Personalized Text Emails for Digital Marketing

ID-100104792The discussion over HTML emails vs. text emails has gone on for some time and continues to be debated. Our general thought is to let your audience decide which format they prefer. However there is a situation where text messages clearly outperform. Personalized email messages, with a very targeted offer, and sent from a particular trainer, consultant, or professional coach often create a greater connection and improved conversions.

Sticklers will state that a “text” email is often set up with HTML formatting. For the purposes of this tactic, text messages means a simple text email; no images, no ads, and no marketing gimmicks. If you have an email template or signature that is typically used then setting it up with HTML is fine. Just so long as it does not appear to be a general mass-produced marketing email.

These text messages should speak directly to a very specific group. A few examples would be:

  • An invitation to an event to people that abandoned a shopping cart or met with a sales person but never bought.
  • A personalized offer for a report or article to owners or executives of past clients that deals specifically with their position or industry.
  • A consulting session offer to people that no-showed an event or were invited but did not respond.

Every case has two things in common. The targeted group can be tightly defined so that the copy will speak directly to them and they have interacted in some way before with the training, consulting, or professional coaching firm. The message itself should address the person directly and have a simple statement on why they were targeted and why the offer pertains to them.

A key aspect is to mock the message up as if the trainer, consultant, professional coach or sales person typed it for that single person. That is why the email remaining text only is key. Some telltale signs of email marketing like unsubscribe options have to be included for legal requirements but try to push them down so that it’s not a distraction from the message.

Don’t overthink this process. The text email should be constructed exactly like direct mail merges with names and identifying information. The secret is to customize it enough that it applies but doesn’t come across as dishonest.

These personalized text emails often get superior response rates because they emulate a more powerful one-to-one interaction where the recipient feels a greater connection to the sender. For this reason, it’s important not to over-use the tactic because emails that are not suitable for a wider audience or that are sent too frequently will make all your emails seem deceptive.

So why are these types of email campaign rarely done well? That level of data mining, organization, and targeted distribution takes a fair amount of work that many firms simply won’t invest into their email marketing campaigns. But those that build these personalized messages into their email marketing campaigns can expect to see consistently better response rates.

Image courtesy of  watcharakun /

Systematize Your Digital Marketing

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and that rate of change has filtered into digital marketing. We wrote a post on simplifying your digital marketing systems but some training, consulting, and professional coaching firms make the opposite mistake of not sufficiently automating their digital marketing. It’s important to review your processes to eliminate unnecessary manual processes because the repetition will suck up the time necessary to stay competitive as new digital marketing technologies become available.

Sometimes it can be difficult to know how complicated it is to automate a process and whether it is worth the time, money, and/or energy to do so. There is a simple way of judging if a marketing process should be automated or not. How much and how often is data being duplicated? If it’s a significant amount of data that is often manually manipulated, then an automated process will likely be well worth the effort.

This dilemma recently came up with a client’s new website platform. The platform updated the layout to a modern design but lacked many of the back-end marketing systems that had previously allowed for automation.

The initial plan was to use a varied mix of vendor automation tools. For instance, email newsletter registrations would link to a form on the email marketing platform. However, it became apparent that segmenting all the data to different platforms was going to make for a disjointed user experience and require manual compiling and reconciliation into a central data source. That was adding an administrative process with no value add to a marketing team that was already stretched. Instead we created a system of embedding the forms on the site so that they would populate the individual platforms but also be available in a central data source.

Sometimes automation isn’t as obvious. On this same website platform, a set of a few dozen calls to action were regularly used on any new content page or blog post. That process had always been manually added to the page but was identified as something that should be a clickable embedded item on the upgraded platform. So rather than setting the CTA up each time, the poster could select which CTA they wanted and it would appear on page.

Repetitive processes should be automated. They tend to add little value for improving digital marketing and are often a boring line item on someone’s task list. Remove that manual process and free yourself up to implement or explore new digital marketing tools and tactics that are now regularly becoming available.