personalized email marketing is now.
The days of bulk mass messaging are far behind us. With so much capability in your email marketing tools and access to customer data, why wouldn’t you take advantage of being more personal in your messaging?
Based on an Experian report from earlier this year, 70% of brands still failed to use personalization in their email marketing. So I ask you, why?
In this post, I’ll review some of the key email marketing statistics that prove personalization is worth your time and which tactics may actually make your life easier!
1. Personalized subject lines deliver 26% higher unique open rates
Whether you use the customer’s name, target them with a recent action they took (like abandoning their cart), or simply direct your message to the correct gender, personalizing your emails doesn’t have to take a lot of resources and it goes a long way. Half the battle is getting subscribers to open.
2. 60% of abandoned cart emails generate revenue and most of that revenue occurs in the first 24 hours of the email being sent
Source: [Salesforce’s Exact Target]
Use the data you have by initiating abandoned cart emails. Online shoppers are multitasking so by missing the opportunity to send a reminder, you’re losing out on a lot of revenue. Follow up with your customers and do it within a few hours to salvage that lost sale. You’ll thank us for it.
3. Personalized emails improve click-through rate by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%
Get more eyes in front of your emails and offers by including more personalization. While click-through rate may not always be your most important metric to track, conversions certainly are and we all know that you can’t convert customers who don’t ever get to your offer.
4. 61% of consumers prefer offers even if this results in less privacy
Privacy is a definite concern for customers and marketers alike, but if you don’t abuse the information you gather from your visitors, you can offer a better experience for everyone. Use offers and deals to your advantage, but be mindful not to bombard customers too frequently.
5. 94% of companies say personalization is critical to their success
Amidst marketers, there’s no question personalization is important for success. Still, so many brands aren’t taking advantage of it. Now more than ever is your chance to take the lead, even if you’re only taking small steps.
6. 74% of consumers get frustrated when they receive or see content that has nothing to do with their interests
Source: [Janrain and Harris Interactive]
Some marketers claim they don’t want to irritate the customer by using too much of their data. While this is a valid concern, statistics show that you’re angering them even more if you continue delivering irrelevant messaging. Target your outreach, but don’t go overboard. Sprinkle in a healthy balance of personalized messaging and more generalized offers.
7. 54% of retailers that used automated product recommendations increased their average order value year over year
Source: [Forrester Research/Shop.org]
Who says personalization has to be manual? Get your hands on a platform that allows you to deliver automated recommendations based on user behavior. Not only will this decrease your time spent on email, but it will also increase purchasing.
8. Adding personalization experience to shopping could lift sales by 7.8%
Source: [O2 – The Rise of Me-Tail]
There’s no need to spend countless hours or dollars on a marketing campaign or sale when simple personalization could give you a noticeable lift.
9. 80% of marketers define dynamic personalization in emails as highly important
Source: [Adobe and DMA]
Most marketers agree that personalizing your email tracks is key. Invest in an email tool that allows for segmentation and put in the time and effort to target your customers at a more individualized level – even if you can only manage a few different nurture tracks. Some personalization is always better than none at all.
10. Personalized promotional emails see transaction rates and revenue per email more than 6x higher than messages of the non-personalized variety
Not all promotional emails are treated equally. Just because you have a great deal, consumers are almost numb to discounts and percent-off emails. In addition to offering a discount, be sure you’re also personalizing the products you’re sending. For example, send a dedicated email with similar items to each customers’ latest purchase.
11. 77% of consumers are likely to make additional purchases if an option that matches their preferences is presented to them in a personalized email from a merchant or retailer
As I said in #10, leveraging a customer’s latest purchase is one of the quickest ways to making them a repeat buyer. Once they hit checkout, you have valuable information about what that customer’s interests are so use it!
12. 45% of online shoppers are more likely to shop on a site that offers personalized recommendations
Take on a more unified approach to personalization by delivering personalized products not just through email but across your site as well.
13. 59% of online shoppers believe that it’s easier to find more interesting products on personalized online retail stores
Your job as a retailer is to make the customer’s job in finding what they’re looking for easier. By using the data you have, you’re also boosting your customer service and what’s better than that?
What Are You Waiting For?
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all of the ways you can market to your customers. That said, these numbers and stats prove consumers expect and appreciate personalization. So, for your next campaign, take the right steps to segment, target and build a stronger connection with your audience.
How are you personalizing your email marketing? Share your efforts in the comments below.
Daily deals are appealing for the eyeballs, email acquisition, and potential online sales. But are they really worth it in the long run?
With the rise in daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, there’s no question that this model can be an effective but it’s important to understand what you’re getting yourself into – for better or for worse.
Daily deals are short term sales that last anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. The deals offered typically range on the higher side of typical discounts you’d see online. Instead of 10% off, we’re talking deals as high as 90% off of certain items in that limited amount of time. For many brands, deals are also limited in number, simply adding to the demand and urgency for purchase.
This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed the value of testing your emails on the blog. Best practices can get you started and help you develop your instincts, but ultimately that all goes out the door once your emails land in the hands of a customer. From there, it’s all about what the data shows you and whether or not they open, they click, and whether or not those campaigns are driving a sale.
With this in mind, here is an introduction to testing for your email marketing as well as a few ideas for things you should be testing.
A/B testing is amazing. It’s changed the face of online marketing, made software companies millions of dollars, and played a major role in presidential elections. But amidst the 100’s of blog posts extolling the virtues of testing and the countless articles on how to analyze tests, there has been far too little focus on what to test, and this has meant that A/B testing has been dramatically under-utilized.
The problem with how so many “growth hackers” use A/B testing is that they aren’t testing the big questions. Testing has come to focus so purely on optimization that it isn’t being used to define overall strategy.
Tests focused on helping unearth the right major strategic choices aren’t the type that have a 20% impact – they can have a completely redefining impact that might mean the difference in a company succeeding vs failing or increasing your growth rate by 10X. Optimization is really, really important – but it isn’t enough.
In the last year, I’ve received an average of 175 emails per day excluding what ends up in my spam folder. Assuming I spent an average of 30 seconds per email, that’s 90 minutes per day, 10.5 hours per week, and 22 days of my year. Give or take, this means I spent about 6% of my year on email.
While I only have the data to understand my email experience, pulling apart this number yields some anecdotal nuggets that might be useful in improving that 6% of my life that’s spent on email. If my email is at all representative, I’d propose we need a solution that both helps the receivers (who are consuming the email) and the senders (who are using email to send notifications, newsletters, etc).
Having previously found that the Obama campaign ended 1 in 6 of their email subject lines in colons, I decided to dive into the last 30 days of election emails (available online thanks to ProPublica) to see what they might tell me about Americans and how we respond to email more broadly.
From free car magnets to exactly which friends we should tell to vote, I realized that the emails we get are about to radically change as political campaigns and businesses get even more sophisticated at poking our psychological triggers and leveraging our social networks.
Do vs. Believe
I decided to create two word clouds out of the subject line to see how the language of each campaign differed. For each campaign, I took all of the email subject lines, took out the candidate names and extremely common words / combined words with the same meaning, and then sized each word based on how many times it was used.
Take a look at the word cloud at the top. Which campaign do you think it’s from? Now, look at this next word cloud:
The top cloud is President Obama, and the bottom is Mitt Romney. The most common words in Obama’s emails were share (or forward, like an email), calls and free – compared to America, help and love in Romney’s emails. Many of Romney’s email subjects wouldn’t have been out of place on motivational posters, while Obama’s would fit better as the names on Facebook buttons.
1. Jump on Facebook, 2. Make some Calls
Diving deeper, this change seemed to be reflected in the purposes of the emails sent. Nearly half (46%) of Obama’s emails explicitly asked the recipient to do something in the email subject line – whether that was to make phone calls, forward a message to friends, or sign-up for something – compared to 28% of emails.
Romney’s emails tended to focus on ideas:
- “A Strong America”
- “This is a time for greatness”
- “We Will Recover”
While Obama’s focused on taking action:
- “Three Things you can do right now”
- “Forward this:”
- “RIGHT NOW: President Obama Needs you to make some calls”
These emails represent strategic choices and differences in voter base certainly, but given the deep sophistication of the Obama campaign covered elsewhere, it’s very likely that giving people you email a direct next step in the subject is actually just more effective in many cases.
Tell Jason, Jim and Leah to Vote
One of the most interesting emails from Obama came on election day and had a personal list of your friends in swing states you should encourage to vote – all mined from your Facebook account if you’d given the campaign permission to access it. Based on other accounts, the Obama campaign knew who the voters on the line were in swing states – and based on these emails, it looks like they also knew which of their friends could encourage them to vote for Obama.
FREE Shipping (and $5 off!)
At varying points in the campaign, Obama was offering free t-shirts, free car magnets, free tickets to see James Taylor and Dave Matthews, free shipping – all to get people to donate. While the idea of free stuff to get people to do things isn’t new, the prevalence of these offers in the campaigns may mean that it’s poised to take over all the marketing emails we get.
3 Key Trends in the Future of Email Marketing
- More and more marketing will come through people we know. By getting people to engage their friends, marketers are able to increase their reach and give a personal touch to an otherwise impersonal ad or email. From mining Facebook data to tracking your demographics and actions around the web, marketers will know who you are, who you know, and what message will be most likely to resonate with you and your friends.
- Direct and clear next steps will become more pervasive. As social psychologists and marketers have long known, giving people an explicit action to take significantly increases the likelihood of them doing it. The Obama campaign emails suggests more and more advertising might include a direct call to action that is tailored explicitly to you.
- Marketing will become better – and harder to resist. As marketers become more sophisticated and metrics-driven, they’ll be able to stop sending you marketing that doesn’t have an impact. If I show that I like celebrities and contests, more of my emails may include free contests to hang out with celebrities.
If the 2008 election was the first election where donations of the masses played a bigger impact than the donations of the rich, then the 2012 election might be remembered as the election where email meant that even the concept of the masses has ceased to exist. We’re entering an age when political campaigns (and business) will send us personalized emails based on who we are and what we like – and they’ll ask us to bring our friends along with us.
Follow Klaviyo on Twitter for more analyses like this on the changing role of email marketing.
Early in 2012, I signed up for the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns’ email lists with a rarely used old email address. While I knew that this small dataset couldn’t reveal the extreme sophistication of their email strategies, I set out to analyze the emails I’d received (and rarely read) – and discovered some surprising differences in strategy (at least as it related to the emails I was sent).
The Emails in Numbers
From June 1st through November 5th, I got 35 and 37 emails from Mitt Romney and Barack Obama respectively (see chart above showing cumulative # of emails sent to me over time since June 1st).
There are two main differences you’ll notice – first, the sharp daily dose of Romney emails right after June 1st. Second, the month-long gap that immediately followed them. This gap began June 18th – the same day that I clicked the unsubscribe button on the Romney emails from another email address (once I realized I was signed up twice). While I can’t prove it, impressively, the Romney campaign seemed to realize I might be close to unsubscribing and put me on pause for a month.
Who Sends the Emails
When we break the emails down by who sent them, the results get interesting:
The Obama campaign is twice as likely to send emails from Barack Obama (49% of overall emails coming from him) than the Mitt Romney campaign is to send them from Mitt Romney (23% of overall emails coming from him). While the campaigns are roughly equal on the number of emails coming from Michelle Obama vs Ann Romney or Joe Biden vs Paul Ryan, there is a major difference in the use of others – a bucket largely made up of Zac Moffatt and Matt Rhoades (other Romney staffers) and his son Tagg.
A few hypotheses for why this might be true:
- A difference in strategy to add increased importance to emails from the candidate by sending fewer of them.
- Less candidate allegiance from Republicans in this election (and a greater emphasis on the party).
- Individual targeting or testing differences based on who I am. Had I exhibited some personal behavior that I liked emails from Obama but would prefer other people on the Romney campaign to Mitt? Is there someone out there who see the exact opposite of what I see?
The most interesting aspect of this finding is that it may reflect very real perceptions of what drives voters for each candidate – namely, more voters relating to Barack Obama on a personal level, and more potential Romney voters holding deeper party than candidate allegiances.
The One Word Subject Line
In a similar vein, while none of Romney’s emails had single word subject lines, about 1 in 7 of Obama’s did. Examples:
- Hey (this was a common one)
The one word subject line evokes a certain casualness and personal relationship and this difference seems to parallel many of the media portrayals of the candidates. Are the one word subject lines actually less effective for Romney? It’s hard to say, but what might be most clear is that the campaigns have developed real stylistic differences in how they talk to their constituents – and those could be rooted in the real differences of who their constituents typically are.
The Enigmatic Colon
Very unexpectedly, 1 in 6 of the Barack Obama message subject lines ended in colons (and none of the Romney subjects). Here are a couple of examples:
- Real Quick:
- This Matters:
Given how high this number is, my guess is that the Obama campaign has tested (and shown) that ending a message in a colon makes people more likely to read it. While the circumstances of a presidential campaign are obviously very unique, this isn’t a piece of advice I’ve heard elsewhere (and certainly not one that the Romney campaign has acted on in their emails to me).
The Future of Email may contain more Colons
First off, all of these analyses are based on a single person, and as ProPublica’s attempt to reverse engineer email strategies is starting to show, there are wide variations in what you’ll receive based on where you live, how old you are, whether you’ve donated, etc. As these systems get more complex, it will become more and more difficult to analyze any company or campaign’s email strategy – because that strategy might actually be 300 million different strategies.
That said, the emails will likely always say more about the particular cultures and moods of a campaign or organization at a given point in time. Would Obama letting Biden send more emails have changed how much money was raised? Would a “Hey:” from Mitt Romney have increased his chances of winning my vote?
The email strategies of the political campaigns are among the most sophisticated in the world and are a great indicator of how email will be changing as companies get better at linking the emails they send to the behavior of consumers. Just as Obama and Romney know what makes you press the donate button, companies are getting better every day at knowing how to make you purchase. In the future, it might not just be presidential candidates who are ending emails in colons and varying senders to figure out who you connect with – it might be your local farmers market stand.
Please tell us more about the Obama and Romney emails you’re receiving in the comments and if you want to know more about the future of email marketing, check out Klaviyo. And – go vote.