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Are your emails keeping up with new data sharing attitudes?

It sounds simple, send the right content to the right people –  yet still so many email marketers continue to miss the mark. And this is becoming ever more a cardinal sin as attitudes of the everyday consumer shift.

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(A daily thought in the Kickdynamic office)

I’m going to speak now as a consumer, not an email marketer. I know day-to-day that retailers gather a lot of information on me; be this from store cards, loyalty programmes, or generally acknowledging that more of my online movements are being tracked by retailers. Even people who don’t work in online marketing notice and appreciate that when they’ve browsed a certain website or product – it’s likely to follow them around the internet in the form of retargeted ads.

Personally (and I’m sure the majority will agree), if I’m going to be retargeted with adverts, I prefer seeing products I’m actually interested in and the same goes for the content in my emails. It’s annoying to glance at an email for a second, decide instantly that none of the products really float my boat and hit delete. If this happens a few times in a row from a specific sender I’ll unsubscribe. On the flip side, when personalization is done well in email, I enjoy looking at the products and this is probably very evident in my dwell time. 

I stumbled across a recent report by Salesforce ‘The State of the Connected Customer’ and it came as no surprise that there has been huge movement and talk around new data-sharing attitudes amongst customers. According to the survey, the majority of UK customers are more willing to share personal data in exchange for offers and discounts which are personalized to them (I mean why would you not want to be notified when your favourite product is on special offer?!).

“63% of UK customers say being sent personalised or exclusive offers and discounts has a direct influence on their loyalty.”

With these changing attitudes, there is an increasing level of expectation when it comes to marketing. In the study carried out by Salesforce, it was found that one in two UK customers say they’re likely to switch from a company that doesn’t make an effort to personalize interactions. Now that’s a scary number when you think that 50% of your subscribers could unsubscribe as a result of you not using the data you have at your fingertips to personalize your emails in the best way you can. Nobody wants to be marketed a product they’ve just purchased or repeatedly shown items they’re not interested in.

In our world, with marketers having access to an abundance of data about their consumers AND the highlighted changing attitudes of their market – is there really an excuse NOT to be sending highly personalized emails?

In a word. NO.

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At Kickdynamic, we believe everyone should be connecting their CRM data (including browse behaviour) with a product feed enabling you to send highly personalised emails. This automated way of producing content is truly a no-brainer, ensuring your email content is always highly individualized and live at the time the email is opened all whilst saving resource and build time.

And just incase you needed some more persuading why high level personalization is so important, here are some more key stats from Salesforce’s Report that suggest by 2020:

  • 48% of UK consumers will expect companies to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they contact them
  • 45% of UK consumers will expect companies to use AI to automatically purchase or recommend products based on their preferences

Tag of the week – Dustin 1-2-1 Personalization

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Dustin, a Nordics retailer and a fantastic member of the Kickdynamic family are turning heads throughout the ecommerce world with their truly 1-2-1 personalized email. Dustin are now providing truly advanced personalization and have fully automated their build process to deliver 1-2-1 product recommendations tailored to specific browse behaviors, and product preference.

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 10.59.59Dustin connect a live API and design a live image template directly in the Kickdynamic interface. At the point of send, a user ID & sendout ID is merged into the live Tag, completing the API call returning the latest product recommendations for each customer. Each time the email is opened, the product information is updated, ensuring the recipient always sees the latest price and discount information. The live image uses advanced visibility functionality to display image layers based on differing information per product.

Dustin2What’s great about this capability of Kickdynamic is that it requires absolutely no customisation and can all be set up in the UI. Before the introduction of Kickdynamic, Dustin were unable to achieve this 1-2-1 product recommendation and personalization. They now use Kickdynamic in the majority of their emails.

 

 

 

 

Content Feeds- The Hot Topic of 2017

There are two hot topics going down in the KD office; one – the disaster that is Lent, and two, the brilliance that is content feed connection.

Firstly, let’s tackle Lent…

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The nemesis ‘Lent’ has made quick work of the Kickdynamic office this year… all remaining Hobnobs have been swept away never to return, the chocolate stash replaced with apples and oranges, and a strict ban on afternoon ‘biscuit runs’ is in immediate effect – Coffee seems to be the only hope!

However, it’s not all doom and gloom – Lent also gives us the opportunity to set a challenge for all Email and CRM marketers – so, our challenge to you is:

challenge‘SEND A TRULY PERSONALISED EMAIL CAMPAIGN IN THE NEXT 30 DAYS’ (emphasis on the word ‘TRULY’).

This challenge quite nicely brings me to my next order of business – The HOT TOPIC of 2017 – yes, Content Feeds. Now I know you’re probably thinking “hmmmm, how is a feed a hot topic?”- and I don’t blame you. This is new for many, but once this concept is introduced and understood, Content Feeds are quickly becoming the most optimum way of achieving fully automated email and sending truly personalised content.

Content Feeds are rich in valuable product data that is updated frequently (typically daily or hourly in some cases). To name a few data categories: Product Category, Brand, Price, Stock Level, Colour, Gender, Sale Price, User Ratings. The phrase ‘The World at your Fingertips’ doesn’t necessarily do content feeds justice – combine this with CRM data and we are edging close to the Holy Grail for all E-Marketers.

At this point, for those still eating chocolate and have sugar in the tank to keep reading 😃, will be thinking, “ok, sounds interesting, we have a content feed, we have CRM data-  but you can’t get this into email without days of build time or plenty of custom interjection”…. WRONG – getting this into email is simple, quick, and requires no customisation what so ever – hence being the Hot Topic of 2017. Many are now connecting up data feeds, fully automating email content, and creating content rules to show products based on user data live at the time of open.

How this works in the Kickdynamic platform:

  1. Set up a Template with ‘Content Blocks’ connected directly to the live feed (this only has to be done once!).
  2. Apply visibility rules to change the design when required (i.e. show the ‘Was Price’ when item is on Sale).
  3. Set up a Campaign linked to the Template you’ve just designed.
  4. Apply Rules: Add in a ‘Merge’ rule that will filter the content feed at Open Time based on the merged in user preference (i.e. Previous Browse was ‘Beats Headphones’ – The Tag will merge this in and show products from the feed containing ‘Beats Headphone’ at open time).
  5. Copy the auto generated Tag into your Email HTML and you’re done… simple.

Unlike screen cropping, favoured by those like Movable Ink and Liveclicker, feed connection (which requires NO custom intervention) finally gives brands the quick and easy ability to put CRM data to work.

For those looking to build Feed Connection into their strategy our advice is to follow 3 simple steps –

  1. Automate to free resource – (I like to call this stage the Breath of Fresh Air) in most cases, time and resource is a huge challenge due to the BAU build and send process. Rather than applying a lean methodology to streamline the existing process, with what we have, this introduction of new technology will remove the old BAU process of email build. In the past we have seen this bring build time down from 10 days to just 1. Thus opening time to focus on personalisation and creating truly great email.
  2. Truly Personalise – all those great ideas that have been collecting cobwebs- dust them off! Email and CRM teams will now have the time and technology to easily personalise. Kick off your mission for Truly Great Email by taking personalisation ideas, such as Open Time Brand Preference and roll out. Test this – we expect to see +5% uplift in revenue in many cases.
  3. Lifecycle: Work Automated Personalisation into all email – Staying relevant all the time is effortless when true personalisation is so easy, why not share this love in all emails.

Feed Optimisation companies such as Golden Feeds, Passion Digital and Lengow are great companies that are helping many brands get their feeds in order, not only for email, but for all areas of e-Commerce. We highly recommend reaching out if you haven’t done so already.

Wishing you all a splendid March! 😃

Christian

Elevate email engagement with User Generated Content

banner-for-blog-1We come into contact with User Generated Content (UCG) on a daily basis, so much so that it’s easy to forget that it’s a form of advertising.  By definition, UGC is any form of media content, from blogs to images, that has been created by users of a product or service which is made available freely usually via social media platforms. This translates into a huge amount of content which sees people like you and me promoting brands rather than brands promoting themselves.

As much as we don’t always like to admit it, social media continues to be part of our everyday lives (if you disagree with me, I don’t believe you!).

With the huge rise in social media, aided by the mass use of smartphones, there has been a noticeable shift in companies, particularly retailers, strategically utilizing the content produced by their customers (and why wouldn’t you – it’s free advertising).

Through the use of social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, customers can jump on a hashtag and within hours produce numerous innovative, unique images which have the potential to reach a wide-spread audience. It’s no wonder retailers are then building these images into their advertising as a means to promote their products.

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Why you should be using UGC. . .

As we move into a society where social proof and approval are high on agendas, as a marketing tool, UGC created by real life customers is extremely powerful. It instantly allows both existing and potential customers to see how specific products look in everyday life, by everyday people. Consumers are gaining more influencing power over how a brand and its products are portrayed on social media. This content is highly successful because it shows a range of personalities and often provides inspiration for others.

In 2015, 78% of B2C companies were already incorporating UGC in their marketing strategies and this figure has only grown since. However, what inspired me to write this piece is the distinct lack of UGC (nevermind live UGC) in email.

When I’m online shopping, I see so much UGC built into websites, with customers showcasing their recent purchases. However, despite the abundance of incredible UGC available online, there is a lack of it making it to email and this hugely disappoints me.

Many companies who already have UGC displayed on their site are missing an easy opportunity by failing to roll this out in their emails.

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How to generate UGC. . . 

If you are new to the UGC concept, there are tonnes of ways to encourage users to generate this content. A great idea is to run a special seasonal competition or giveaway. Who wouldn’t take 5 mins to get creative and take a cool picture/selfie with the potential to win some goodies?!

Example: Birchbox

Birchbox, a monthly beauty subscription service, asked it’s customers to upload a picture with their most recent package for the chance to win £450 worth of beauty products. In doing this, over 25,000 images have been uploaded to Instagram. Whilst there is almost half a million images tagged with #Birchboxuk.Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 15.00.41

How you could be using UGC. . .

Now here’s the best part… incorporating UGC into your email campaigns is not only extremely cost-effective, but it’s also compelling, inspiring, and makes your brand, products and services more relatable in your customers’ eyes (basically it’s a no brainer).

Make it Live!

Using a Kickdynamic Tag in your emails to display UGC will allow you to display automated, engaging content live at the time of open. If you already have UGC on your site, then typically the content has been monitored, filtered and pre-approved. Kickdynamic serves images live at the point of open, as the UGC is approved and updated, it will appear within the email and update live, at the time of open.

It’s as easy as 1,2,3 . . .

  1. Identify your curated feed & connect in the Kickdynamic platform
  2.  Design your template to make on brand
  3. Generate Tag and insert into your HTML

This only requires a one time set up and would ensure that the most recent images are displayed at the time of open.


Miss Selfridge, a British clothing brand, has great UGC on its website, however it doesn’t get used within their emails. I received this email recently and simply mocked up how they could add their UGC, which instantly makes the email more engaging.

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lightbulbTop Tip: Inspire your email recipients to shop the looks/items other customers post. You can pull the content from a curated user generated feed, or pull it straight from your site into your email to show the latest user generated content, each and every time the email is opened.

The Power of Personalization

Personalization is a top priority for email marketers; from contextual levels to more obvious name or product specific personalization, there are many different ways to do this. Send highly targeted, well personalized emails to your subscribers and you will see an increase in your opens, and better conversion rates. Ultimately you’ll build a better relationship between your brand and your subscribers, however, despite all of these benefits and the many methods of personalizing email, a huge 60% of marketers admit that they struggle when it comes to personalizing content in real-time.

A prime example of this is a recent email which I received from British fashion retailer OASIS with the subject line:

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Working in this industry, it instantly caught my attention (not just because I’m on the lookout for a personalized clutch bag) but also because I was intrigued at how they may have personalized this email. With such a specific subject line, I presumed SURELY there would be some sort of individual personalization happening…

I was wrong…

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Now, I doubt I was the only person in OASIS’ subscriber list who was disappointed upon opening this email. What a wasted opportunity!

As well as the lack of personalization within the email, there is also no obvious indication of how limited this ‘limited’ time is for.

This would have been an absolutely perfect time to add a personalized name to the image to actually show potential customers exactly how their bag could look.

With a few simple customizations, this email could have really stood out of the inbox and enticed more readers to purchase the product.

 

Firstly, this would have been a perfect opportunity to personalize the image to show readers what their bag would look like. Using a Kickdynamic Tag, this is easy to set up and implement and has a great impact on readers.

Secondly, to create the sense of urgency of the limited time this product is available, it would have been a great addition to include a countdown timer within the email. The urgency of the offer would be driven by the seconds counting down live. Additionally, when this offer/option has expired, swapping the image to an ‘after’ image, or showing a 1×1 gif in place of the timer, would ensure the content is relevant and always up to date. Ensuring the most up to date offer information is shown to the recipient will improve their customer experience and affiliation with the brand.

From this:                                                          To this:

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What do you think? Would seeing your name or initials over the product image have encouraged you to click through and complete a purchase?

Holidays are coming!

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The Christmas season is undoubtedly one of the most profitable times of the year for many retailers globally and with this in mind, email marketing campaign planning for the festive season often begins months in advance. Part of this planning is ensuring that email marketing is relevant, highly targeted and contextual to ensure your Christmas marketing plans are striking all the right chords with your subscribers.

The Christmas countdown is one of the few periods during the year where consumers are opting IN to spending money, therefore are more likely to engage and act upon marketing and special promotions. This is where the quality of email marketing becomes critical to a rewarding Christmas for any self-respecting retailer.

We’ve written a detailed Christmas whitepaper with lots of ideas and suggestions to help you deliver personalized, live content which is engaging to each one of your subscribers. To help you build and send more, better email at this busy time, many of these suggestions also focus on reducing the build time by automating parts of your email content where possible.

Here’s a sneak peak of our top three quick wins:

Time-targeted images –

During the lead up to Christmas, delivery and stock information becomes ever important to the recipient and using time-targeted images ensures your content is always relevant and up to date. The rule builder within the Kickdynamic platform allows you to swap images based on a range of conditions such as time/date, device and weather. Once set, these rules are pulled into one Tag which is generated and easily added to your HTML. By implementing this quick win, you are eliminating the display of out of date content meaning that no matter when the email is opened, the customer will always have a positive experience. Offer expired?Too late for delivery in time for Christmas? Run out of stock? These messages can all be communicated and updated accordingly.

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Day parting –

Automatically display specific products and/or offers depending on the time the email is opened. These time targeted images can also be based on web sell-through or ‘trending’ data to always display content to openers at the time of day they are most likely to buy specific products. This is a great way to increase engagement as you serve images relevant to the context in which the email is opened. For example, in the morning show beauty gift sets, at lunchtime show food related/cooking products and in the evening show DVDs, entertainment or nightwear products.

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Instagram Inspiration –

Use your pre-approved inspirational social media content in your emails throughout December. As this is a medium which is frequently updated, it will always update within the email as new posts are posted. This is a great way at add some festive cheer and extra visuals to your emails. Using Kickdynamic, your live Instagram tag only has to be set up once and it will always show the latest content.

 

So why not take a look at our Christmas whitepaper covering more quick wins and some strategic suggestions to help make this Christmas season the merriest one yet for you and your customers…