Boost Your Conversion Rate: An Easy Guide to Personalization

symbolic illustration for conversion rate versus personalization techniques

I have some bad news today. Your conversion rate will suffer if you don’t utilize personalization. This is because corporations have invested many billions to get people accustomed to custom-tailored and personalized experiences. 

If the communication people get from you feels like “bulk messaging”, it will feel off, as people don’t want to get the exact same message as a million other people. This will destroy your conversion rates.

The good news is that personalized messaging can be easy and simple to implement, and in fact, you can get started right away. In fact, you can get some amazing boosts in engagement, deliverability and your conversion rate, by making some easy tweaks, starting today.

Get a friend on your side

Running a business and trying to figure everything out on your own is not easy. What if you could have someone by your side that cares to see you increase your profits? A business partner that would get absolutely excited to see your conversion rates go up.

This is what working with Emercury is like. While we do provide the marketing platform as a software, this is not the main core of what Emercury is about. We see every Emercury user as a “partner business” of sorts. The more conversions your marketing emails create, the more you will use our platform, so it is an absolute win-win situation.

This is completely different to other marketing platforms where you buy “access to software” and you’re left to your own devices. At Emercury we flip things around. In fact, if you look at our pricing tiers you will notice there aren’t many differences in terms of features.

Most tiers get almost the same feature set, and the differences are primarily in the level of service, with the higher tiers involving one-on-one strategy sessions and consulting to help you take both your marketing and business to the next level.

So if you’re looking to increase your conversion rates the easy way, consider booking a free demo while I still have time to do these. Let’s talk about your needs one-on-one and see if I can’t give you some great ideas about how we can help you boost those conversion rates.

The main reason people fail to implement personalization

I’ve found that most businesses fail to implement personalization. They either procrastinate on even trying to implement it, or they give it a try, get overwhelmed, and give up.

The source behind both of those scenarios is the same. Most of the information out there is about the cool and super-advanced ultra-fancy ways in which you can create “hyper-personalized journeys”.

Those sound all kinds of cool if you’re trying to sell a marketing platform to users, but they do you a disservice as they’re not the best place to start off.

Look, we invest a ton of resources in implementing all of the most advanced features that exist today. We have it all. But at the same time, whenever I advise people to implement personalization I have to remind them of the 90-10 rule.

You want to start off simple, implement the easy types of personalization, and take it step by step. This is how I structured the guide for you here. We will look at the highest-leverage steps first. 

These are the tricks you can implement starting today, and already see great results and boosts in conversion rates and deliverability. And then, we will introduce the more complex options, one by one.

Implement merge tags today

This is advice that we give to every email marketer out there. If you’re not using merge tags, you need to start today. You can use them in your subject lines. For example have a subject line like “{First name} discount for you” and immediately see a boost in open rates. Or use them inside of the email body and see higher conversion rates and engagement.

Now, I used the example of using someone’s first name because it is the easiest example and most marketers at least ask for a first name. But you can use merge tags to insert any sort of data that you have on your subscriber, be that their city, preferences or anything at all.

The key though is to actually collect data about your subscribers, and this is the next step to implementing more personalized experiences.

Start gathering more data

Gathering more data involves a balancing act so let’s talk about that for a second here. Let’s start by looking at data that you gather at signup time.

If you ask for too much data on the signup process, your signup rates will go down. And how many questions you can get away with will depend on the industry, how the person found the signup form and what you’re giving them in exchange for the data.

The more valuable the gift that they get in exchange, the more willing they will be to give you more data other than just their address and first name. But it also depends on your industry. If you’re in insurance and offering a free quote, you can ask a lot more questions or even do it as a survey. 

You have a similar situation in a SaaS context, where if people are signing up for your freemium, you can ask them additional questions to tailor their experience. And a similar situation will happen where you offer someone a free service or membership of some kind.

I know this isn’t very specific, but it really depends. As this is an article I can just give some general examples to get you thinking. If you want more custom-tailored advice, please remember this is included in some of our plans. And if you want to get a sense for this personalized experience, consider booking a free demo.

Gathering data over the subscriber lifecycle

The data you get during signup is just the start. Whatever your industry or model, most of the data that you collect will be across the subscriber lifecycle. And this alone could fill an entire book, but let’s start with the simple stuff to get you going.

At the very least, you will want to come up with relevant tags and custom fields to track important points across the customer lifecycle or journey. For example, you can assign tags or custom field values based on subscriber behavior that signals interest of some kind.

So for example you might decide to keep track of people interested in “topic x”. To make this automated, you can set up the journey builder to automatically give them this tag when appropriate.

For example if they visit a relevant page on your blog, or open certain emails or click links inside of them. It can even be based on behaviors in some of your other systems. Just set up an incoming webhook that sends the relevant data to Emercury.

Alternatively, you might set up an integration with your payment or e-com system, whereby you track which products they bought or added to cart. This is also a type of data.

Another option might be to send surveys, and then send the relevant data to appropriate custom fields in Emercury. Just one of the many possibilities that you have with all of the integration options we have at hand.

I’m merely scratching the surface here as this is quite the broad topic

I just want to get you started thinking about this topic and all the tools at your disposal. If you have the goal of gathering more relevant differentiating data, you will be able to personalize better.

If you know that one person is interested in topic x, and another in topic y, you can use the more advanced tools we’ll discuss here to treat them differently. You can have so each of them receives a different email. Or, they can receive the same email, but have the content show differently for each of them, using our smart personalization feature.

Start using our smart personalization feature

We are really proud of this feature, because it accomplishes an almost impossible feat. It is as simple as using merge tags, and yet it allows for hyper-personalization at the same time.

The way it works is simple. Let’s say that your subscribers are businesses and you have a field where you track “number of employees”.

You click on the smart personalization button, and a popup comes out. In it you can choose a condition. In this case, let’s say that we choose “More than 10 employees”. Then, you can put in the content you want to show for people who meet the condition, and set the content for those who don’t meet the condition.

With this, the exact same email (or parts of it) can show completely different content based on conditions that you set. This is also why it is important to get started on gathering data from your subscribers, so that you can start leveraging more advanced personalization.

To learn more about the smart personalization feature, check out the announcement post here.

Build simple automations with simple conditions

Most “marketing gurus” and even marketing platforms will constantly brag about and show-off their hyper-complicated automations. We are talking automations with a bunch of nested conditionals and using every feature in the journey builder in every way possible.

While those automations are good to show what’s possible with automation and just how hyper-advanced it can get, they are not a good model to begin with.

When you’re starting off you’ll want to keep the automations simpler and personalize in more highly-leveraged ways. And when I say “highly leveraged ways”, I mean the 10% of stuff that gives 90% of the benefit in terms of personalization.

Even the simplest scenarios put you ahead of most competitors

The truth is that even if you insert just a few “forks” in the journey builder, you will already be ahead of the personalization game. All you have to do is follow our “getting started recipe” as follows.

– First, build a simple automation (journey) that just acts as a drip sequence. This is where a subscriber gets an email on day 1, then after a certain number of days they get email 2, and so forth

– After have that sequence working well, find a few places where you can split (personalize) the journey.

– For example, let’s say that email 3 is a very important offer. Insert a condition that checks if people opened that email. If they opened the email, proceed the regular route. And if they didn’t open email 3, send an email that asks them if they checked out the super-important offer or not, giving them a second chance

– Another example is if you have certain relevant data points based on which people should be treated differently. Let’s reuse the example from above, and assume you’re storing “number of employees” in a custom field”. You can have a condition in the journey builder that checks this field, and sends a different email entirely, based on this.

It is ok to keep it simple to start off with, and in fact, you will do a lot better than the marketers who try to implement super-advanced hyper-personalization with huge complex scenarios that involve dozens of different conditions.

Utilize segments and smart segments to personalize your broadcasts

A common misconception is that personalization is something that you do with email automations. But this is completely wrong. To personalize in marketing means to provide a custom-tailored experience to different individuals based on their unique traits.

You can, and you should also personalize your broadcasts. And the way that you do this is that you utilize segments. These are slices of your subscriber list that are based on certain characteristics. 

symbollic photo of people stacking blocks: improve conversion rate with segments

Ideally, if you do your segmentation right, a segment can represent a “customer persona” quite accurately. In that sense, when you are doing a broadcast, you can choose what “persona” (segment) you are writing an email to.

You will also be happy to learn that we have implemented smarts segments. You can learn more about them in the announcement post over here.

And don’t forget that you can combine this with smart personalization. That is, you can use dynamic personalized content inside of your broadcasts, so that really takes the personalization to the next level. 

Just imagine this, you send a broadcast to a perfectly defined segment, and you even utilize dynamic content inside of the email. This gets quite close to the idea of the “ideal personalization”, where an email feels almost the same as if you wrote it personally for that one individual.

Upgrade your automations over time

After you have been running the simpler personalization journeys for a while, you can go ahead and make things more advanced, but no sooner than that.

And how can you tell that it is time? Well, you need to be able to study the reports and truly understand the impact of personalization. If you have automations where you split based on a condition, can you tell what impact that split has on your results?

It is only by studying these simpler automations that you will be able to identify opportunities where you can split things even further. 

For example instead of splitting the journey on one condition, you might split it in four different paths, based on two conditions.

Alternatively, you might split the journey into multiple sub-scenarios instead of keeping everything in one scenario.

I’m merely scratching the surface here. If you want to really get a sense for this idea of starting out your automations simply, and then making them more advanced over time, check out the email automation guide for intelligent marketers.

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback

Look, all of this stuff about using automations the right way, custom fields, gathering just the right data (etc.) can seem a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, you’re not required to go at it alone. While we do put out many free guides to help you if you insist on going at it alone, you can always ask for help.

This is what our premium plans are about. We pride ourselves on the fact that we don’t charge people for software, but service. And many of our plans include a one-on-one consultations and strategy-sessions where you get a mentor to guide you.

If you want to get a little bit of a taste for what this experience is like, consider booking a free demo while I can still do those. We can go over all of your questions and help make things a lot more clear.

In addition to that, you can also grab yourself a username for the forever-free plan, while we still have that. We might pull this option at any time, because it is the most generous free plan out there. If you grab a username though, you get to keep it and all the benefits of the forever-free plan, well, forever.

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