Mini masterclass: building trust through personalisation

Jillian Ryan, senior manager of content marketing strategy at Intuit Mailchimp, discusses the power of personalisation and how brands can get it right

Why is personalisation such a powerful email marketing strategy?

Email marketing is a tried and true channel. We see that marketers have an excellent ROI on email.

But to capitalise on that revenue potential, you need to take those email marketing efforts and amp them up to the next level. Personalisation is a powerful strategy. Ninety-two per cent of marketers in our recent survey with Edelman said that personalisation is the most successful email marketing strategy they’ve used.

And it’s no wonder because 87% of consumers in that same survey said they’re more likely to read an email if the content is personalised. So when done effectively, personalisation creates relevance with your audience and that builds trust over time.

How important is it to know your customers?

Every time a customer opens an email, interacts or engages with your website or makes a purchase, you’re learning something new about your audience.

And according to findings from Edelman, your audience is willing to share data with you. Nearly three in four customers are comfortable with companies using that personal data, but those companies need to be transparent in how they’re using it.

And in exchange for giving you their data, 69% of customers say they expect and want to receive more personalised content.

When you have customer data from all these different touch points, it gives you a blueprint of who your audience is, what they prefer and how to engage with them in a more personalised, meaningful and relevant way.

How can you segment your email list more effectively?

Segmentation puts your customer data to use because it allows you to target distinct groups within your audience. But you’re basing it on shared attributes that those customers have in common. With behavioural data, you can understand who in your audience has engaged with certain emails or visited certain parts of your website.

And you can use that insight to create segments based on the types of content they’ve clicked on or what product pages they viewed because you know that customer has an affinity with that type of content.

Segmentation used to be a fully manual process that took a lot of time and energy. But with the advent of AI, machine learning and predictive analytics, marketers are creating and managing their segments in a more streamlined way.

How does personalisation build trust with customers?

The key here is relevancy. Relevancy is what truly builds trust. Think about a personalised email from your customer’s perspective. It can do a lot. It can make your customers feel seen because it demonstrates that your company understands who they are. It can humanise your brand because it shows you can anticipate their wants and needs. And it could also remove friction in the path to purchase and create a better customer experience for that audience.

And findings from our Edelman survey show that consumers want personalisation and it can instil trust. Eighty-six per cent of customers say that it’s important that email messages be specific to them – their interests, their demographics and their behaviours. Seventy-three per cent say they feel more valued when they receive personalised emails. And 63% said they have more trust in companies that send them personalised emails.

What makes email content effective when personalised?

Marketers need to be mindful because there is a fine line between a meaningful, personalised email and a downright intrusive one.

You can build a lot of trust with your audience by letting them control their data through a preference centre. This is a win-win because it allows you to collect more demographic information from your audience and confirm whether it’s accurate.

It also provides your customers with a lot of options and control. They can determine how often they want to receive emails and the types of offers they’re most interested in. It also allows them to opt out of specific types of promotions.

Tone and value are incredibly important in concert. First, you need to make sure you don’t give the impression that you’re monitoring your customers’ every move. You also need to ensure that the copy and the design of your email showcase the value and the benefit for your audience, as well as the context of why that email is being sent to them in the first place.

Making sure that your data is clean and up to date is paramount. The worst type of personalised email is one that is personalised wrong. You don’t want to misspell the recipient’s name or reference inaccurate demographic data or location data in the email copy. That will tarnish trust and lead to unsubscribes.

How do you measure the success of personalisation?

The best way to know if your efforts in email personalisation are working and driving business results is to compare the performance of your segment and emails to the ones you’re sending to your entire audience.

We see that marketers who segment their email audiences see a 45% higher average click-through rate than marketers who don’t. While it’s important to look at those email metrics, the ultimate indicator of personalisation success is to be able to understand how much revenue you’re driving per email. 

Make sure that your ecommerce platform is integrated with your email marketing tool. This will help you track KPIs like revenues per email and then you can do that and compare and contrast across the different segments that you’ve created. This will help you discover what types of segmentation campaigns are driving results and building trust over time.

Key takeaways for marketers

Personalisation is a powerful strategy for making customers feel like you know and understand them. To do this effectively, you should:

Expand Close

Discover how Mailchimp can help you get your email marketing strategy right

Disclaimer: Edelman DXI conducted a panel-sample online survey on behalf of Mailchimp June 12–28, 2023. The survey consisted of 1,000 US Respondents and 500 e-commerce professionals and 500 UK Respondents and 200 e-commerce professionals. The margin of error is +/- 4.9 percent for the national sample and about +/- 6.9 percent for e-commerce professionals, reported at a 95 percent confidence level.