Why Your Personalized Emails Should Lead to a Personalized Website
Let’s consider a locally-based marketing agency that wants to grow their sales pipeline.
They put together a few email campaigns with clear, targeted messaging to their prospects (to restaurant owners and coffee shop managers). Relevant images and links redirect users to their website. Despite these efforts, their team isn’t seeing strong response rates from their campaign.
The team dives into their website, and notices they can’t find the messaging used in their emails. While their campaigns were carefully personalized, their website talks about helping local SMBs in general.
How will the agency’s website as-is help turn email prospects into leads and customers? Chances are, it won’t. Email personalization is only half the solution.
The Importance of a Personalized Website
In this post, I’ll cover the reasons why a personalized email should lead to a personalized website. I’ll then review ways to personalize email messaging and how to align messaging with personalized website tactics.
To drive more website conversions, you need to direct users to a personalized website. Up to 74% of website visitors can grow frustrated when website content doesn’t seem related to what they want. In other words, you need to remember the value of consistent messaging.
Message Continuity is Key
Image Source: Entrepreneur
The targeted messaging used by our marketing team led to their standard website with general information about their services. This shift can be jarring to users. Message continuity is key, and can bring the following benefits to your company:
Increased Brand Image
Whether you’re part of a Fortune 500 company or own an SMB that serves local customers, every company has a brand. Your brand is the collection of associations that consumers attribute to your company. These include attributes, characteristics, values, and even personality.
As James Heaton of the Brooklyn-based Tronvig Group explains, branding is strategic, while marketing is tactical. You may send a newsletter and publish weekly to your blog (your tactics), but what do customers think about company apart from the information inside them?
Let’s consider our marketing agency, whose brand is built around the following:
- Local area focus.
- Small, dedicated team.
- Specialized in digital marketing (e.g. SEO and paid advertising).
- Personable and down-to-earth.
- Focused on building lasting relationships with clients.
- Focused on helping clients understand their strategy and results (no marketing jargon).
Without consistent messaging, users will never learn to make these associations with our agency. This can hurt them when compared to competitors. Specifically, consistent messaging can help:
- Manage Expectations: Users who know your brand know what to expect when they interact with your company. People know to expect cheap, fast food when they walk into a McDonald’s and a magical experience when they visit DisneyWorld.
- Build Trustworthiness: Purchasing decisions are driven more by emotion than practicality. As users get to recognize your brand, they’ll start to build their trust in your product and services.
- Promote Your Attitude: Consistent messaging helps users understand the “kind” of company you’re running. Are you about having fun like Dave and Busters? Are you about giving it your all like Nike or Gatorade?
- Position Yourself Against Competitors: Arguably, the only thing worse than a company lacking a brand is one that’s mistaken for another.
All marketing tactics, from emails to website copy to online ads, should be approached with your brand in mind. This brings us to my next point…
Consistency Across all Channels
Did you know that B2B buyers conduct 12 searches on average before actually visiting a website? These results are consistent with a Blue Nile Research study, which found that both consumers and B2B buyers use three or more channels to make decisions.
These results highlight the importance for businesses to deliver precise, consistent messaging across all marketing channels. Let’s go back to our marketing agency, which promotes itself in the following ways:
- Attending Local Small Business Events
- Emails campaigns to local businesses
- Paid advertising on Google and Facebook
- Facebook and Twitter social media accounts
- Referral programs
Given how B2B buyers tend to jump around channels, consistent messaging ensures they’re getting the same impression about the agency. Yet let’s consider the following two tactics used by the agency:
- An email campaign for local restaurant and cafe owners, highlighting their professionalism and dedication to delivering highly targeted campaigns.
- Online ads that highlight the agency’s friendly, get-to-know-us attitude.
From the potential buyer’s standpoint, this inconsistent messaging can be confusing. “Will I be working with a focused, no-games team? Or with friendly, down-to-earth people I could meet up with at a coffee shop?”
Since the buyer isn’t sure what to expect, they could possibly pass on the agency altogether. So, if you’re ending your email like a pro, your website should have the same vibe and feel like it’s a continuation of the message of the email.
Good for the Buyer, Good for You
Given the points I’ve discussed so far, it should be no surprise that consistent messaging can drive profitability for your business. Just to quote a few stats:
- Companies with a consistent strategy enjoy up to a 14.6% year-over-year increase in revenue.
- Companies can see an ROI of up to 13:1 for every dollar spent on cross-channel analytics and tracking.
In today’s marketing world, we can take consistent messaging to a deeper level: the individual. Only makes sense, given the ROI potential of email marketing, that marketers focus on personalized emails. I
Email Components to Personalize
Image From: MarTech Advisor
Now that I’ve covered the benefits of consistent messaging, it’s time to dive into creating a personalized strategy across emails and websites. Let’s start with the email: while I’m certain you’re incorporating the following techniques into your campaigns, it doesn’t hurt to review.
Every email should include the following personalized fields:
- From Name
- Subject Line
- Prospect’s Name
- Company Name
It’s a good idea to do extra research to see if these fields can be further optimized to add a more personal tone to your message. If a company’s name is particularly long, for example, check to see if people use a shortened name. The department store chain Sears, Roebuck & Company simply goes by Sears.
The subject line is also very important. You can hook your readers if you have a compelling and interesting subject line that makes them want to open your email. If you’re running out of ideas on how to write the perfect subject line, there are many examples and templates that can inspire you—just be willing to look around.
Also, don't forget the email closing! You need to be able to close out your email in a way that actually gets the response and/or action you want people to take.
While every email message has a core message, you can take this a step further by personalizing certain aspects of your messaging. Some ideas include:
- Highlight certain branding messaging. While it’s important to have a set of messages for your brand, you can focus on one that’s most important for the recipient. If our marketing agency is targeting local businesses owners in their next campaign, it makes sense to highlight their local expertise.
- CTAs: Based on previous campaigns, you may want to customize the specific language of your CTA. “Can we set up some time over the next week to chat more?” and “Let’s find some time this week to chat more” may yield different reply rates based on industry and targeted person.
- Customized fields: Today’s email marketing software includes customized field options that let companies tailor personal details relevant to their industry. Online shopping sites can use this to reference clothes sizes. B2B companies could mention a specific feature of their product or service.
If you’re sending emails to existing customers or leads, you can use existing knowledge strengthen your relationships. Try referencing specific content they visited, such as blog posts or web pages. Mention points discussed in prior conversations (e.g. sales calls or demos).
Campaign Monitor conducted a test where they changed email images to match the recipients’ locations (Australia, United States, and the UK). They compared the results of these emails compared to those which included a generic image and found the personalized images led to a 29 percent increase in click-through rate. Simply put, images are a powerful way to reinforce the messaging of your email campaigns.
Location and Timezone
Personalization according to location and time can be a great strategy for companies who have customers or prospects across various geographical locations. This can be used to reference upcoming local events (e.g. conferences) or orient your positioning in a regional context (e.g. “we can help your business bring in more customer in the Denver area”).
Though not related to messaging, personalizing by timezone can ensure your messages are sent at the right time regardless of location. A company with a nationwide presence that sends an email at 2 PM Pacific time will miss people on the East Coast who’ve left for the day.
Delivering personalized emails requires detailed data on prospects and customers. On website and landing page forms, be sure to add required fields when users sign up for an account, subscribe to your blog, or want to download content.
Aligning Messaging with a Personalized Website
There are many ways to personalize emails. Redirecting customers and prospects to a personalized website only reinforces the messaging you’ve carefully created for them. And with dynamic CTAs, testimonials, and responsiveness, it’s easier than ever.
Align the CTAs used in your email with what users see on your website. If you send an email with the CTA “request a free demo,” make sure this CTA appears when they visit their website until they’ve done so.
After a CTA is completed, switch to new CTAs that deepen their relationship with your company. If a person signed up for a demo, switch to a CTA asking schedule a call with a team member. If someone purchased a promoted product, show a CTA to shop for related products.
Additional Dynamic CTAs
Remember that CTAs aren’t limited to overlays and popups. Despite their popularity, their large size and sudden appearance can be jarring (and potentially off-putting) to users if used at the wrong time.
When setting up your personalized website strategy, consider using slide-out and scrolling messages. Slide-out messages are great for calling attention to personalized next-steps. Because they stay in the margin of your website, they aren’t as intrusive as popups or overlays. Scrolling messages appear as the visitor moves down your website. Similar to slide-out messages, these CTAs appear in the corner of your website.
Eighty-nine percent of B2B marketers believe that customer testimonials are among the most effective content marketing tactics. Testimonials show users the value you’ve already provided to customers, making your company more credible. Testimonials can range from quotes to embed videos.
The more relevant the testimonial, the better. If our marketing agency sent emails to owners of restaurants and bookstores, their website should be personalized to show appropriate testimonials for each segment.
When it comes to marketing personalization, remember to consider the presentation of your message along with the message itself. In a post discussing the latest mobile email statistics, consultant Jordie van Rijn cited that mobile email can account for up to 70 percent of opens. With such a high rate, you need to know how your site looks on smaller screens.
Responsiveness is the dynamic changing of websites to create a better experience for mobile users. Google penalizes websites that aren’t mobile-responsive, which is crucial for SEO and ranking purposes.
If you haven’t made your site mobile-friendly, you could be hurting your chances for conversions both from email visitors and organic traffic. Google has provided a free mobile-friendly testing tool and developer documentation for getting started with responsiveness.
Consistent messaging can help boost conversions by reinforcing the associations, or brand, you want for your company. Personalization allows marketers to cater this messaging down to the individual. Yet personalization comes with a trade-off: making sure this individualized messaging is consistent across all channels.
Personalized emails that lead to non-personalized websites can hurt the messaging you’re trying to get across to the user. Dynamic CTAs, testimonials, and responsiveness are a few ways to ensure visitors are having the best experience possible on your site.
And remember, if you ever have doubt about an email, you can unsend it and prevent regret or a poor message from going to your customers and prospects.
From emails to websites and beyond, never before have marketers had the opportunity to create truly personalized experiences across all channels. If you haven’t moved forward with aligning your tactics with a personalized website, there’s no better time to get started.