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How to Escape the BAU Loop: Creating an Automated, Personalized Email Program [Video]

Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema , Marketing Director, Americas , Emarsys

Are you personalizing your emails? If you’re like 94% of marketers, then you’re likely struggling to do so, and for a number of very good reasons:

  • A lack of time — building emails on a per-send basis creates a time-stretched team.
  • Email creation is a tedious, manual process.
  • The BAU loop — “it’s just not practical to create more than 5 variations.”
  • Energy and time spent on build-test-send-revise
  • Preparation, approval, ready for send — then something changes (UGHHH!)

At Emarsys Revolution 2018, Kickdynamic’s dynamic duo, Matt Hayes and Jordan Sawyer, share how to get over these obstacles and finally start personalizing, automating, and executing emails at scale.

Watch their full-length 35-minute presentation:

“You can’t achieve personalization without automation. You really can’t! If anyone [reading this] is thinking ‘I do personalization — I send womenswear and menswear emails,’ that’s great, but you may be stuck or unable to get beyond that. You have to automate the content and also combine different layers of personalization and relevance across email programs. You’ll see a gradual increase in clicks, revenue, etc.”

Matt Hayes • CEO, Kickdynamic • @matthewhayes

Do you personalize your emails? 

Even today, BAU is a crippling conundrum for many brands. In fact, the detailed process by which some brands execute ONE email still takes weeks of planning and manual groundwork. The below image represents one brand’s manual blueprint for execution of a single email.

The “standard” or goal of personalization — easy checks to know whether you’re there or not — might include live products and content, more timely emails, and material that resonates on a level deeper than one-to-many.

Automation: the superhero of personalization

It’s impossible to achieve repeated personalization at scale without automation. Most marketers are using or at least attempting to use some aspect of email automation.

Content automation, the most popular type, offers a highly efficient way to ensure email content is updated whenever it’s opened. It also requires minimal manual effort.

Matt and Jordan share many examples including:

  • Asda’s weekly recipe email. British supermarket retailer Asda uses a recipe API on their website within their e-newsletter. It’s 100% scheduled/automated and runs weekly.
  • Staples’ daily content automation. Staples now automates a daily content email which is sent at the best time for each customer and which auto-populates with live content no matter when it’s opened. It’s been running for 6+ months without any need for manual updates.
  • Pokerstars’ live odds. Powered by a web API, BetStars sends emails which automatically open with live odds for select matches.
  • Harrods’ new in. Powered by a product feed, Harrods displays the latest and trendiest in-stock products. These emails connect to a product feed, using a date stamp to show the newest products within the feed, and include rules about stock levels (so if something sells out, they’re replaced in the email with hot items in stock). You can take the “new in section” — those three rows — and put it in any email like a welcome series or BAU email.
  • Travel Republic’s automated weekly deals. Travel Republic automates nine live deals based on airport preference of the individual, including live pricing and availability when opened. These are powered using a “deal’s” API from their website.

How email personalization actually works 

Email personalization works by connecting previously disconnected data sources to allow you to tap into website data and pull content to match your CRM contacts’ preferences.

 

Conclusion

Overall, Matt and his team have seen the following results from their clients who have automated email personalization:

  • +300% revenue from live content/products
  • +33% conversion from email
  • +52% AOV increase
  • +57% revenue per mailing
  • +29% transactions on site

In summary, email personalization is a “must” for consumer brands that need to do better than one-size-fits-all messaging. Automation is key to bringing this kind of vision to life. By combining  personalization, like live content, with relevance for all email programs, you will begin to see gains. Remember: BAU (business as usual) is not your friend. By breaking chains that have held you down for years, you can unveil a new level of relationship building like never before.◾

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