Personalization is the name of the game at Tinyme. Kids’ puzzles, backpacks, T-shirts, stickers … you name it, and you’ll probably find it in their collection. And each of their items can be personalized – whether your kid’s name is John or Jehoshaphat. But the product personalization isn’t the hard part – the personalized marketing is.
Mike Wilson founded Tinyme in his spare room in 2006. (This story has a familiar ring, doesn’t it?) Now he and the company are in their ninth year of successful growth, so we asked him to share some tips for getting personalization right at the final stop on the Bronto City Tour.
Tinyme, originally called mooo, began as a manufacturer and online-only retailer in Australia with one SKU – a digitally carved wooden puzzle. Today, there are hundreds of products, designs and color options available from three online “stores,” including the tinyme.com.uk and tinyme.com. “We’re a very full-stack brand,” says Wilson. “We make everything we sell, and we only sell online.”
Wilson’s background is in industrial engineering, and he admits that he and the other two directors at Tinyme aren’t passionate about kids’ products. It’s “just a good market” within which to apply their expertise. “What we are passionate about is the intersection between mass customization and digital technologies, what you can do on the web in terms of personalization and building a strong brand,” he explains.
“Once we built the website, we thought, ‘Well, now we’ve got to get people to come to it,’” Wilson explained. So they began collecting subscribers and sending batch emails about sales and such. While it’s a great start to increasing revenue, they knew they could do better if their emails were more relevant to their subscribers.
“Emails that are relevant get opened, which means a greater return on investment,” says Wilson.
But how do you do make them relevant?
Wilson outlined several great tips for basic personalization, using the information your customers share with you. He started with triggered emails, more specifically, cart recovery emails. “You know what stage a customer is at when he’s put stuff in the cart, so you can send a very relevant email. Hence [cart recovery emails] have a great open rate and great return on investment,” he says.
While you may already use purchase data to make your emails more relevant, don’t forget about the other data snippets you can use, too. You collect more data than you may realize. For example, if a customer subscribes to your email from your blog, it’s possible that he doesn’t even know about your product. That customer is likely at a very different stage in the customer journey than someone who signs up for the email from the shopping cart or a pop-up on your ecommerce site. “How you communicate to them, and what they know about your brand, will be very different,” says Wilson.
Personalization Isn’t Just for Triggered Emails
Marketers collect a variety of implicit and explicit data on their customers and shoppers, including first and last name, gender, birthdate, high-level product category choices, subscription source and postal code. Some simple segmentation based on this data can be very profitable. For instance, Hudson Shoes saw a 5X lift in conversion rates just by segmenting on gender.
“But what I love is combining basic stuff. You can get quite ninja if you start combining basic customer information,” he says. “It sounds complicated, but it’s really like conditional formatting in Excel: If this, then that.”
Here are his examples:
• Trigger a post-purchase email to fire with creative and offers based on long-term weather patterns in a region (i.e. many days of rain, long hot summer, etc.).
• Create a variety of geo-relevant email templates/designs. When the subscriber opens the email, the system recognizes the location of the device and displays the relevant creative. “We saw really, really high conversion rates on these,” he explained.
• Personalize based on device. “Don’t ask someone to download your app if they are opening on a PC. If they’re opening on a mobile or tablet, send them to the correct app store,” says Wilson.
• Include live social posts in your blasts. “Basically, the hashtag feeds straight into email, making the blast email more timely,” he explains.
Wilson says that everyone has a vision for the ideal email marketing strategy and implementation, but it can be overwhelming when you think about all that needs to be done. He says it’s OK to take it one step at a time. Start with blast emails where you’ve incorporated some very basic segmentation data, such as gender or location, and build on your program from there.
So How Does Tinyme Do It?
Tinyme uses a great mix of content marketing and email marketing best practices, as well as a mix of curated and original content as triggers for their emails.
“Our target market is moms with kids ages 0 to about 7, and we do a lot of freebie downloads,” he says.
And they gather quite a bit of data from the download. For instance, the mom must provide her email address to get the content. But even more telling is the type of content she’s downloading: Is it for a boy or girl? Is it about throwing a great kids’ party or decorating a kid’s bedroom? What age is the content most related to?
“With our content, we try to get shoppers to essentially put their hand up and say, ‘I like this style in this color.’ Along the way, we also pick up the channel they’ve come through and their subscriber source and push that into Bronto,” explains Wilson.
This process gives Tinyme the information they need to retarget the customer elsewhere on the web, provide related content during their visit to tinyme.com and send emails that will prompt a customer action.
“Blasts aren’t dead,” says Wilson. “They’re still high-performers, and they’re becoming more relevant to the person who is opening them.”
Want more ideas and best practices from email marketers just like Mike Wilson? Check out the rest of our Bronto City Tour Thought Leadership Series. And hear from other great speakers in Miami at Bronto Summit 2016. We have a great lineup this year – including Daymond John, co-star of the popular ABC Television business reality series Shark Tank and the Founder and CEO of global lifestyle brand FUBU.
To learn more about tinyme, visit their website.