Just because you are sending an email campaign to a large group of contacts is no excuse not to try to make a personal connection with them. Getting personal will help you meet your goals (make a sale, get a follower, etc.) and theirs (not wasting their time reading irrelevant emails). To make a more personal connection, you need to know something about your contacts. You may not know each one personally, but you can collect information about your contacts so that you can send out more personally relevant emails.
The More You Know
The more information you have, the more personal you can be with your contacts. For instance, if you know their name, you can use it as part of your email greeting. Studies show that using your contact’s first name in the subject line or inside the email leads to higher conversion rates. Just by using your email software’s merge feature, you can say “Hi Bill” instead of a more generic “Hello there stranger,” which immediately makes your email more personal (and less ‘creepy guy a the bar’).
Including a contact’s first name is an example of unique personalization. You can also do group personalization in your emails by using your data to create segments of your contacts. This way, not every email is unique, but you have smaller groups of contacts and can speak about something you know they are interested in. Say you have a business that provides services for accountants and lawyers. Rather than sending one email to both, you can send a more personalized email to each group. You might send the lawyer jokes to the lawyers, or if they are particularly mean lawyer jokes, to the accountants.
Those Kindergarten Sorting Skills Still Come in Handy
To get the most out of your emails, you really need to put some time into getting to know your contacts not as numbers, but as people. To do this, you need to be a like a sponge and collect information about your contacts every time you talk. Its easy to get carried away here. You don’t want to bury yourself in data collection and entry. You can streamline this by doing some brainstorming about what your contact groups look like and how you want to sort them.
Two obvious groups you can sort contacts into are leads and customers. Leads could be further sorted based on lead status, where the lead came from, and what product they are interested in. Customers could be organized by what product(s) they bought, how much they have spent, and the last time they made a purchase.
Once you figure out which pieces of data you want to sort by, you can build a habit of collecting it. That data will help you shape your email marketing campaigns so they are more personal, which will lead to higher conversions.
Show Them You Know Them
This may all seem like extra work to you. But if you are committed to email marketing, it is necessary work. By making an up front effort to get to know your contacts and to treat them like people, you will improve your results. You can actually do damage by sending the wrong email to the wrong person. If you send out a coupon for peanut butter cookies to your peanut allergic contacts, they will probably forgive you. But what if you send out an email to all of your existing customers offering a great discount that is only available to new customers? You may start to make some people mad.
Of course, treating people with respect is more about getting the right message out than avoiding the wrong one. Think of how good those customers with peanut allergies will feel when they get your email about the new peanut free desserts you are offering. By paying attention to the fact that they have bought peanut-free goods before, or by remembering that they told you about their peanut allergy the last time they were at the bakery, you can speak directly to their needs. While you will never get a person with a peanut allergy to buy a peanut butter cookie, you have a pretty good chance of getting her to buy something that was made especially for her.
Start thinking about how you can group your contacts in ways that will help you be more personal with them. Not only will this lead to higher conversions from your email marketing, you will also start to have more fun writing those emails. Instead of being generic, you’ll get to be specific and interesting with your emails.
Be a Good Listener!
You will need to collect data on your contacts in order to sort them into useful groups. There are a lot of different ways you can do this. They best way is just by paying attention and remembering. Whenever you interact with your contacts, pay attention to what they are telling you. Record the pieces of information that will help you do a better job communicating with them in the future. For instance, on a sales call you might be able to record the products a contact is interested in.
You can also collect information at various stages of the relationship. When someone signs up for your newsletter, you can ask for their first name. If you have a contact form on your site, you could include fields for what product(s) the contact is interested in and how they heard about you. Of course, as you begin the customer relationship with a contact, you can get a lot of useful information. The key is to know what to look for.
Use Your Contact Data for Relevant Emails
If you are collecting data on your contacts, you will need a place to store it. Batchbook is really good at this. You can create custom fields to record information such as what the status of the lead is, or how much money a customer has spent with you. You can then build lists based on this information and export those lists over to your favorite email marketing software. As your relationship with the contact grows, you can fill in more details and get even better about treating your contacts as unique people.
Eventually, you will develop profiles for your contacts, with varying levels of depth. You can sort your similar profiles into groups for more relevant email campaigns. This serves your contacts better by providing content they need and want, and it serves you better by driving more action from each of those emails. That is what we call a win-win!