I’ve got something I want to share with you. It’s one of the secret keys to deeper relationship with your subscribers. It’s not a very well-kept secret, but still… I don’t want just anyone to overhear it. So I’m going to take you away to a beautiful beach resort — just you and me, the sand and sea, and a lovely tropical breeze. Let’s get started.
Ah, that’s better. Our plane will take off in a moment. But while we’re waiting, let’s chat.
Are you boring your subscribers?
Did you ever notice that, when you’re reading some emails, your eyelids begin to droop? And unless you catch yourself, you might begin to snore. That’s because so many business emails are filled with facts, data, information. Not that it’s unimportant; it’s just tough to absorb.
You’ve got to find a way to talk to your subscribers as if they are your personal friends. Otherwise they’ll tune you out.
A good way to create that person-to-person feeling is to call each of your subscribers by name. And while you’re at it, you can add a few details they didn’t realize you knew.
It’s easier than you think.
Let’s talk about you
Before we get down to the how-to part of this article, we’ll look at an example.
Let’s say you’re a travel agent. We’ll call your business Sun Holiday USA. Your customers use your online booking form to plan their vacation. But you’ve noticed that sometimes they don’t complete the order. Maybe they got distracted. Or maybe they wanted to look for a better deal.
Either way, you may as well take one more shot at closing them. So you decide to send them an email. You’ve got a couple of options.
You can send an email like this:
Dear reader, be sure and book your travel arrangements through Sun Holiday USA. We offer great service and low prices.
Or you can send one like this:
Hey Bart, How are things in Wisconsin? A little chilly, I’ll bet. Maybe you should plan a weekend getaway to Cancun! We’ve got a special offer, just for you, but it’s only good for the next 7 hours. Book your trip now, and we’ll save you 15%.
Bart probably would respond better to the 2nd version, personalized with name and information captured from your database and an incomplete booking form.
How to personalize
The above-mentioned items in boldface type (or any data stored in GetResponse standard or custom database fields) can be inserted using Merge Words — terms used in a special notation. When you enclose them in double square brackets like this [[sample merge word]] they become “dynamic” text.
This means that when the GetResponse system discovers you’ve used a merge word in Email Creator, it automatically replaces it with the value assigned to each individual recipient.
Here are some of the newsletter areas that can include dynamic text.
- In the subject line, you might mention the subscriber’s name.
- In the pre-header, you could include the recipient’s geolocation.
- Include the newsletter date in the pre-header too.
After the snippet comes the header, where you can address the reader directly, as in our example text.
Oops, what if you don’t have the subscriber’s name on file? No problem, just use the fallback function, which renders the value “Traveler” or any other name substitute, (although you’d probably want to steer clear of “Dear Occupant.”)
And what if the name on file is in ALL CAPS or all lowercase? No problem, use function=”ucfw” to change it to mixed case: (Bart instead of bart or BART.)
Here’s how that looks in Email Creator when personalizing the subject line, for example.
The body of the newsletter might also include dynamic merge words to display this type of information:
- Custom field with the destination in the booking form
- Discount value based on recipient’s status in your database
- Timer in hours, showing how long your offer stands
At the end, you can include an option to update subscriber details and preferences, in case they are different than those included in the website booking form.
Personalized message in Email Creator
Here’s how the personalized message looks in Email Creator.
Here are the merge words:
- [[geo city]] – personalized location
- [[date format=”short”]] – date for this newsletter
- [[firstname fallback=“Traveler” function=”ucfw”]] – recipients’ first name with a default value if name is not provided, plus a formatting command for correct capitalization.
- [[travel_destination]] – destination recipient specified in the booking form
- [[timer datetime=”2013-02-25 23:59:59” format=”ho”]] – timer value for offer expiration
- [[discount_group]] – discount assigned to each subscriber in the database
- [[change]] – link to allow each recipient to update their details
Both [[travel_destination]] and [[discount_group]] are custom fields that have been created in the account. To use custom field data, just type the field name surrounded by double square brackets.
Personalized message in the inbox
And here’s how it looks in the inbox. Pretty sweet, eh?
You’ll find the full list of all the merge words in our Learning Center here.
OK, the plane is about to take off. We’ll be in Cancun sipping a Banana Monkey Cocktail before you know it. Already I can feel the sand squishing between my toes.
We hope this short tutorial convinced you to personalize your emails. So get started creating your own custom scenarios. We guarantee you’ll find the tools useful.
We’ll keep you updated on any future changes and improvements. If you’d like to see a scenario for your brand, please share your ideas in the comments, and we’ll help you out.
- Six Overused Email Marketing Tactics That Surprisingly Still Work
- 5 Steps to Creating a Compelling Subject Line
- Can you be personal when marketing to many?