Mastering Personalized Email Campaigns in a Cookieless World

Personalization is still very much alive, all one has to do is embrace first-party data.

Mastering Personalized Email Campaigns in a Cookieless World
Katie Metz // Adriana Lacy Consulting

When it comes to nurturing relationships and bringing in leads, email marketing used to do all the heavy lifting. Lately, it seems things are taking a strange turn as subject lines don’t get the clicks they used to and timed offers often seem to miss the mark. The culprit for the wayward marketing results is the change in third-party cookies.

For those unfamiliar with cookies, third-party cookies are bits of code that track your online browsing habits, which companies then use to personalize their email marketing. Now that third-party cookies are on their way out, due to concerns about web privacy, this development is throwing off email marketing and personalization for many companies. However, personalization is still very much alive, all one has to do is embrace first-party data.

First Party Data Is Your New Best Friend

For those wondering what first-party data is, it’s the information your customers willingly share with you, such as sign-up forms, purchase history, past email interactions, and even your website analytics. By analyzing the information first-party data provides, you can learn buying habits, preferences, and the interests of your audience. When customers make a purchase or sign up for your newsletter, they leave behind a treasure trove of information such as purchase history, location, and age. 

Website behavior provides so many clues as to what your subscribers and customers want. Website analytics tools help you identify user interests by providing insight into clicks, time spent on specific content, and page views. Once you have a complete picture of your customer’s journey and interests, you can integrate your email marketing platform with your CRM. This gives you a holistic view of customer interactions, from support tickets and past purchases, allowing you to craft even more personalized messages.

Personalization Strategies for Winning Campaigns

Sometimes generic emails become boring for both parties and one way to prevent that boredom is to insert personalized product recommendations, abandoned cart reminders, or even birthday offers into the email. Imagine a subscriber’s or customer’s delight after receiving an email offering a special discount on their birthday. Remember where we talked about sending targeted emails about cat toys to those who own cats? It’s time to put that user data into action by crafting content and offers relevant to the specific needs and interests of that segment. This can be sending foodies recipes and discount codes for cookware while sending personalized workout tips and deals on new sports apparel to those into fitness.

What About Abandoned Carts?

Abandoned carts are a pain point for any marketer, but there is a way to send those abandoned items to their new home. It helps to remind customers about abandoned carts, along with discount offers and personalized product recommendations, and automated emails are a great way to do this. Used properly, it’s like a gentle nudge, but ensure that you don’t spam your customers. Oftentimes, an automated email is just the push they need to complete their purchase and bring that item home.

Let’s Take a Look at Zero-Party Data

Zero-party data is information that customers explicitly provide about their interests and preferences, handing you the key to their marketing desires. Some ideas you can use for zero-party data include an area where subscribers and customers can update their interest and products they want to learn more about, empowering them to control the content they want. Interactive content such as quizzes and polls, such as a workout style quiz that reveals someone’s fitness preferences. There’s also exclusive free content, such as webinars, discounts, or white papers, which you can use to gain information such as areas of interest or email addresses.

Personalization Still Reigns Supreme

By focusing on the tactics listed above, you can still personalize your email marketing efforts without third-party cookies. The primary thing to remember is that the key is to ethically collect first-party data and build trust with your subscribers and customers in exchange for the information they’ll provide. Think of it like making a new friend; you wouldn’t bombard them with generic messages, you’d learn their interests, share relevant details, and show them that you see them as an individual.

Just remember that personalization isn’t just about fancy features, but building genuine connections with your subscribers. You can do this through storytelling, humor, and helpful content to create emails that your audience will enjoy reading. Don’t be afraid to experiment either; test different email formats, subject lines, and personalized content to determine what works best.

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