- Developer Hub
- SparkPost API
- Free Tools for Email Teams and Developers
- Slack Channel
- User Guides & Migrations
- Submit a Ticket
- SparkPost Academy
- Email Deliverability Resources
- Email Explained
- White Papers & Guides
- Webinars & Videos
- SparkPost vs. SendGrid
- Customers Stories
- Contact Us
*Today’s guest post comes from our partners at Ongage! Read on to learn how dynamic content increases user engagement and reduces conversion times.
Standing out in the Digital Crowd
Today, companies compete in the digital market space for consumer attention. One of the best ways to improve added value and enhance the customer experience is by tailoring campaigns to best fit customers’ personal preferences by incorporating parameters such as location, past engagement, behavior and more.
By providing potential customers with the precise information they are looking for, companies are able to shorten the time it takes to drive conversion from engagement and strengthen the customer’s connection to the brand for future purposes. This not only strengthens a brand’s position in the competitive marketplace, but it improves the brand loyalty customers have.
For email marketers looking to improve their position in the digital crowd, dynamic content integration is the most versatile way to personalize campaigns, improve the customer journey and increase campaign effectiveness.
What is Dynamic Content?
Dynamic content is content (web, ad, email, etc.) that is provided to an end user based on their personal preferences, past behavior, demographic, or firmographic data.
Beyond offering enhanced personalization and helping companies stand out digitally, integration of dynamic content reduces sales friction along the customer lifecycle, shortening conversion time and improving ROI.
Through integration of dynamic content from already collected information within a company’s database, campaign managers can improve their micro-segmentation capabilities and hyper-target potential clients with precise and curated content that is more likely to drive conversion.
For example, ecommerce sites can enhance campaign effectiveness by providing individuals who abandon their cart with a customized email campaign that takes the customer’s unique style, past shopping behavior and last viewed items into consideration. Travel sites, on the other hand, can tailor special offers based on a customer’s desired travel dates, locations and even accommodation preferences.
By providing customers with the information they want about the products or services they want, email marketing managers are able to have a stronger impact on the next steps in the customer journey their client undertakes, reducing friction, improving experience and increasing the possibility of conversion.
The impact dynamic content and micro-segmentation have on the effectiveness of campaigns is a critical part of the sales journey and one companies cannot forego.
By integrating dynamic content into email marketing campaigns, specifically in such competitive and preference-based industries as travel, retail, or career, companies are able to improve segmentation capabilities, increasing the chances of conversion, and strengthening the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns overall.
“In today’s competitive digital space, companies have to do everything they can to connect to their customers quickly and deeply, and in the email marketing space, no other tool gets as powerful results as dynamic content integration. That is why we are confident that our advanced dynamic content functionality, alongside micro-segmentation capabilities, will bring positive value to SparkPost SMTP customers.” – Danny Tal, SVP Ongage
If you’re interested in learning more about how Ongage and SparkPost can help you leverage your content servers and integrate dynamic content into your campaigns, you can try them both out together in our exclusive offer.
Head of Marketing, Ongage
**Today’s guest blogger, Alyssa Jarrett, is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Iterable. Read on to learn how to boost your triggered emails and increase your conversion and engagement rates in e-commerce.
By now, email marketers are aware that messages triggered off customer lifecycle or activity perform better than standard batch-and-blasts. In fact, triggered emails account for 30 percent of the revenue generated by this marketing channel, versus 14 percent from unsegmented blasts.
Despite their higher engagement and conversion rates, triggered emails often don’t play a large enough role in marketers’ email strategy—even within industries, such as e-commerce, where the opportunities to automate message off customer behavior are enormous.
But what exactly do we mean when we say “triggered?” Is it synonymous with transactional? Not exactly. Experts wisely differentiate the two categories by noting that all transactional messages are triggered, but not all triggered messages are transactional.
Transactional messages are an automated form of customer service. We’re all familiar with order confirmations, package tracking, password resets, returns and refunds as types of transactional messages.
Promotional messages can also be triggered off individual actions, such as shopping cart abandonment or a welcome series that’s sent post-signup. With the right technology, virtually any customer interaction with your brand can initiate a 1:1 message, from browsing web pages to adding items to a wish list.
Turn heads with triggered emails
At Iterable, we work with major e-tailers like Tobi and Spring to power omni-channel relevance at scale. After reaching one billion people with data-driven, personalized content, we’ve determined the key attributes of marketing that makes an impact.
Here are the top four tips to give your triggered email campaigns the Midas touch.
- Think outside the shopping cart. As we’ve stated, shopping cart abandonment (SCA) campaigns are now a standard practice among e-commerce companies, but it’s more useful to think of SCA as an example of conversion recovery, of which there are many. You’re selling yourself short if you aren’t actively monitoring all site visitor and email subscriber behavior to stimulate action. Identify all other possible points for abandonment along the customer journey—such as filling out a survey but not submitting—to ensure that you’re not missing valuable opportunities to recover lost revenue.
- Trigger timing is key. Although the right cadence of sending triggered messages depends on each individual brand, it’s important that you take your average sales cycle into account. Someone shopping for toilet paper may only require one reminder to complete their checkout, whereas another in the market for a designer handbag may need more nurturing over time. Just make sure you can monitor subscriber behavior in real time to avoid a timing faux pas, like sending an SCA message after the customer has purchased the item.
- Avoid the creep factor. Forrester reports that a third of U.S. online adults prefer to shop with retailers that use personal information to improve their shopping experience. But it’s vital that brands don’t exploit this trust. Heed the golden rule by explaining to your customers why you’re collecting data, then put that value to good use. If your triggered emails are individualized with highly relevant content, then your subscribers will consider their relationship with your brand rewarding—not repellant.
- Evolve beyond acquisition. Practically every e-tailer has a “15% off your first purchase” signup reward, but how many are triggering personalized post-purchase campaigns? There are a variety of techniques to increase engagement and improve retention: a sophisticated upsell campaign, for instance, can be triggered once a customer has reached a designated spend threshold to increase their average order and lifetime value. Automated messaging workflows make moving subscribers through the funnel easy and efficient.
Unlike legacy solutions that restrict marketers to batch data uploads and a limited number of touchpoints, modern growth marketing technology can activate on all customer data in real time across email, mobile, web and social channels.
To learn how you can use Iterable to build and send personalized messaging triggered off virtually any data source, request a demo today.
– Alyssa Jarrett, Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Iterable
Sending email shouldn’t be that complicated, right? Let’s talk about a recipient on your list. In this case, we’ll call her “Jane.” Jane sees a piece of content you create and decides she wants to receive your newsletter. She signs up and even confirms her subscription (confirmed opt-in, score!). All of your future newsletters should land in her inbox, no questions asked. Seems simple, right?
I hate to break it to you, but that’s not how it works. There are many moving pieces to the email journey, and hitting “send” is the easy part.
Malicious senders in the form of spammers, phishers, spoofers and [enter other bad-guy types here]—including overly aggressive marketers—have turned the email journey to the inbox into a match of American Gladiator. Walls, flying tennis ball artillery, you name it.
To give you a better idea, I’ve outlined a high-level view of what happens when you send mail. While the particulars will vary based on the networks involved, it goes a little something like this:
1. Outbound spam filters (the “artillery”) The email passes through a spam filter before leaving the message transfer agent (MTA). Many email service providers (ESPs) have implemented some form of outbound filtering to protect against malware and phishing attacks that often originate from compromised accounts. Some providers even backup this type of machine policing with human review teams.
2. Blacklists (the “walls”) Before the receiving mail system will even think about accepting a message, it is checked against a number of internal and external IP-based blacklists (a.k.a. a DNS-based Blackhole List) to determine if the sending source is worthy of delivering mail to the mailbox provider. Blacklists like Spamhaus, Barracuda, and SpamCop exist to reduce the deluge of spam.
3. Internal content filters (just when you thought you made it!) Next, the email passes through a content filter on the receiving mail system that is especially designed to smoke out any bad links or attachments, in real time. If any of this content is deemed malicious, your message likely will be rejected entirely.
4. Commercial content filters (yep, more filters) At this point, the email passes through commercial content filters to see if it contains anything left unidentified by earlier gates in the system. You might be surprised at how many of these commercial filters are being used by major mailbox providers. In most cases, failing this step results in a message being filed as spam, rather than rejected outright.
5. Black-box filters (almost there…) Finally, the email is checked against various forms of other filters, especially at providers that offer mailbox-level filtering, to determine if the message should be placed in the inbox or spam folder. And if you’re sending to Gmail, there are also tab placement options besides only hitting the inbox.
And if all of this wasn’t enough, the logic supporting every point in the above list is constantly evolving.
Email deliverability is the term coined for measuring the success of a message reaching its intended recipient. Deliverability, as you can now imagine, is often perceived as a mystical (and sometimes unobtainable) thing because of the complexity involved. You might feel the same way when your mail is placed in Jane’s spam folder or rejected entirely.
The reality is that every serious sender needs the strategy and the tools to successfully deliver mail. Senders need visibility and the actionable data to continuously improve their deliverability.
If you’re curious and want to dive into details about the email journey your mails are taking, 250ok and SparkPost have partnered to provide SparkPost customers with some great tools for analyzing your own inbox performance.
About the Author:
Greg Kraios is a hardcore email nerd and the Founder/CEO of 250ok, the preferred choice for email analytics tools. Before 250ok, Greg spent several years at Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget) serving as their ISP Relations Manager, as well as providing deliverability consulting services to a variety senders including Angie’s List, Aprimo and PopularMedia (acquired by StrongView).SparkPost © 2018 All Rights Reserved