One way to obtain higher levels of engagement and collect actionable data is to make personalization a priority. Use these tips to initiate personalized email marketing campaigns.

If I were to ask you if you would prefer to receive one-size-fits-all (spam) messages or ones that are personalized, which would you choose? I'm guessing that pretty much everyone would pick the personalized messages. They're more relevant, engaging, and actionable.

As a marketer, this is pretty much a no brainer - we know how our clients and prospects answer that question. Accomplishing personalized messaging is perceived as much harder to do in practice. But with a game plan and steady progress, you can transform your marketing program and your results from marginal to fantastic using personalization techniques.

Here are four ways to begin developing more personalized communications:

1. Ask questions and store them in your digital marketing database


A question or survey can even be just a button in an email. Send an email that merely asks, "Did you buy?" Then, put two buttons in your email that delineate a "yes" or "no" response. The answer is then easily stored in your digital database and you will be able to send a different message to those that bought compared to those that did not.

Of course, you can add more information into your digital database by conducting a survey - or better yet, using progressive profiling techniques to gradually ask one or two questions in exchange for content or another offer. Make sure all this data is going into your digital database and that you are using it to tailor your messages. If you don't have immediate plans to use the data, I question the wisdom behind even asking the questions in the first place.

2. Integrate data from other systems (Read more...) your company

CRM, order management, shopping cart, call center, and ERP systems are all great candidates for integrations. In these corporate systems, there is a goldmine of information that you can use to personalize messages.

Meet with other departments and understand what systems they have, and what data they are creating and maintaining. Figure out how you would use this data to personalize your messaging. Get your digital marketing platform's API guide and begin understanding how you can link data and feed data into your marketing platform, and then pull in your IT teammates to make it happen. Make sure they understand the importance of having this data connected to your marketing systems, or it will continue to be a back burner project for all.

3. Capture and use behaviors from within your own marketing systems


Behavioral data is among the most powerful data you can use to personalize communications. Why? It's fresh, immediately actionable, and highly relevant to each recipient

First, you need to add web tracking to your website. Explain the importance of this step to your website owners, and make sure they know that you have both synchronous and asynchronous tag management options.

Next, build out automated and triggered communications based on browse abandons of pages and sites, PDFs viewed, videos watched, emails opened and clicked, SMS messages opened, and more.

4. Link to data from other systems

Some of these systems might not even be owned by your company, but your customers and prospects are using them along their customer journey. Incorporating this important outside information will allow you to meet them on their turf.

Examples include webinars, event registration and attendance, geo-location activity, social participation, app downloads or actions and more. At IBM, we call these "Universal Behaviors." The beauty of a universal behavior framework is that you can capture real-time behavior happening in other systems, and link that data to triggered automated messages which are deployed by your digital platform. Perhaps the best part about it is that the communication - email, push or SMS - can happen not days or weeks later, but immediately. This is personalization at its best.

Employing these approaches singularly or in combination will ensure that you will remain fresh and relevant in what you are communicating. You will enjoy higher engagement metrics and results. Also, hopefully you can begin to taper down your non-personalized e-blasts that we have all come to loathe.

What are you doing to drive higher levels of personalization in your marketing department?

Article image via Flickr

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