Personalisation is not just about addressing the client

22 August, 2016 Personalisation

We often talk about the importance of personalisation, but few people can say what should be personalised and how This often leads to the idea that personalisation is simply the way of addressing the recipient. In reality, the means of address is only its simplest and least effective form.

We have discussed issues of personalisation and how far should it go previously on this blog. We looked at personalised signatures, dynamic content and even the trivial question of how to address the recipient. Of course the ideal approach is to combine several methods of personalisation, so that the recipient knows that you treat him or her with adequate care and considers your message a beneficial service. Today, we are going to look at some oft-neglected aspects of personalisation, namely the question of the sender’s name.

Whether you are running a B2B or a B2C business, there are multiple ways of using the sender’s name to personalise your message. Wholesalers commonly assign their dealers to different traders, banks and insurance companies allocate branch representatives to different clients, telecommunication operators distribute customer service and so on.

As usual, there are different ways of personalising the sender. The most common is to segment recipients manually according to the sender, creating individual lists of recipients and then producing campaigns for each segment specifically, assigning each campaign a separate sender. This is obviously a possibility, but once you have more than 3-5 lists and campaigns, the process becomes very time-consuming and error-prone. This solution can of course be applied to any tool, professional or not.

Another option is to use dynamic segmentation following specific indicators in the recipient list and subsequently prepare several campaigns for these individual segments, where each campaign has a different sender and uses a different part of the dynamic segment. This method can save a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on dividing lists into sublists and on their maintenance, because a segment is condition-specific for each campaign. The disadvantage of this method is that if a new segment is created, for example when hiring a new representative, we must define a new campaign, a new segment and often also adjust the segmentation of current campaigns. Of course if more segmentation is needed, we have to adjust the rules of all campaigns and this too is time-consuming and error-prone. This method requires less preparation time, but remains relatively laborious and unsuitable for fully automated campaigns. In addition, it can usually only be used with advanced tools, which allow for the dynamic segmentation of recipients.

The last and of course most effective method is the fully automated personalisation of the sender’s name based on information from the recipient list. This method uses a single recipient list and a single campaign with a variable sender. If the recipient segment we are addressing is limited (e.g. according to gender, the most recent purchase date and so on), the segmentation rule is obviously only created once, minimizing the risk of error. The time needed to prepare and maintain such campaigns is therefore minimal and campaigns can be fully automated. This possibility is only offered by the most advanced marketing tools and Mailkit is no exception. Now, let’s have a look at how to prepare a campaign with a personalised sender’s name.

Preparing the recipient list

The first prerequisite is to correctly prepare the list of recipients, where each recipient data will include the name of the sender and, if applicable, a reply-to address. We will illustrate this by importing the recipients from an XLS file, but we of course recommend that recipients lists are updated automatically from data sources.

The image shows that when importing data, we choose to pair the recipient’s name with the field FULL NAME, his email into EMAIL, the name of the sender into CUSTOM 25 and the sender’s email into REPLY TO. This minimal setting is of course only intended for the purposes of this demonstration and the field with the sender’s name can be associated with any CUSTOM field as required. However, the reply address, if it should be used, must be paired with REPLY TO.

In the next step we will prepare a sending address personalised for our campaign(s). We can add it in Profile, just like any other sending address, only by inserting a personalisation tag into the name of the sender.

In this case, we used the format “Company XYZ - [CUSTOM25]” for the sender, because we would like for the sender to be identified in the email by his company name plus his own name and we know, that we have imported the name into the OWN 25 (CUSTOM25) field. The name can of course include multiple variables from our data about the recipient, or even variables transferred from API calls. A campaign sent from this sending address will then reach each recipient with a different sender and different return address. Joe Baker will receive a message from “Company XYZ - Adriana Nova” from the address and, if he responds to the message, he will be replying to

Once you have set up personalisation of the sender in this way, carrying out a campaign -- manual or automatic, targeting all recipients or using dynamic segments -- becomes a piece of cake, requiring the use of a single list. What form of sender you choose and how much personalised data you will include in the name is of course completely up to you. If you are looking for help in setting up your campaigns or would like to consult us, do not hesitate getting in touch.