Personalising emails using dynamic content – Enabler

Email marketing has undergone some fairly dramatic changes in the past 10 years, both from a strategic and technical point of view. Gone are the days of bulk emails to the entire database that include generic product batches, which are as inspiring as a “one size fits all” sticker on a piece of clothing. One of the driving forces behind this change is that it is now generally accepted by marketers that segmenting and personalizing email campaigns are the ways to increase ROI, brand awareness, and loyalty.

So how do we make sure that every email we send is tailored to the personal needs of our customers? We believe that there are three things that must be in place to achieve this:

  • know your customers Without understanding your customers, how do you expect to give them relevant content? How do you determine what is right for them?

  • data How to implement the right email strategy without the right data?

Knowing your customers

Your customer knowledge can come from existing databases looking at data collected from past customer activity (ie through forms, surveys or events), or it can be gathered from customer email behavior (slots, clicks, and opt-outs). However, even if you’re starting from scratch, there are ways you can build an image for your customers.

When it comes to using your customer knowledge to create effective email campaigns, we highly recommend a people-led approach, where you create profiles that describe a specific group of your target audience based on their common interests. Gathering these valuable pieces of customer information, such as challenges, goals, needs, troubles, and responsibilities, will help you create aCharacter ProfileWhich you can use to customize your marketing so that you provide a personalized and valuable service. This information goes beyond normal demographic data and provides a true view of the customer’s life. If you want to improve your understanding of your customers, check out one of Pancentric Digital’s Design Thinking Workshops.


Having the data that enables you to achieve your customer personalization goals is essential. For tips on how to obtain the data click here. If you want more information on how best to retain your existing customers, try this option out. Whatever you decide to put your data in the right place, we’ll assume you’ve done a great job of it, and skip that part everyone has been waiting for… ‘How do I turn my data into relevant, personalized emails for my customers?’.

Dynamic or “conditional” content allows you to use customer data to create a single email that displays different, unique content for each individual email recipient based on their customer data. As a marketer, you set pre-defined rules based on your customer data, so that the customer only sees email content that matches theirs. Without that, you’d either have to create multiple emails with every possible variation of content based on customer profile data (which is messy and time consuming) or mass email everyone with a single message (which is not ad hoc and much less efficient).

Seems a bit abstract, doesn’t it? So let’s take a look at a live example coming to us from the insurance industry. Full transparency here, the example we’re going to show you is an Enabler client, but they use dynamic content in exactly the right way, so it’s the perfect example of how to use dynamic content. The company in question is Petplan, and we’ll take you through some examples of how they’ve successfully used conditional dynamic content in automated bidding and buying email campaigns.

Below you will see an example of a PetPlan email with items from the conditional code contained within the template. At first glance, it looks like a fairly messy basic model, however I’ll show you how ingenious this model really is.

– Email template with dynamic conditional content in place –

Everywhere you see {conditional: xxx} , is a section of the email that will change based on which client the message is being sent to. This means that once that email is uploaded into Enabler, all of these sections will look completely different and most importantly they will be 100% customized to each individual customer. Conditional elements can consist of a text copy, images, or a combination of the two.

Second, wherever you see {Receient_x_number} , this part of the email will also change to include personal details about the customer. This can be anything from their policy ID number to their name (or in the case of PetPlan, the pet’s name).

Now let’s take a look at what that customer email would look like. (For the purposes of this, we have created a dummy client within the Petplan system.)

– Email form with customer data that controls dynamic content –

As you can see, this looks like a completely different email. You will notice that images and transcripts have spread to all areas of the email, causing the look and content of the email to change.

Let’s go through the different elements that change based on the dynamic conditional content set up within Enabler’s backend system:

  • Pictures – Co-branded logo, pet image, circle and plan details all change based on customer information.

  • copy There are plenty of examples of this to refer to each of them, but everything from the pet’s name, to whether the sentence says “need” or “needs” changes based on customer information.

  • cover section – This entire section changes based on the plan chosen by the customer. In this example, I didn’t choose a plan, so I see all the options. However, let’s say I choose the Covered For Life® 12k option, it will look more like this:

The best part about conditional content in Enabler is that you have a backup option. This means that if for some reason all the data about the customer is not preserved, (eg they are not sure what plan the customer has chosen as in the example above) they will see a default view. This can be chosen carefully depending on what next step we want the customer to take.

Benefits of using dynamic content

Aside from the huge time saving benefits from an email publishing perspective, this style of email setup will also save time in the future. Imagine that you set up one form for each different type of customer. Not only will you waste time creating and testing all those emails, but when it comes to updating them, you will also waste a lot of time. Even if you only have one line to change in each email, you may have to do it more than thirty times. In these conditional templates, you can make the change once, and then you can create group tests from a single template. Likewise, if you need to add something new to your emails, you do it all at once, not across a large number of templates.

Petplan is truly at the forefront of creating dynamic templates, both from a strategic perspective and from a construction standpoint that puts their customers first. From an agency standpoint, that’s something we love to see, and the templates are a lot of fun (for an email nerd anyway) to put them together.

However you choose to do your own conditional content, make sure your data is in place, that you have a great ESP solution, and that you fully understand your customers before you start building.

If you are interested in following in Petplan’s footsteps and bringing your email campaigns into the future but your current ESP is not providing the necessary functionality, why not go to Empowerment.

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