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How to Use Dynamic Content to Improve Email Marketing Results

There was a time not so long ago when marketers sent bulk email campaigns that used the same message and design for everyone on the email list. Those times are over. Today, savvy email marketers know that generic messages deliver poor results. Instead, the marketers that get the best results are sending highly-targeted messages to laser-focused audiences.

As a result, their ROI is skyrocketing, and the data proves it. A research study by AVARI found that dynamic content can increase email open rates by as much as 73%. The good news is you can do it, too. You just need to learn how to use advanced personalization and dynamic content to turn your email marketing messages into highly relevant, laser-targeted messages that improve your results. Keep reading to learn how to do it.

Step 1: Understand What Dynamic Content Is

Dynamic content is defined as adaptable, smart content. In email marketing, dynamic content changes based on the person who receives your email message. The dynamic content in your message could be a subject line, image, offer, or any other message element that you want to change based on who receives it.

To use dynamic content in your email campaign, you create one message in your email marketing platform, and then, set up all of the variable assets (e.g., images, calls-to-action, offers, and so on) as well as the criteria that determines which variable assets will be delivered to which recipients. Once everything is set up, you send your campaign, and each person on your email list will get the version that is right for them based on your defined criteria. Ultimately, all recipients get the most relevant messages, so your email marketing results should improve.

In addition, using dynamic content saves you time and reduces your frustrations because you can create and track everything related to the campaign through a single message. Your email marketing tool does the heavy lifting by automatically matching the right content to the right recipients based on the criteria you created and the variable assets you supplied.

Step 2: Identify Your Audience Segments and Relevant Content

Who are your email subscribers and what content would be the most compelling to them? Your next step to use dynamic content effectively in your email marketing is to segment your audience and determine what content would make your messages as relevant as possible to each segment. The better you know your audience members, the better you’ll be able to identify the right content changes to optimize your response rates and results. Therefore, if you don’t have buyer personas developed already and haven’t defined your audience segments, do it now. You can’t match the best content to the right people if you don’t know who those people are.

Keep in mind, for dynamic content to work, you need to have the appropriate data first. Otherwise, you won’t have the right criteria to choose from when you build your email marketing campaign. Get started by thinking about the data you already have as well as additional data you can collect.

For example, you can use dynamic content to match your audience members’ demographic data, behavioral data, psychographic data, and more. The following dynamic content examples should give you some ideas for your own campaigns:

Demographic Segmentation

Demographic segmentation is based on things like age, gender, marital status, income, homeowner status, level of education, parental status, race, geographic location, and so on.

Dynamic Content Example: A clothing store could send a message to its entire subscriber list but change the images to match each recipient’s gender. Male recipients would see images of men’s clothing and female recipients would see images of women’s clothing.

Behavioral Segmentation

Behavioral segmentation is based on behaviors you can track using your various marketing tools. These can include prior purchases, links clicked in your email messages, pages visited on your website, and so on.

Dynamic Content Example: A sports retailer could use dynamic content to improve results on a special discount email campaign by segmenting the audience based on prior purchases. For example, customers who previously purchased basketball equipment could receive a discount on products in the basketball department while customers who purchased golf equipment in the past would get a discount on golf products.

Psychographic Segmentation

Psychographics refer to information about each person’s attitudes, goals, and psychological attributes. This includes things like the magazines they read, stores they shop in, the blogs they visit, the podcasts they listen to, their hobbies, their habits, their personal preferences, their favorite sports teams, and so on.

Dynamic Content Example: A restaurant could use dynamic content to send more relevant email messages to its customers based on whether they’re wine enthusiasts or craft beer lovers. The subject line, images, or offer could change between the two audiences.

Step 3: Choose the Right Tools and Avoid Implementation Mistakes

Before you can use dynamic content in your email messages, you need to make sure your email marketing platform offers the right functionality. Some email marketing tools only allow you to use simple personalization (e.g., changing the recipient’s name in the message greeting), or they might only allow you to use demographic data in dynamic content. Others allow you to get very sophisticated in your criteria selection and laser-focused in your targeting through dynamic content. Choose the tool that includes the features you need to fully leverage the benefits of dynamic content and optimize your email marketing results.

Dynamic content is very powerful, but you have to be extremely careful that you don’t make mistakes. For example, you need to be 100% confident that your data is accurate and your email marketing platform displays dynamic content correctly and reliably. Sending a message with the wrong content due to a dynamic content error could cause lost sales, angry customers, and even lawsuits.

For these reasons, you should thoroughly test your dynamic content messages to ensure they’re sent without errors. You can use seed lists to test your messages from your email service provider (ESP), but a better way to test and review your messages is to use an email approval and proofing tool like Campaign Workhub. It’s easier and will save you a lot of time.

Rather than sending dozens of emails requesting feedback from stakeholders, consolidating reviewers’ comments from email, voice mail, and sticky notes, and trying to make sense of multiple versions of the same message (particularly when those versions use dynamic content), you and your stakeholders can use one centralized tool for streamlined and effective collaboration, communications, and organization. Campaign Workhub. You can start a 21-day free trial or schedule a free demo to see it in action.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash