Jill Grozalsky
Jill Grozalsky 4 April 2017

Overcoming The Nurturing Hurdle

As marketers are continuing to adopt a data-driven mindset, they are better positioned to make smarter marketing decisions, yet there are new digital hurdles to overcome - nurturing users via personalization being at the top of the list.

I recently read an article from Marketing Charts about the effectiveness and difficulty levels of various personalization tactics, which highlighted the fact that a large percent of marketers (47% to be exact*) believe that email message personalization is the most effective data-driven personalization strategy. Marketers believe that personalized emails improve email interaction, so it seems like if marketers want to nurture users, then personalized email is the next hurdle they are running towards.

With that being said, 72% of marketers still say they don’t know how to start building a tailored conversation with their audience segments**. So while marketers may have overcome the data-driven strategies hurdle, the track is long and there seem to be more and more hurdles popping up as digital transformation and customer-centricity continue to shape strategic priorities across organizations.

Putting these two stats together regarding email and personalization, it becomes clear that there is a need for more information around getting started with email personalization and segmentation which is they key to successful nurturing. There is good news though, and it is two-fold: 1. I think I can help, and 2. There is overlap in the “getting started” process for personalized conversations so some of these can be used for email, site personalization, social, etc. I will also note that this is not a comprehensive list, because then this would be a white paper and not a LinkedIn blog post.

Ok, now onto the good stuff.

  • Conduct User Research: This may seem like a no brainer, but I would get called out if I didn’t include this here. To be frank, If you don’t know who you are talking to and what they need then you will just continue down a path of blast emails where you are basically wasting time and money. In addition to knowing the key characteristics and demographics of your target audience, defining the user journey they move through is key to defining the touch points where email marketing (or any outbound communication) will be most effective.
  • Perform a Needs Analysis: Once you know your users, perform a Needs Analysis to understand what users need at various touch points and what their expectations are regarding information. What this will allow you to do is determine what messaging and content you should be proactively sharing and where you should point users on your site so that you are getting more email engagement
  • Let the Segmentation Begin: Whether you start segmenting email recipients based on location, lack of email clicks or content/CTA clicked in the email, any level of segmentation is better than none. Some simple segmentation strategies at this point will help marketers continue to proactively reach out to users and begin leveraging trigger emails, which studies have shown have high response rates. Not for nothing, these basic segmentation strategies will provide insights for future, more robust segmentation strategies (which should be on your roadmap somewhere) because learnings from email segmentation will greatly influence the success of your broader personalization strategies.
  • Analyze and Iterate: This probably goes without saying but in order to evolve email and nurture strategies, it is important to have appropriate tracking in place to understand how emails are performing. Make sure to think beyond the open rate and to report on metrics that focus more on effectiveness and provide useful user information. 

Side Note: There’s also a whole world of testing that can be applied as well for deeper insights, but that’s a post for another day.

*Data from Ascend2
**Data from Hubspot


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