Friday, October 04, 2013

Email Personalization Not Working? Read This.

I am a big believer in targeting and personalization and have written extensively about it in this blog. However, targeting and personalization is not “set it and forget it” strategy. It needs to be continually tested to make sure that it is working and driving value. Sometimes you have to test and see if “no-personalization” will yield better results than personalization.

To make my point, let’s take an example:

I get a weekly promotional email from a prominent marketing company. They personalize the email subject line (good so far).
Here are few subject lines
  • How [XYZ Company] Should Kickoff New Clients
  •  Ensure that [XYZ Company] delivers great PPC campaign
  • The rules of online branding that [XYZ Company] needs to know
Note: Instead of [XYZ Company] they use the name of the company I used to work with.

However there is an issue with the way they do personalization. Do you see the issue?

The issue is that they use the name of the company I USED TO WORK FOR. I left that company over a year ago and the subject line is so irrelevant to me that I don’t even open the emails. Though rest of the subject line may be relevant, adding personalization (company name) just makes me ignore that email.

This is a perfect example of why personalization fails.

This can be easily avoided by analyzing the data to figure out which subscribers are not responding to these personalized messages and test a different kind of personalization or completely drop the personalization.

Company names, titles, associations, job roles etc. change and your personalization needs to change when that happens. The key is to actively analyze the data and test.

Do you have any other examples of Failed Personalization? If yes, I would love to see those.

Also see: 7 Ways to Create Relevancy in Emails