3 Ways to Boost Engagement With Your Preference Center February 1st, 2018 Paul Mirek Paul Mirek Paul Mirek Read More About Paul Paul Mirek I have a confession to make: I’ve never been the type to make a New Year’s resolution. But I’m inspired by those who identify something they’d like to change about themselves and then develop a plan to make it happen. The two most popular resolutions for 2018 (saving money and getting in shape) lend themselves well to the ecommerce marketing world – who doesn’t want to trim the fat and make their marketing strategy even more effective? But I’d like to propose a third resolution for marketers to consider in 2018: Let’s listen better to what our customers tell us and respect those needs when it comes to how we message to them. Personalization Counts in 2018 When we asked marketing experts about the trends they see gaining traction in 2018, personalization was one of the main themes that emerged. Delivering messages that are timely, relevant and engaging doesn’t only help you drive revenue and conversions, it can also set your company apart from the Amazons of the world by establishing a clear brand value. “Email needs to become more conversational and more multichannel,” says Dylan Whitman, founder and CEO of BVAccel. “It shouldn’t be in a silo. It’s going to be more about where customers are in the lifecycle of buying from your product.” So how can you achieve this goal? Having a preference center is nice, but it’s how you use the information that your customers provide that matters. Here are three ways you can listen better to your customers and drive success with your email campaigns. Segment Customers by Gender Many retailers ask customers to select their gender at sign-up only to show them products that are irrelevant. If you know a contact is a woman, why feature a hero image with men’s shoes in your welcome email? Use dynamic content to ensure that your creative is on point. Then select a generic image for customers who haven’t selected a gender: Bronto customers have also seen success with this strategy to differentiate their messaging. Danielle Carlson, email marketing manager at Clarks, put this strategy to the test when trying to build segment workflows based on click behavior. Carlson said, “Women were interested when we sent them messages for male products, but our male customers didn’t respond if we sent them emails about heels and wedges.” Now if a customer clicks on women’s shoes, they are automatically added to the women’s list. “Since we’ve done this, we’ve seen up to a 22% increase in our email engagement metrics,” Carlson says. Our gender-segmented sends perform better compared to general sends.” Open rates are 17% higher for the female segment than for non-segmented lists, and click rates are 22% higher. The overall female segment click rate is 20%. “Male engagement isn’t as strong, but that is giving us some insight into our male audience,” Carlson says. Let Customers Choose How Often They Hear From You Unsubscribes don’t just mean lost revenue – they can also drive down your deliverability. While you can’t win back every customer, you can often save subscribers who simply prefer to hear from you less frequently. Create a Frequency custom contact field as a pull-down menu type, and offer 2-3 options for your contacts to select from. Remember: If you offer this option, you must honor the frequency request when scheduling your sends. Add each contact to a different segment based on their selection. You can then use these segments as exclusion groups to prevent over-messaging within a certain period of time. Set these exclusions under the Advanced Settings when scheduling a delivery. When using this option, be sure to update your unsubscribe webform to let customers know they can adjust their preferences instead of unsubscribing completely. Consider adding an HTML button that links to your preferences page to reduce friction and make it even easier for customers to take action. Personalize the Landing Page When it comes to personalization, email is just the tip of the iceberg. Reduce friction in the customer journey by differentiating the landing page from your welcome email based on the customer’s interests. If they’ve expressed interest in new arrivals, use dynamic content to show a banner that links to that page. In this case, use a Field rule and the “Field Is Equal To” condition with the string “New Arrivals.” Link bargain shoppers to your clearance page or discounted items instead. Add as many rules as you want to ensure that the next step your customer takes is the right one. As for results, the numbers speak for themselves. “I can segment our list based on interests, region, even down to the store they shop at,” says Colby Saenz, ecommerce marketing manager at Salt Lake City-based Sportsman’s Warehouse. “Our open rates are 66% percent higher on segmented emails than promotional emails.” This year, make a marketing resolution that makes sense: Start listening to what your customers are telling you and delivering the emails they want to receive.