Email marketing and marketing personas: a two-way street
Email marketing and marketing personas should be used to develop and improve each other.
Personalisation was a must in email marketing 10 years ago, but the data available now has taken that to a whole new level. This information can be used to refine your marketing personas. Meanwhile, marketing personas can help to personalise emails even when, as security measures increase, you may have limited information about your email recipients. The two go hand in and hand and should be used to update and refine each other.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing remains one of the most popular forms of outbound marketing with 89% of marketers using this as their primary lead generation channel. It involves reaching out to prospects and customers directly and personally, nurturing them through the sales funnel and encouraging them to take action.
The most efficient email marketing uses a marketing automation platform, which enables you to test emails in advance and set them to go out at specific times. You can then send follow up emails based on the recipient’s actions. Using this you can monitor open and click-through rates, test to see what is most effective with your audience and move contacts from opportunities to customers.
Mailing lists should be segmented so that different emails and follow ups can be sent to target groups. You can segment into prospects, customers and ex-customers, using different subject lines, content and calls to action for each group. A highly effective way to segment your mailing list is into different personas, enabling more personalised messages and more successful email marketing.
What are marketing personas?
Personalisation has been a buzzword in marketing for many years now, but are marketers actually using it effectively? Your mailing list could be 200 people or 200,000. Either way, you’re not going to have time to write a separate, personal email to each one. This is where marketing automation and personas come into play.
Marketing personas are a way to segment your audience, in this case your mailing list, into groups with similar backgrounds, interests, goals and pain points. In B2B, these will be in line with each organisation’s goals and their own professional targets. Personas are an idealised version of a customer. You should create one to represent each segment or type of stakeholder.
Each persona will be targeted in a different way depending on their role, goals and preferences. For example, an experienced, but time-poor manager may need content provided in a way that is quick and easy to consume and provides them with just the information they need to know. A new buyer, on the other hand, will want to learn as much as possible and invest time in getting to know products and their applications, taking more time with their decisions as they have less experience. It is a marketer’s job to research and get to know their personas and create content that aligns with what these different personas will respond to best and their different customer journeys.
How can marketing personas improve email marketing?
First and foremost, your mailing lists should be segmented and grouped into the personas that best represent each group of stakeholders you target. The more detailed and up to date your persona research, the more effectively your emails can target your personas.
Personalisation can range from the basic use of someone’s name, through to using your app to identify where they are and sending marketing emails with deals when they are in an ideal location. For example, a builders merchant could encourage members to download their app and give permission for it to access the device’s location. They can then use geographical information systems to identify when app users are near a supply depot and automatically send out marketing emails with time limited offers. On the other hand, very simple personalisation can also be extremely effective - a personalised email line can increase open rates by 26%.
When it comes to personalisation, personas can make the process far more efficient, so too can marketing automation. By segmenting your mailing list by persona and then using marketing automation with specific emails for each segment, you can nurture customers and potential customers through your sales funnel with emails triggered by certain actions, such as not opening the first email, visiting the website or signing up for a whitepaper.
The persona allows you to focus on their specific challenge and solve it for them, or at a different part of the sales funnel, demonstrate how you can help them achieve their goal.
How can marketing emails help refine marketing personas?
Taking the time to segment your mailing list into personas may result in you discovering that there are people in your mailing list who do not fit into any of the categories you’ve created.
Fear not. This is a valuable discovery as it tells you one of two things. Either your mailing list needs to be refined, as there are contacts who are no longer relevant, or you have customers who don’t fit into any of the personas you have already and it’s time to create a new persona.
Responses to different key messages, timed emails and subject lines, to name just a few, will provide you with data on your personas and what this type of customer will respond to best. In the age of analytics, it would be foolish to miss out on all the metrics you can monitor with marketing automation solutions.
For example, a certain persona may be more likely to commute by train and view their emails first thing in the morning while travelling, while someone who works from home with children may have specific windows in their day for reading emails. These two personas should be treated differently based on when they open their emails, how much time they dedicate to reading them, and whether they are likely to read them on their phone, laptop, tablet or wearable technology.
By using a marketing automation solution, you can gather and analyse data on everything from what time your audience opens their emails to which links get the most clicks. This data, in combination with how many people convert to leads and the ROI of your campaign, can then be used to aid the next campaign, including refining your personas to develop a more targeted marketing strategy.
Get in touch to learn how we can help you to refine your marketing personas and use emails, via marketing automation, to create and implement an effective marketing strategy.