Level-up your Email Personalization Game with Dynamic Content

Guest Expert - Kevin George • Jul 23, 2020
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Salesforce has revealed that 84% of customers say that being treated as a person, not a number, is the key to winning their business. 

Companies like Fitbit, Grammarly, Amazon, Spotify, and Netflix have aced their email personalization game by using dynamic content that is personalized for every subscriber. 

There was a time when personalization was a privileged tactic followed exclusively by larger companies. However, with so many CRM tools available, personalization has become a best practice across all industries and sectors – without burning a hole in your pocket. This communication tactic is now widely spread across the nonprofit sector and is instrumental in increasing donations by up to 6x.

What Is Dynamic Content?

Web-based content that automatically modifies itself according to the data provided by the users, their preferences, and behaviors is known as dynamic content. If you are personalizing emails only with segmentation tactics and merge tags, dynamic content can take it to the next level and help you create tailormade emails specifically targeted to an individual subscriber. 

For example, not only can you send an email to Sarah. Using information already in your CRM Database, you can send an email out to Sarah, asking her how the weather is in [Location], how her work as [Title] at [Organization] is, and whether her latest campaign for [campaign name] raised the amount she was hoping for. Rather than spending hours doing this manually, this is something done automatically, letting you build deeper relationships in minutes. 

Tools like Vero, SendPulse, and GetResponse are some of the best tools that can help you send dynamic content in your emails. 

How Does It Help?

  1. With the help of dynamic content, you can customize the user experience beyond the first name and geographical location. You can send out relevant information pertaining to the causes they contribute to, suggestions on donation amounts, and types of campaigns they may contribute to next, considering these segmentation parameters.
    
  2. Dynamic content helps to bring better conversion rates with higher engagement. When compared to non-personalized email campaigns, personalized emails yield 29% higher unique open rates and 41% unique click rates. Therefore, 65% of marketing executives consider dynamic content  as the most effective tactic for personalization.
    
  3. To employ email personalization by conventional techniques, you have to create more segments. This can make the entire process more complicated and vulnerable to errors. On the other hand, dynamic content works by adding dynamic blocks in the emails that get modified according to the user data. You just need to create one custom email template converted from PSD to HTML Email that you will be able to easily configure with the help of these dynamic blocks. 

Types of Variables

Different services use different variables as listed below.

Subscriber Data Variables: Variables like email address, name, sex, subscriber ID, birth date, location, and date of the last order are some of the subscriber data variables that you can add to your dynamic content blocks. 

Sender Data Variables:

These variables are specifically used for the footer of the emails. Company name, address, phone number, and email address of the sender are included in this category.

Technical Data Variables:

There are two main technical variables: a web version and an unsubscribe link. While the former is used to include the email’s browser version, the latter adds an unsubscribe link in the footer.

3 Steps to Execute Dynamic Email Personalization

Step 1: Use contact merge tags

Placeholders that get replaced by the relevant value when the email is deployed are known as merge tags. By using merge tags, Hey [First_Name] will become Hey Kevin, adding an extra touch of familiarity for your constituent. This is an easy step in developing a lasting relationship with your donor database.

Take a look at this email by Hope for Justice. The donor’s name is automatically fetched to greet them.     

Step 2: Collect on-site data

Merge tags are generally used only for first-name personalization. If you want to hyper-personalize your emails with dynamic content, you can use software tools like Keela that are specific to nonprofit organizations. Using Keela’s forms across your website and donation pages will help you gather information about your supporters and automatically sync this back to your CRM database. The stored information on a contact’s profile can then be used in your communications strategy to better tailor your message.

According to this data, you will be able to target the subscribers with dynamic content and send out reminders to subscribers to contribute to the cause. You can even send personalized progress reports on the basis of the cause the subscriber has contributed to. 

Step 3: Fetch the information from your database

Elements you can personalize:

  1. Subject Line: MarketingDive has pointed out that a personalized subject line brings a 50% higher open rate. For personalizing your subject line with dynamic content, you just have to draft a subject line with a variable. As an example, you can use the geographical location, name, or any other relevant field that fits in your subject line.  
    
  2. Email Copy: Depending on your cause area and purpose of the email, you can add different dynamic elements in your email design. Just insert the variable where you want to display the dynamic text through the dynamic email tool you are using and you will be good to go. You even have the provision to add dynamically changing images, as shown in the email example below.
    
  3. Footer of the email: Tools like SendPulse come with the feature that allows the user to automatically add a footer to the email templates. This helps to ensure that the email complies with the CAN-SPAM Act that fights against spam emails. 

Mistakes to Avoid



  1. You must check the authenticity of the subscriber’s data before implementing dynamic content personalization in your emails. Make sure that the source of your contact information is reliable. It is advisable to have an “Update your information” link in your email so that supporters can change their information, if needed.
    
  2. Harris Interactive or Janrain survey has revealed that 60% people would provide their information happily if it was used for their benefit. It is of utmost importance that you collect contact information by an opt-in and conversion form or by sending an email that requests for the same. 
    
  3. In the quest of sending relevant emails, do not over personalize. You should not personalize everything in the first email itself, lest you come of as creepy. You must keep your communications subtle and build a relationship gradually. 

Using dynamic content has a huge scope in the world of nonprofit email marketing. The key to this is gathering maximum donor data and segmenting your list. Just follow these simple tips and you will be able to create a campaign that brings you better donor conversions and higher ROI.  

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About the author:

Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing PSD to HTML Email coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, custom Mailchimp email templates design and coding in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.