Why Interactive Content Marketing will Usher in a New Breed of Email Personalization

email personalization header image

When looking at ways to increase customer engagement, companies are beginning to understand the importance that interactive content marketing has on email personalization.

With the help of new technologies and software, marketers are now able to harness the power of personalization across touchpoints, channels, and media.

First of all, personalization is all around us. From the suggested article we read on our morning commute to the series we watch before going to bed. Almost every touchpoint on the web is telling us what to read, watch or click on – based on our personal needs and interests.

Among the various personalization tactics, email personalization is one of the most sought-after. This article explains where email personalization is now and how the data-harnessing capabilities of interactive content marketing can help.

Why email personalization?

According to research by the Aberdeen Group, 96% of organizations believe that email personalization can improve email marketing performance. Here’s why:

1. Email marketing is here to stay

With so many new digital channels emerging every day, one might argue why people use email at all? Shouldn’t it have gone the way of the dinosaur?

Well, not quite.

In the US alone, more than 90% of adults use email, and surprisingly, millennials are not far behind. 73% of millennials prefer email because it’s “part of everyday life”, but it’s mobile first.

Furthermore, email is still a highly lucrative way of reaching and nurturing your audience. According to McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter, since the average office worker receives 121 emails every day. However, many of these emails are ignored, unopened or deleted.

By personalizing emails, marketers can make the message more relevant to the reader. Therefore, this will make it stand out in the inbox and attract more opens and clicks.

2. Higher open rates with email personalization

By having personalized subject lines, people are 26% more likely to open emails. Taking the time to include content that contains articles, offers, solutions or products that suit customers’ needs and cater to their pains is also a bonus for customers.

3. Lower unsubscribe rates

Sending personalized emails eliminates the number one reason why people unsubscribe from email lists: “content was irrelevant”. Untargeted emails equal missed opportunities. Besides, it’s better to send fewer but more targeted emails. Blasting out irrelevant content only annoys readers and prompts them to hit the dreaded “unsubscribe” button.

4. Improved deliverability

In terms of email deliverability, low open rates are a clear signal that your recipients are not engaged with you, your brand or your content. In fact, that lack of engagement is a factor in the delivery of future emails and can even lead to your campaigns being blocked. Making emails more relevant improves your open rate & CTR – in turn positively impacting your email deliverability.

5. More sales with email personalization

Higher relevance = more engagement = more sales. Using data of email recipients, marketers create segments based on needs, pains or preferences and then send segment-specific offers in emails. For example, a segment called, “Young Moms” might receive an email about 20% off select kids jackets. However, another segment called, “Men 18-25” might receive an offer on the latest sneakers.

According to Direct Marketing Association, marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns. Investing in email personalization can have huge payoffs. Furthermore, one technique definitely worth exploring is combining the email list growth and data-capturing capabilities of interactive content with email marketing.

How interactive content marketing empowers email personalization

Interactive content is content that actively involves audience participation with the objective of engaging, entertaining or educating them about a certain topic.  Typical forms of interactive content include quizzes, assessments, calculators, interactive videos, personality tests, product-suggesting tests, interactive e-books, interactive story-telling, and games.

Why interactive content?

The answer lies in the name itself – interactive. Designed to create a personal, immersive experience, interactive content goes beyond simply reading or watching content and requires audiences to choose preferences, answer questions, assess, vote, play or compete.

Formats like quizzes, personality tests, solution builders and calculators give the user valuable personalized feedback that is worth filling out a small lead form. First, the format takes the data from the form and combines it with the user’s current and future interactions to develop a rich customer profile. Then, marketers use these rich profiles to create segments and send highly personalized emails to their potential customers.

1. Grow email & leads lists

Lead-gen is not what it used to be 5 years ago. Back in the day, you’d create a decent-looking e-book or white paper, and the leads would fly in. But today, audiences have so much content to choose from – much of which is of sub-par quality.

Consequently, the perceived value of traditional content like e-books has decreased, which is why marketers are turning to new, alternative ways to generate leads – such as interactive content.

Interactive content is typically quick-to-consume forms of content that give the user a personalized experience or results. For example, imagine a basic personality quiz like, “What kind of marketer are you?” The user answers 7 fun questions and then sees his/her result, which is 1 of 4 possible marketing personality types.

Interactive Content Quiz

Example of a quiz that captures basic lead info before seeing results

How does it capture leads? It asks users to enter their name and email address before they can see their results. Fortunately, there are many ways to generate leads with interactive content, you can read all about them here.

2. Capture rich profile data

There are loads of ways to capture data about your potential customers. The most common of which are web forms that the user must fill in exchange for some premium content. This usually entails long lists of fields including things like name, email, phone number, company name, company size, role, etc.  Usually, this is contact information that people don’t enjoy filling out – resulting in unreliable data for the marketer.

On the other hand, interactive formats ask for less information in lead forms. Instead, they capture insights from what people answer in quiz questions, calculator responses or navigations in interactive videos. Within these answers, marketers find information about the individual’s needs, preferences or business challenges.

Using interactive content platforms like the ones on Dot, you can capture information about every interaction the user makes. These could be clicks on CTA buttons, content completion rates, answer to questions or data entry in web forms.

When users fill out an opt-in or lead-gen form on any of your interactive content, they become trackable contacts. Thereafter, all their past and future interactions with your content are logged under their contact profile.

The example below is from a fictitious company called, ‘Pace Learning’ which offers culinary courses to chefs and professional cooks.

how to capture rich data - email personalization

It illustrates how the potential customer – anonymous visitor 4034 – is engaged by an interactive content asset (in this case, a quiz contest) that converts him into a trackable Contact – John Smith. John then receives an email with additional interactive content (recipe lookbook) that reveals where his interests lie. Each content asset John interacts with paints a clearer picture of who he is, his interests and needs.

3. Create smart segments

Let’s look at the “What kind of marketer are you?” example one more time. The user answers 7 fun questions, fills out a short form (name and email) and then sees his/her result. The result is 1 of 4 possible marketing personality types. Instead of using an 8-field lead form, this quiz asks only for 2 pieces of information (name and email). Marketers take other key information from the user’s quiz answers. For example, what success means to the marketer, which software they are most familiar with, etc.

The 4 personality types are as follows: Creative Genius, Analytical Marketer, Social Media Wiz and Lead-Gen Machine. Based on their personality type, quiz takers are put into one of 4 segments in an email marketing platform (like MailChimp). Each user receives an email based on their personality type. In this way, the marketer can capture valuable information about each user, in a less-intrusive way and send personalized emails.

This example illustrates how to use Interactive Content to Automate Emails - using Dot.vu and MailChimp.

In this example, we use personality type as the factor for segmentation. You could also use answers to specific questions. An example of this is when the user fills out information about their current costs in your savings calculator.

Cost calculator used to generate data for email personalization

What you need to make it happen

  1. A clear strategy: Know what kind of interactive content would work for your audience and what kind of data you want to capture.
  2. Email marketing software (like MailChimp) or marketing automation software (like HubSpot)
  3. Interactive content marketing platform (like Dot.vu)

Where to go from here

Combine two technologies – interactive content marketing software and email marketing software to target individual needs. Use Interactive Content like quizzes, assessments, interactive videos or contests to capture leads and segmentation data. Then, automate targeted emails per segment. Request a free demo to see how Dot.vu can help you do this!


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