How to overcome the biggest challenges in personalized email marketing

Olivia De Beukelaer
July 25, 2018

The opportunity in personalized email marketing is massive, but the payoff depends heavily on the quality of your email marketing strategy. You can’t just do it; you have to do it well. Here’s why:

Today, marketers are reporting an average ROI of 3800% — a $38 return on every dollar spent — from email marketing. That’s an impressive number, of course, but don’t let it fool you.

In reality, the top 20% of companies whose email marketing strategies are working best are reporting an ROI of 7000%. (That’s nearly twice the reported average.) Meanwhile, the bottom 20% of businesses – those whose strategies are performing the worst — are only making a $5 return on each dollar invested. This means that the businesses with the strongest email marketing strategies are making $65 more for every dollar spent than those whose email marketing strategies are falling flat.What do your B2B buyers want? Discover it here.

Don’t miss out on potential revenue. Here are a few of the biggest hurdles in personalized email marketing today (and tips on how to overcome them):

1. Poor content quality

The content of your marketing emails is critical to their success. Research reveals that 47% of users open an email based on the subject line, but that doesn’t mean your work stops there.

The content in the body of your email will be what drives your customer to click through. In B2B, email click-through rates (CTR) are 47% higher than those in B2C, which means there is a bigger opportunity to engage with customers who want to interact with your business. This also means you’re squandering that opportunity if your content isn’t doing its job.

This is an important task to master, yet, 41% of marketers today still struggle to create compelling content for their campaigns. To make matters even tougher, B2B marketers must also take long buying cycles into account when engaging their customer base via email. This translates to more emails, and thus, more content.

Here’s a quick tip: for the best quality emails, scan each piece of content and make sure it checks all these boxes:

Sana - Quality Content Checklist

Marketers need to find ways to improve the quality of their email content sooner rather than later, and hopefully, these tips make a good starting point for improvement. The volume of emails you send out won’t make a difference to your customers if the content remains uncompelling.

2. Ineffective personalization strategies

Every business understands the importance of personalization in email marketing. But, according to Salesforce, “personalized email marketing is still misunderstood — and in many cases, not even used — in both B2B and B2C marketing.”

In fact, according to their 2017 State of Marketing Report, 51% of marketers still send the same email to everyone on their subscriber lists, and only 29% report that their email messages evolve based on their customers’ behavior.

This is worrisome, not only because of the significant ROI that’s at risk, but also because not personalizing your email marketing drives away more than half your audience. That’s right — over half. According to Active Trail, 52% of customers who receive generic or non-personalized emails from a company would choose to do business with a different brand based on that reason alone.

Unfortunately, the majority of marketers feel that the industry is not currently getting personalized email marketing right, and 23% attribute that directly to an inability to successfully leverage customer data to create more relevant experiences. Read on to dive deeper into this issue.

3. Data challenges

More than half of marketers believe that their organization “often fails to deliver the personalization customers crave.” Why?

Many marketers believe it’s a technology problem: legacy systems are still holding organizations back, and newer technologies are not being properly used to maximize personalization strategies. Another 55% believe they don’t have the data and insights needed for effective personalization at all. Those businesses who do, however, are simply mismanaging that data so badly that they’re unable to leverage it when needed.

Business2Community reports that 69% of businesses have customer and visitor data stored across 3 or more systems. Seventy-three percent have less than half of their channels connected, making it impossible to have an accurate single-view of their customers. Further complicating the data issue, businesses on average are also incorrectly categorizing 28% of users who visit their website without logging into an account (Forbes).

These businesses could benefit from an e-commerce solution like Sana’s: we ensure your ERP is the single source of truth for all your data, and pull it into your web store in real-time. This data then powers your e-commerce experience, ensuring that your personalization efforts are always accurate and relevant. Read more about our integrated approach here.

Don’t miss the opportunity in personalization

Today, personalized emails yield 29% higher open rates and 41% higher click-through rates than emails that aren’t personalized (Active Trail).

The definitive guide to the personalized B2B customer journey