How Dynamic Content Works
To build an email campaign with dynamic content, you must begin by defining business rules. These business rules match subscriber profile data to the variable content and, therefore, produce the final message. It is imperative to define business rules including required legal information by state as well as the detailed business goals you would like to achieve for each campaign. Although many of the steps are automated, it is still a complex process that requires a fair amount of preparation and quality assurance.
Next, you must review the information stored in your database to decide what approach to take. Dynamic content allows you to take the personalization further than just segmenting your list and adding variable merge fields. For those of you that are new to email marketing, segmentation is a simple, yet powerful, tactic. You simply divide your list into groups based on a common attribute, such as location, product preference, or job title. Each group then receives its own email message. For example, the online department store could send executives an email offering business suits while sending teachers an offer on business casual clothing.
Variable substitution is another straightforward approach that many email marketers use to personalize the salutation of each email message. However, it can also be used to include different variables, such as call to action buttons or graphics. This way, the message may be customized to attract different segments in the way that is most effective for those subscribers. While these two approaches provide a message that is somewhat tailored to recipients, the real power of dynamic content goes even further.
True dynamic content uses conditional content blocks to personalize emails based on subscribers’ profiles. A conditional content block is a piece of programming code that performs an “if/then” test and treats each subscriber as its own segment. This is where dynamic content really shines. Like the other approaches, it begins with a single HTML template. Like variable substitution, a field is inserted in the template; however, instead of a simple salutation or call to action button, it allows you to include entire sections of content or graphics, and each section may include additional substitution fields.
The dynamic section could include several different opening paragraphs depending on subscribers’ purchase histories, and within that paragraph, it could reference a specific item previously purchased and link to a coordinating item for sale. The dynamic email messages may also include different headers, images, tags, and footers. This level of customization is a true one to one approach to email marketing. There is no limit to the number of messages you can create.
Listrak’s email marketing solution includes an easy-to-use Content Library that allows marketers to save conditional content blocks of text, graphics, and links. These content blocks contain the variable information that will be inserted into each message, and, like Listrak’s template and media libraries, it allows the information to be created once but reused as needed.
After the text and graphics are created, users can build the dynamic email easily through Listrak’s dynamic content containers (see Graphic 2). These containers allow users to organize the different messages easily as users set up the different versions of the email and define the business rules for each version through the click of a button. The business rules contain the “if/then” code, but because the code is inserted automatically, Listrak users can simply use a drop down menu to select which subscriber profile attributes receive which version of the email.
The user then simply uploads the message template and defines which content blocks and images to include in each version, and the messages are automatically generated.
For example, if the online department store was offering a sale on a new line of luggage, the marketer could define the business rule “if a subscriber is a sales director, then send version 1”, and the message text could look something like this:
As a sales director, you know first hand the hardships of constant travel. We have introduced a new line of luggage that actually increases efficiency of busy business travelers. And, right now, we’re offering it to you before it is even available in our stores. Best of all, you will receive a special discount of 25% off the retail price through this exclusive offer.
Our luggage comes with patented wrinkle-preventing, space-reducing travel packs that keep clothes fresh and ready-to-wear. The innovative design lets you pack a week’s worth of business and casual clothing in one bag that is small enough to fit into standard overhead compartments. It also includes a number of FAA-approved travel sized bottles to hold all of your toiletries. And it comes in a number of easy-to-identify colors so it won’t blend in with every other bag at the airport.
To take advantage of this offer, visit (www.website.com/luggagesales) or call us today.
But you can also drill down further. You can set up business rules for the subscribers that have purchased specific items within a specific time frame. Such as “if a subscriber made a purchase within the last week, and if that subscriber purchased a travel-related accessory, and if that accessory was a leather passport attaché, then send version 2”, and the email message from the online department store could look like this:
Thank you for your recent purchase of our leather passport attaché. Whether you are preparing for a quick business trip overseas or planning that once in a lifetime vacation, you will love our new line of luggage. And, right now, we’re offering a free companion ticket and two flight upgrade coupons with the purchase of the three piece set.
Our luggage comes with patented wrinkle-preventing, space-reducing travel packs that keep clothes fresh and ready-to-wear. The innovative design lets you pack a week’s worth of clothing in one bag that is small enough to fit into standard overhead compartments. It also includes a number of FAA-approved travel sized bottles to hold all of your toiletries. And, it comes in a variety of colors so you can coordinate it with your attaché or choose a bright, easy-to-identify color that won’t blend in with every other bag at the airport.
To take advantage of this offer, visit (www.website.com/luggageticket) or call us today.
The content is created dynamically based on the subscriber profiling data and the established business rules pull the correct content into each message, resulting in an email that seems to be created for each person individually.
Dynamic content insertion blocks provide limitless opportunities for email marketers, but, according to a recent study by JupiterResearch, only 11 percent are conducting truly targeted email programs while 65 percent use the segmented approach. However, as marketers realize the advantages of using the more targeted approach, these numbers will shift.