Personalizing the Customer Journey with Email

Posted by Lauren Harris on

Let’s start off with a somewhat complex question: What is a brand?

Some will say it’s what the product sets out to accomplish or what the website advertises. Others will say it’s whatever the marketing team defines it to be. While valid suggestions, those viewpoints all have one small miscalculation in common—they are all looking to define the brand from an internal perspective. To truly understand what a particular brand is, it requires us to take a step back and view businesses as an outsider—or more accurately, as a customer. Increasingly, the true definition of a brand is becoming the sum of every customer interaction through the lifecycle.

The customer experience begins with the very first touch from your brand, whether it be a website visit, a sales call, or stopping by a booth at a trade show. This first touch sets the stage for the rest of the journey and should not be underestimated. However, as the journey continues, email is one of key methods of interaction in today’s technology-driven world.

With the ease of conducting business globally with the use of virtual media, email makes it easy for businesses to connect with their customers on a regular basis. However, along with regularity comes monotony. Customers are no longer impressed by personalizing the salutation with the rest of the email being standard for every other customer in the database. In order to get conversions out of flooded inboxes, email marketers must stand out from the pack. Why should a subscriber open one particular email over the other dozens they get on a daily basis? This is where data comes into play.

A robust database is the backbone to truly customizing the email experience for each customer. At the simplest form, subject lines and content can be changed based on the receiving audience. Going beyond that primary level of customization, email marketers now have the ability to optimize send time based on when that particular email user is logged into their mailbox. Why does that matter? Studies show that being at the top of the inbox when a subscriber logs in can increase opens by up to 25%!

Lastly, and getting even more savvy, email marketers should dive into personalizing the frequency in which they contact each of their customers. By tapping into a historical database of individual behavior, emails can be distributed to different users in the appropriate intervals. By sending to each subscriber or customer at their desired frequency, marketers are able to drive results while also maximizing the lifetime value of the recipient. This method reveals the opposite of monotony – only appearing in the inbox when the reader is ready and eager to hear from you once more.

At the core of it all, customers are people and people want to have an experience that is both unique and satisfying. When it comes to the email slice of this relationship, this personalized messaging can most easily be done through the use of historical and behavioral data. If done correctly, and the customer journey is successful, it reflects on a brand – and as mentioned earlier, even goes as far as defining it.

So, now the question has evolved: What is a brand, without customers?

To learn more about how to ensure the future success of a brand, download our latest ebook Email 20/20: 20 Visionary Ideas to Futureproof Your Email Program.


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About Lauren Harris

Lauren Harris is Return Path's Customer Marketing Manager for Email Optimization based in our California office. She enjoys working closely with Return Path customers first as an Account Coordinator, then Technical Account Manager and now from the marketing side. Outside of work, Lauren can be found snowboarding in the winter, taking beach trips in the summer, and cheering on the 49ers. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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