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Posts Tagged ‘email personalization’

Marketing 101: What are variable tags?

January 16th, 2020
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Marketing has a language all its own. This is our latest in a series of posts aimed at helping new marketers learn that language. What term do you find yourself explaining most often to new hires during onboarding? Let us know.

 

Recently we moved our corporate office to a new location. We are in the process of updating our address on our web sites, online business listings, social profiles, templates, etc. When I checked our email templates, I realized that we had neglected to place a variable tag in our email footers. Because of this oversight, we had to manually change the address for several hundred templates. If we had used this handy tag to begin with, it would have saved us a lot of time. Variable tags have several uses and benefits in email automation, but before I explain further, let’s define the term for those who are new to email marketing.

 

What is a variable tag?

A variable tag, in an email context, is a bit of code that you can add to a template that will personalize customer information by pulling content from their personal records in your automated email program. The personalization possibilities can be endless, depending upon the degree of information you have gathered over time about your customers.

Automated email programs have different names for personalization tags. We use Pardot, which refers to them as variable tags. But Hubspot calls them personalization tokens. Mailchimp refers to them as merge tags. Constant Contact just calls them tags.

Probably the most common personalization tag used today is the greeting tag. It enables bulk emails being sent out to address each recipient by name rather than “Dear valued customer” or something else generic. Since customers are more likely to engage with your messaging when it’s personalized, it’s a good idea to use this tag. Even if the only information you have about a prospect is their name and email address, it is enough to insert this tag and begin greeting them personally. You can even personalize the subject line with a tag that pulls their name. Studies show this increases open rates.

You can also use variable tags to add contact information into your email templates, like your company name and address. Here’s just a sampling of the most common ones.

In Pardot, you can add a variable tag in the body of an email by placing your cursor where you want it and then clicking on the variable tag option. It will open a window with a list of default variable tags to choose from, as well as any custom ones.

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Essential Elements of Email Marketing: Experts interviewed from Email Summit 2014

December 26th, 2014
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At Email Summit 2014, MarketingSherpa Reporter Allison Banko interviewed email marketing experts, asking, “What elements do you think are important to implement into your email campaigns this year?”

While responses to the question varied by industry and company size, experts remained keen on delivering constantly diversified experiences for customers.

Identifying elements of email that marketers can harness to see improvements in their campaigns captures the spirit of Email Summit. Leveraging experts that live, breathe and sweat email marketing to help attendees improve their email is a highlight marketers take back to the office.

The big takeaway: Find a way to break through the noise of the inbox.

“We’re going to continue to try to find ways to get close to our users so they feel like we understand them,” Ryan Blomberg, Director of Engineering, Eventful, answered when asked how he’s planning on improving his already award-winning personalization campaign.

Watch this compilation video below for more detailed tips on tactics that you can implement in your own email campaigns.

At Email Summit 2015, experts will share their top takeaway of 2014 in six minutes or less on stage during our Quick Tips session. In these sessions, experts will be working against the clock to communicate their biggest lesson from 2014 and what they mean for your email campaigns.

 

You might also like

Marketing Research Chart: How do marketers perceive the ROI of email marketing? [MarketingSherpa chart]

Email Personalization: 750% higher CTR and more revenue for ecommerce site [MarketingSherpa case study]

Segmentation and Personalization: How Eventful transformed its email program and increased purchases by 66% [MarketingSherpa video archive]

Email Marketing: 5 tactics to personalize your email message for better results [MarketingSherpa webinar archive]

Email Marketing: Which of these 5 Award nominees can help you improve results?

December 9th, 2014
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Email marketing is often a constant grind of tiny wins and (hopefully) tiny losses.

That’s why it’s such an honor to be able to recognize a marketing team for their relentless work on a campaign, where despite limitations, they were able to make a real difference in the email conversation between company and customer.

This is my second year as a judge for the MarketingSherpa Email Awards (sponsored this year by Blue Hornet) and it’s always a lot of work (30 hours of pre-screening, followed by 20 hours of deliberation) but a privilege to be able to debate and discuss strengths and weaknesses in email marketing with four other judges, who all come from different email marketing perspectives.

The joy that we get out of it is why this year we wanted to share that process with you, the MarketingSherpa Blog reader, by creating the MarketingSherpa Award – Readers’ Choice category.

Out of 500 speaking submissions and email case studies, the judging panel selected two Best-in-Show winners for B2B and B2C, as well as five finalists for the Readers’ Choice. All five are listed and detailed below with links to full case studies if you wish to learn more.

You can now vote for your Readers’ Choice Award winner. After voting, give your Klout score a workout by showing your favorite some love and sharing on social media.

All of the campaigns met our judging criteria of being transformative, customer-centric, innovative and offering transferable principles that marketing peers can apply to their efforts. Each case study displayed strong results. From there, it’s up to you to decide which one deserves top honors.

Have different criteria? Thoughts to share on any of the campaigns? Let us know in the comments.

Happy voting!

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Email Marketing: 3 reasons I was sucked into a Pandora win-back campaign

December 3rd, 2013
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It is rare that I become sucked into an email campaign.

After a year of experience at MECLABS, I pride myself on being immune to catchy subject lines, blasted discount sends and tricky calls-to-action.

It’s actually become a bit of a game for me to watch the emails flood in and try to decide which companies are testing a new strategy, which ones are attempting to re-engage me, and which ones are just looking for a click.

In the last month, however, I have been completely taken in by a new personalized email campaign launched by Pandora.

The Internet radio giant has started what appears to be a new engagement campaign designed to pull in customers who have stopped responding to the normal subject lines and creative material.

Let me set the scene: It’s 15 minutes before my lunch hour on a Thursday afternoon and I’m staring listlessly at my Outlook inbox hoping no new projects come in before I manage to flee the office and get some food.

 

Hello sweet, sweet nostalgia

Suddenly, there’s a ding and a new email materializes at the top of the queue. It reads, “It All Started with Rilo Kiley Radio.” I’m hooked before I even have a chance to fully comprehend who the sender is.

Not only does the slightly vague expression pique my interest, but I’m also pulled in by the very specific mention of one of my favorite bands and the romantic nostalgia of the phrase “It All Started With … ” 

 

The subject line captured my attention, but the real beauty of this campaign is the personalized emotional plea found after the open.

 

A large graphic offers me a look back at my musical journey and Pandora’s marketing team proceeds to discuss not only specific songs I liked, but also provides the exact number of songs (4,140 and counting) they have enjoyed playing for me over the last eight years of our relationship together.

The first history email was followed by a two more emails all personalized and designed to make an emotional appeal to my love of certain bands. Here were the other two emails Pandora sent shortly after helping me look at our musical journey together.

 

Pandora send #2

Subject Line: “The Lumineers Radio Misses You”

 

Pandora send #3

Subject Line: “You Will Love These”

 

My full disclosure here is that I have opened and read them all.

So, what’s so different about this campaign and why did I get pulled into the Pandora win-back campaign when I have successfully resisted so many others?

I think I have narrowed it down to three main reasons.

 

Emotional appeal

In a sea of discounts, special deals and savings, the subject lines used by Pandora stand out because they manage to make a strong emotional appeal in a concise way.

This is a lesson worth taking back to the whiteboard for test design. In business, it is easy to become a servant to the bottom line and begin to think this is what appeals to your customers as well.

Deals are nice and I have never passed up a BOGO, but at the end of the day, I might be more willing to spend additional cash on something I’ve fallen in love with rather than something I need.

For example, in college, I once spent too much on a new designer purse and ate Ramen noodle cups for two weeks to make up the cash, because as I saw it:

The purse = Love

Food = Need

Rambling aside, if you can get the customer to fall in love at first glance, you might not need that coupon to get the sale.

 

Personalization

“What new thing can we personalize?” seems to be a big question in the marketing world these days, but Pandora approached personalization thinking instead, “How should we personalize?”

It went beyond a standard personalized salutation by showing me my listening history. While this level of personalization has the potential to be creepy, Pandora’s execution was not.

I would like to hypothesize this because Pandora managed to take all of the data it has on my preferences and made it into the story.

Customers don’t want to be a random collection of meaningless data. No one wants to be reduced to a series of numbers or a set of coded recommendations.

If you’re going to personalize an email campaign, attempt to really show the customer you know who they are.

There’s a popular expression at MECLABS that goes “people don’t buy from websites, people buy from people.” My twist on that when it comes to win-back campaigns is data sets don’t buy from people, people buy from people, and they deserve to be seen as such.

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