On Your Mark, Get Set, Create! Develop and Deploy Personalized Emails in Record Time


Sending email takes a surprisingly long time.

While it may only take 8-10 hours to write, design, and code marketing emails, this effort is just one piece of a larger—and more time-consuming—process. Then the email has to be inspected, tested, edited or reworked, staged, and deployed. All of this can result in a single email taking up to 15 production days from the initial request (if not longer).

What is not surprising is that marketers may be reluctant to add more steps to the process. For example, we all know we should personalize more email, but many marketers may resist. You can almost hear them protest, “Who has time to implement personalization tools when our production cycles are already too long?”

Yet it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, adding open-time email personalization can actually accelerate production cycles and save time for all employees involved in the process.

Examine current production processes

Yet before how we explain how this is possible, we recommend you assess your current production process to see how it can be streamlined. For example, do you know where bottlenecks occur? Could you use more resources? Do you need to adjust your process? Or do you need an entirely new approach?

Evaluating your internal process is important to make sure it supports your desired level of output and doesn’t restrict it. Also, to maximize scalability and throughput, your production process should make sure employees are used in the highest value, most-effective way.

  • Marketers should spend their time marketing, not attempting to code or design an email. They should merchandise the email by adhering to brand standards and making sure all assets meet the goal of the campaign.
  • Similarly, developers should be doing higher-value work than coding emails. If you think about it, you shouldn’t need a developer for every email campaign. Instead, you can set up templates and free developers to focus on more strategic work.
  • Designers should not be laying out the entire email, each and every time. Again, use of templates should only require them to deliver specific assets to fit within them, which saves a lot of time.
  • If possible, take data analysts out of the equation. Set up dashboards or queries and do all you can to optimize your data, so you don’t have to pull a unique report for every email send.

Once your email marketing team is streamlined and the team is functioning at its highest level, you can move on to perfecting and scaling other parts of the process.

The building blocks of personalization data

This brings us back to the original question: “How can marketers be expected to personalize when data integration takes too long?”

Integrating or even accessing the right data can be challenging. Yet there are four building blocks of data that are accessible and can be used for personalization:

  • Preference data:This is information subscribers provide to you, including names, demographic information, and various preferences (sports, outdoors, shopping, etc.
  • Behavioral data:This is data we get from a consumer’s interaction with your site or mobile app. Specific product clicks, cart abandonment, time on the site and more are all examples of this.
  • Open-time data:This is information that every marketer has access to as their recipient opens the email. Open-time data can include time of day, weather, where someone is located, and more. Additionally, you can use this to provide personalize for everyone on your email on your list.
  • Live business context data:This is data associated with your business that changes over time, such as product prices, inventory, or points in a loyalty program.

Open-time personalization in action

There are ways to personalize without having access to all your customer data, using open-time personalization, which allows you to tailor the message at the moment of open, utilizing conditions around location, device, weather, and time.

For example, you can use a recipient’s location to show a map to the store that is closest to them or use the weather to personalize the image they receive—will they need an umbrella or sunglasses today?

You can also target consumers using the time that they open the emails, a tactic that is great for expiring deals or promoting events. Chico’s used Liveclicker’s RealTime Email platform to create a “3 Deals in 1 Day” email. The Chico’s team developed a single email that rotated three different promotions based on the time of day. Their subscribers were highly engaged and re-opened the same email several times per day, leading to conversion rates that were two times higher than previous campaigns.

Get creative with content creation

When it comes to saving time, saving money, and generating better marketing results, it’s time to rethink content creation processes, especially if you’re building every email from scratch. Keep in mind that the actual cost of email creation can be as high as thousands of dollars for each email.

Instead, marketers can save time and money by switching to templates or email modules. For example, a stensul client, GrubHub, was able to reduce email creation timelines by 97 percent and save 100 percent of QA hours.

When it comes to personalization, it’s possible to use data to automate the content creation process and save more time. Marketing teams can pull past behavior data into email to give customers a personalized snapshot of their relationship with the brand or use content that personalizes at the moment of open, such as store maps or shipment tracking.

Using personalization can help marketers provide a more engaging customer experience. While it may seem intimidating—and like it could add more time to the process—rethinking current production approaches and using real-time personalization strategies can help any marketing team save time and achieve better marketing results.

Interested in learning more? Watch the stensul-Liveclicker webinar, “On Your Mark, Get Set, Create! Personalized Emails in Record Time” now.


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