Four Tips for Retaining Personalisation in Email Campaigns (And How Scott’s Cheap Flights Did it While Sending 250,000 Emails Per Day)

Carl Taylor | April 29, 2019

Personalisation is such an important concept in modern marketing. Here’s how one company maintained the personal touch as their campaigns grew.

Email is one of the most effective digital marketing tools that you have at your disposal.

It allows you to directly contact prospects and create a more personal touch for your offers. It’s that focus on personalisation that’s so important to your campaigns.

Personalised emails are demonstrably more effective than general emails. They have a 14% higher click-through rate. Plus, they boost conversions by as much as 10%.

A personalised subject line can even boost open rates by up to 26%.

That’s all well and good when you’re operating small campaigns. But as your company scales, your email list could end up containing thousands of addresses.

It becomes a lot harder to inject the personal touch when you’re sending tens of thousands of emails every day. In fact, it can feel almost impossible.

But it isn’t. You can create bulk email campaigns that achieve personalisation. To prove it, let’s look at the story of Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Scott’s Cheap Flights – The Case Study

Scott’s Cheap Flights is a business with a simple goal. They collect information about flight prices and parse through it to find the cheapest flights. Then, they send that information to their subscriber list.

The draw of finding cheaper flights allowed the company to build an email list containing thousands of people.

And that’s where the problems started to arise.

The Challenges

Scott’s Cheap Flights operates both free and premium services. Naturally, they want to send different emails to each. Otherwise, customers would have no incentive to sign up to the paid version of the service.

That’s where they ran into their first challenge. Their email service provider didn’t give them the option to create email campaigns for each type of subscriber.

Beyond that, each subscriber also has personal preferences. They each have their own budgets and desired locations. Scott’s Cheap Flights also has to take the client’s location into account. There’s no use showing someone in Australia a cheap flight from the UK to the USA. They could never take advantage of it.

And they might unsubscribe if they keep receiving such useless information.

The company needed a way to send out bulk emails that offered personalisation based on all of these preferences.

The Solution

Taking advantage of conditional content was the key to the company’s success.

They used the ActiveCampaign CRM to create emails containing this content. However, there are other CRMs that can help you achieve the same.

Scott’s Cheap Flights generates revenue from ads in their emails. Those who subscribe to the premium service pay a fee so that they don’t have to see these ads. Using conditional content, the company only had to create a single email campaign.

Before, they had to create two campaigns – one for ads and one for ad-free emails.

Beyond that, the company used tags to ensure subscribers only got information about flights they’d have an interest in. For example, someone who wants to travel to Paris would get a tag. The email they received would then tell them about cheap flights to Paris.

These two strategies allowed the company to personalise its bulk email campaigns. Plus, they saved a lot of time they’d otherwise spend on creating duplicate campaigns.

The End Result

With these strategies in place, Scott’s Cheap Flights can send 250,000 personalised emails per day.

They have a more engaged audience because they’re providing more relevant content. According to founder Scott Keyes, this has enabled the company to continue its growth.

Tips for Creating Personalised Email Campaigns

Scott’s Cheap Flights shows us that you can achieve personalisation within a bulk email campaign. You just need the right tools.

Here are four tips that will help you create a personalised email campaign of your own.

Tip #1 – Create Conditional Content

This was the masterstroke that allowed Scott’s Cheap Flights to send hundreds of thousands of emails per day.

Also known as “dynamic content”, this is a type of content that only appears in a document if certain conditions are met.

Figure 1 –

In the case of our case study, the company had a simple condition. If someone was a free subscriber, the content they displayed showed ads. Premium subscribers had these ads eliminated.

It works using the IF/ELSE functionality that’s common in coding:

IF <condition> gets met, THEN display X,

ELSE display Y.

You can make this as simple or as complex as you like. In fact, you can create conditions based on a host of different fields. It all depends on the campaign that you want to create.

Automation Agency can help you to create an email campaign that leverages conditional content. Just send a task to us and we’ll help you to use this powerful tool.

Tip #2 – Personalise Imagery Too

This is another area where conditional content comes into play.

Imagine that you run a similar business to Scott’s Cheap Flights. Each of your customers has a desired destination that they want to hear about.

You could send emails that contain images of those destinations.

Virgin did this to great effect with one of their email campaigns. They had subscribers in the UK, USA, and Australia. To ensure they received personalised emails, they created a set of images for each market.

Here’s an example of what they sent to people in Australia:

Figure 2 –

This simple change boosted Virgin’s click-through rates by 29%.

There are all sorts of data types that you can use to determine which images you send to recipients. These include gender, personal interests, and even interest in specific products.

Take advantage of this to create even more attractive emails. You can use imagery to appeal directly to something that the recipient has an interest in. That means they’re more likely to click through to whatever offer you attach to the email.

Tip #3 – Leverage the Data That You Collect

Data is the key to personalising your email campaigns.

You’ll need a suitable CRM for the task, such as ActiveCampaign or Ontraport. A good CRM offers you the flexibility to collect whatever data you need from leads. You can then use that data to create categories. From there, you can build email campaigns around those categories.

Simply put, the more data you can collect about a lead, the more personalised you can make your emails to that lead.

It’s a good idea to collect data at every touchpoint in the customer journey. Focus specifically on data that others don’t collect.

For example, every company collects the name and email address of a lead. You could consider collecting their birth date as well. This gives you more data to leverage. It allows you to send out a targeted email on the lead’s birthday with a special offer.

In fact, you could build an entire “Birthday Gift” automation using this single piece of data. Automation Agency can help with this if you send us a ticket.

You can also collect data about preferred social channels or product types. All of this helps you to further mold emails to suit the lead/customer’s preferences.

The key here is that you collect the data over multiple touchpoints. Trying to collect too much data at once could put people off from filling out your forms.

Tip #4 – Integrate Custom Audiences into Your CRM

Your CRM isn’t the only place where you’ll collect data about your customers. Your social media campaigns and your website offer you a treasure trove of information. You can use this data to figure out common patterns that your audience displays.

For example, you may have a large segment of people who check a particular product on your website. You could use this data to create a personalised email campaign that targets those people with that product.

However, you miss out on all of that if you’re not integrating information from other sources into your CRM.

Automation Agency can help here as well. We can set up site tracking that pulls important data from your website and sends it to your CRM. We may also be able to integrate data from Facebook and other social media platforms into your CRM.

Just send us a task and we’ll help in any way we can.

The Final Word

Scott’s Cheap Flights had a huge challenge in front of them.

With some clever strategies, they created huge email campaigns that retained the personal touch.

The use of conditional content had a huge benefit for them. You can build on this strategy by also displaying conditional images to your subscribers. Collecting and leveraging more data gives your campaigns increased flexibility.

Automation Agency can help with all of this and so much more. Just send a task to get started.

And if you haven’t signed up to our concierge service yet, have a chat with our Right Fit Chatbot. You’ll find out if we’re a good fit for your business.

About the author 

Carl Taylor

Carl Taylor is the Founder & CEO of Automation Agency. For the past 10 years Carl has been building businesses and marketing them online through the use of Sales Funnels, Email Marketing Automation, Landing Pages, and Wordpress Websites. Carl is also a #1 author and highly sought after speaker and consultant whose work has impacted thousands of businesses across various industries worldwide.

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