4 Marketing Cloud Personalization Techniques Beyond the Subscriber Name

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Personalization is important in Marketing Automation, in fact, 94% of marketing professionals across multiple industries said personalization is either “important”, “very important,” or “extremely important” for meeting their current email marketing objectives – however at the same time, 60% of marketers struggle to personalize content in real-time.

It points to a reality where we acknowledge the value of personalization, but don’t seem to know how to implement it in our marketing strategies – after all, personalization is certainly not a new kid on the block.

How can we take Marketing Cloud emails from a ‘Name Game’ and transform into our ‘A-Game’? You’ll need to segment your audience and personalize your message to stay in line with expectations and be relevant. But this can sound daunting to any Marketing Cloud user.

Feels familiar? No worries. In this post, we will share 4 ways to spice up your marketing automation campaigns with Marketing Cloud capabilities.

#1: Capture The Right Data – Smart Capture Forms + Journey Builder

People are visiting your landing pages and converting for different reasons. While the action may be the same, the intention and expectations are often different between two different landing pages – for example, some are subscribing to stay up to date about a specific topic, others just want to receive special offers.

Data is the fuel to deliver personalized experiences, so it all starts by collecting the right kind of data. How? By asking the right questions!

With sign up forms, some marketers only asking for an email address, scared to miss out on any conversions (shorter forms mean higher conversion rates, right?). What if I told you this is not always the case?

Nothing worth having comes easy (thank you Theodore Roosevelt for pointing this out) – so if your piece of content is worth the extra effort, the visitor will not mind putting in a little bit of extra work. Take a look at the context of your landing page, and find the right balance in amount of form fields with asking the information you plan to use in segmentation, for example, ask for their country, and ask them why they’re signing up. Based on the answer, you can adapt your sending times and define a matching persona for each subscriber, ultimately allowing you to nurture and convert your leads with the content they’re interested in.

To achieve this in Marketing Cloud, you could create a Smart Capture form and define it as an entry source in Journey Builder. Drag and drop the Decision Split component on the Journey Builder canvas to assign each lead to another journey path based on their interests.

Not familiar with Journey Builder? We’ll come back to this Marketing Cloud feature in section #3: “Behavior triggered emails”.

#2: Preference Center – CloudPages + AMP Script

Another great way of finding out the interests of your subscribers is having a preference center. This page will allow your subscribers to update their subscription details, preferred frequency, and indicate the topic(s) of interest to them. This is a win-win situation, since you will get to know your subscribers better, and they will have more control over their own inbox – and as we know, is more likely to result in higher email engagement rates.

A good example of a preference page is the one from Litmus – they clearly explain what you can expect from each notification and the frequency.

Take a look at the CloudPages possibilities combined with AMP Script for having a custom, branded preference center.

#3: Behavior Triggered Emails – Pre-built Journey Templates

Behavior triggered emails are sent when a subscriber takes a specific action. Think about these email examples: birthdays, welcome emails or onboarding emails. You can use triggered emails throughout the full customer lifecycle, for example to re-engage subscribers,  or for upsell/cross-sell purposes.

To give you a jump start, Marketing Cloud offers pre-built journey templates with some best practices and guidance.

#4: Personalized Content – Dynamic Content Blocks

So far, we have only talked about differentiating marketing journey types based on the subscriber’s interests, or their past interactions. On a more granular level, you can also personalize the email itself.

Dynamic content is content that changes based on a defined variable – this variable can be:

  • Demographic data (gender, country),
  • Preferences,
  • Purchase history,
  • Subscriber details,
  • Lifecycle dates (created date etc.).

The classic dynamic content examples are the product recommendations and other personalization Netflix, Amazon and Zalando are offer. Even if your organisation is not at this level of hyper-personalization yet, Marketing Cloud lowers the barrier to entry with Dynamic Content options you could implement.

The dynamic Adidas banner below is based on gender, but you could also segment on age, recently purchased products, marital status or location.

Use the dynamic content blocks in Marketing Cloud to define rules based on the subscriber’s attributes or data extension values.

Top tip: If you’re planning to base your rules on data extension values, make sure they are included in the data extension you’ll use to send your emails to or your dynamic content will not work!

As behavioural information, interests or purchase history will be most likely stored in separate Marketing Cloud data extensions, you’ll need to combine data from 1 or multiple data extensions to make your personalization work.

For the Salesforce Marketing Cloud users among us, Automation Studio offers a query functionality that allows you to gather data from multiple data extensions into 1 single data extension. You can either choose to run the query only once or on a scheduled basis.

Not an SQL wizard? No worries, the big benefit of using a Salesforce product is the amount of ready-to-install 3rd party apps. An example of such an app is DESelect. The app comes with a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to combine data source and define filter criteria without the use of SQL! Of course, this all depends on the amount and quality of the data in your database. This leads us back to what we started with: ask the right questions!

Which personalization techniques have worked best for your company? Feel free to reach out and let me know!

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