If your organization uses emails to communicate with your audience, you’re in good company. Roughly 82% of marketers leverage email marketing and there are 347 million emails sent each day around the world. For reference, that’s roughly one email for every resident in the United States.
So how do you create emails that stand out from the hundreds of millions of emails flying around on a daily basis? Strong writing and engaging design are crucial, as are healthy recipient lists. But these tactics will only get you so far.
In order to connect more consistently amidst this sea of electronic messages, you need to personalize your content.
Personalization obviously isn’t a new marketing concept.
If you lived in the 18th century and encountered a snake oil salesperson on a street corner, they would inevitably try to tailor the benefits of their elixir. If you were balding, it would promote hair growth. If you happened to have a cough, their magical solution would be perfect for a raspy throat.
Real personalization for real results
While shady marketers have used personalization for their purposes for centuries, there’s nothing inherently wrong with it. On the contrary, when used correctly, it’s one of the most beneficial things you can do for your followers. Rather than sending them a generic boilerplate, you’ll be providing them with a customized message that relates to their specific needs and circumstances.
Personalization is so undeniably effective that more than 70% of consumers expect it from the brands they choose to follow. When it’s put into use, success follows. Brands that personalize can see as much as 40% more revenue than the competitors who don’t.
And the negative impacts of neglecting personalization go beyond short-term revenue. More than 76% of consumers report that it’s frustrating when brands don’t use it in their communications. As we all know, frustrating your customers can be a recipe for disaster.
By far, the most popular marketing channel for personalization is email.
Research shows that 78% of business communicators are employing it for their emails, while other channels lag substantially behind.
But how do you get the data required for effective email personalization? You obviously can’t speak with familiarity if you lack the details required to elevate your emails above the generic variety that hits inboxes each day.
This guide shares actionable strategies for using social media data to power your email personalization.
Gathering the right social media data
Your social media platforms are engineered for data and provide analytics tools to help you see the most important metrics and demographics. It’s likely that the data varies from platform to platform.
For example, think of five of your family members. They might be siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, or grandparents. It’s guaranteed that these five individuals have different social media habits. Your teenage cousin probably uses TikTok exclusively, your aunt Jean is always the first person to “like” your photos on Facebook, and your grandpa logs onto Instagram every few months.
With this dynamic of segmentation in mind, here are some of the key data you can seek through social media:
- The user profile for each of your platforms (age, gender, location, language, etc)
- Which platform’s follower count is growing the most
- The content your followers engage with the most
- The content your followers share the most
- The times and days that your followers are most active
You can view most of this data within each social platform’s integrated analytics section. You can get a more holistic view by using a third-party analytics tool, as they can contrast performance and demographics across multiple channels.
Bringing social media data to your emails
Social media data is essential to creating the best experience for your social followers and should also be used for the most popular communication channel: email. You might be wondering how social media learnings can be applied to email in a natural way. This is an important question because it’s easy to cross the line and make your message feel invasive.
The best way to keep your personalization on the positive side of things is to use data to improve the recipient’s experience rather than just force your brand upon them. You’ve likely seen this play out on social media many times.
For example, a 50-year-old man living in Connecticut who collects rare stamps might see a Facebook ad promoting a highly-rated stamp dealer based in a nearby city. This ad would be relevant and potentially helpful. But it would feel invasive and self-serving if this same user was served an ad that proclaimed, “50-year-old Connecticut man loses 25 pounds in a week with miracle diet. Try it today!”
When creating personalized marketing messages, you can avoid this invasive dynamic by always asking if the data you’re including has a benefit to the recipient.
If the data makes the message more relevant and helpful, let it rip. If the data only serves your purposes, leave it out. Personalization should be all about creating better experiences, and research proves that your users desire it.
Let’s look at 5 ways you can incorporate user data into effective emails:
1. Optimize your subject line
Email success is inextricably tied to your subject lines. You could craft a phenomenal email with engaging copy and jaw-dropping design, but nobody will see it if the subject line fails to drive clicks.
You can use data from social media, such as interests and behaviors, to ensure your subject line packs a punch. At the most basic level, consider using the recipients’ first names, as this often boosts open rates. The most important thing to include is the benefit or solution you’re offering, and social media data can help you decide what will be most effective.
2. Make the content dynamic
Data helps you make your email messages more specific and relatable so that a campaign contains dynamic elements catered to each recipient. For example, if your organization helps people automate their mortgage and rent payments, you could make an email dynamic based on recipients’ living situations. Those who own their homes would get the mortgage message, while renters would get a separate pitch.
Another example would be a sporting goods company sending out an email promoting their new hiking boots. Male recipients could get a message promoting their men’s boot styles, while females would get the details of the benefits of the women-specific boots.
3. Optimize the timing
When you send your emails is nearly as impossible as what you’re sending. There are general rules (Tuesday morning is almost always better than Friday night), but it’s important to learn more about your followers so that you can tailor your sends even better.
Digging into your email metrics will reveal the days and times that typically perform best.
The next step is to compare those metrics against the data showing when your social media followers are most active, and you’ll identify windows of time when your emails are most likely to be noticed.
4. Add a sender name to your email
Many consumers are more wary of emails from a business as opposed to those from a real person. Consider adding a human element to your emails by writing the copy so it’s from an individual within your organization and then use that person’s name in the message’s “From” field.
Social media data provides insights into your followers’ gender, age, and language, which then helps you identify the most impactful people to have be the face for your emails. You can always A/B test with a few different senders, which will reveal which individuals build the most trust and inspire the most action when they’re included in the “From” field.
5. Improve your re-engagement campaigns
Nearly all organizations use re-engagement campaigns. And nearly all organizations send a one-size-fits-all message to these recipients. As we’ve established in this guide, a generic approach like this will never achieve exceptional results.
Drawing insights such as interests, behaviors, and location from social media data, you can create re-engagement emails that truly hit the mark. For example, a lawn care business might identify the three most popular services they’ve introduced in the past year:
- Outdoor pest control
- Indoor pest control
- Snow removal
Then they could send an email promoting outdoor pest control to prior customers who are homeowners in humid areas with lots of yard pests. Renters in those same areas likely wouldn’t oversee outdoor yard care, so they might get the indoor pest control message. And homeowners in mountainous areas could get the snow removal message.
Don’t just make it to them. Make it about them.
Email personalization has the power to improve marketing performance, build consumer trust, and drive sales. Just remember that personalization needs to be used for the benefit of the recipient. Your data is there to help you be more relevant, more helpful, and more personable.
Your Twilio SendGrid account provides you with powerful tracking tools to enhance your emails. By combining these email-specific insights with social media data, you’ll be able to refine your marketing and stand out from the competition like never before.
If you don’t already use Twilio SendGrid, sign up for a free account by clicking here.