The end of the year is the time when many people stop to reflect on what's working and what isn't - personally and professionally. For many small-business owners, there is a challenge in understanding what customers expect from marketers. A recent report from the marketing research firm Research Now and the marketing company x+1 took a cold, hard look at this idea, measuring marketer perceptions against those of customers. At the crux of the research is knowing how consumers make purchasing decisions, and the report found they still see the most value in email marketing, at 25 percent (Tweet this Stat). But the devil's in the details and there's a lot at stake when businesses don't look at what customers feel is working and compare it to where the bulk of the money is going in a company's marketing strategies.
In terms of relevance, email is No. 1 among consumers. So, it's likely high time you take a closer look at your marketing strategy, with special attention paid to email. By combining personalization with the relevance of email, businesses should work to make it one of their top priorities to achieve better open and click-through rates.
Putting the 'Person' in Personalization In fact, the latest research from the email marketing firm MailChimp shows even just including first and last names can improve these marketing metrics. The study indicated this is the least common approach used by companies, with more businesses opting to include a first name only. Still, incorporating a last name in your email marketing messages can improve click-through rates. The only sector that didn't see an improvement in email responses - open rates - was the legal sector. That said, you should remember that not all customers are the same and each company needs to look at its own data - or start looking at it - through strategic A/B testing to get the clearest idea of what works best with your audience.
This is exactly what the pet-friendly ecommerce site Doggyloot did. The dog-centric company took some strategic steps to improve the performance of its email marketing with multiple layers of personalization. Instead of focusing on the human half of pet ownership, Doggyloot targeted the canine component, collecting data about the breed, size, birthday and other relevant information through a website design geared toward persuading people to sign up for an email list. Afterward, Doggyloot can personalize subsequent emails each recipient gets according to breed. Obviously, the food and toys that interest a Chinese Crested will likely differ greatly from what a Newfoundland feels like chewing on.
While the focus of the personalization isn't even (directly) on a person, the email marketing strategy developed by this company works for a variety of reasons. The information in the email is personalized and relevant from the start. Once consumers sign up for the email list to gain access to the site, the company has an idea of what size of dog the customer has. The information can be targeted according to doggy birthdays, which has had astonishing results: a click-through rate 750 percent higher than the company's average and a 28 percent open rate. How many other companies can claim that kind of impact?
Related: Behind the 8-ball? Learn about email marketing resources
Personalization is a concept with a fairly simple principle, but it's a bit more difficult in practice than what many organizations are willing to try. However, it's worth taking the time to find out how your customers will respond even to small changes.