For decades, the most important metric in email marketing has also been the simplest to measure: did your message get opened or not? And while open rate is still important, Apple’s recent Mail Privacy Protection update threw a wrench into many marketers’ main measure of success.

Today, opens aren’t necessarily the end-all-be-all of email marketing. Adding valuable personalization elements to your messages through the power of strategically placed first-party data insights not only enhances your customer experience, but can create the kind of 1:1 conversation that turns first-time subscribers into long-term loyal buyers.

Here are a few tips for using first-party data to move beyond open rate and other legacy email marketing mindsets and make your messages more impactful. 

e-Receipts: a rich source of info to make your messages more impactful

When it comes to collecting and using customer-provided insights to your advantage, many businesses ignore a rich source of first-party data: the humble e-Receipt. Sent via email or SMS messaging, an e-Receipt provides a wealth of information for any brand looking to learn more about its customers — while also adding tremendous value to every shopper’s retail experience.

messages more impactful

The e-Receipt is opt-in, so it’s a piece of messaging businesses can be sure customers want. Beyond that, e-Receipts provide easy-to-access proof of purchase, warranty, and loyalty program information.

But what about your benefits? On the brand side, an e-Receipt can give insight into consumer preferences while also driving clicks, engagement, and conversions by including links to satisfaction surveys and information about rewards programs — opening the door for greater personalization and an opportunity to build the foundation for brand loyalty and more meaningful audience relationships. 

Make sure your messages are focused on value

Though much of the conversation around email marketing focuses on results — clicks, conversions, ROI, and growing revenue — email is, first and foremost, a way to establish a connection between your brand and like-minded buyers.

A large (if often overlooked) part of building that trust lies in value-driven messaging, a.k.a. those moments when you let your audience know what they stand for as a company. Many times, value-driven messaging can make just as big of an impact as promotion-driven emails focused on eliciting a response from readers.

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In fact, the 2021 Retail Personalization Index Consumer Survey found that two-thirds of retail buyers believe a brand’s ethics and values are important in deciding where they choose to shop.

Don’t forget about fun

When a customer subscribes to your email list or opts-in to receive e-Receipts, that’s a pretty good sign that they’re looking to engage! Capitalize on the fact that your brand is top-of-mind by using its initial welcome email to simultaneously open a line of communication, drive engagement, and gather first-party data for future personalization.

One of the best ways to do all three of these things at once, while also adding a dash of fun to your messaging, is to add an interactive element — a quiz, poll, or click-to-reveal surprise offer for example — and increase your odds of getting a positive response in return.

But make sure these interactive emails don’t read like some boring product survey. For example, clothing retailer Hot Topic came up with an ingenious way to gather first-party data for greater personalization by incorporating a survey into its email series asking customers which Harry Potter House they belonged to.

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That simple question, which many customers were happy to answer, allowed Hot Topic to segment each subsequent Harry Potter product-related send based on this customer preference data. Making it possible to display merchandise images that matched customers’ favorite house’s colors, logos, and crests. As a result, open rates jumped 260% and CTR increased by 300% over the course of the promotion!

Let fans lead the conversation to make your messages more impactful

Nobody is a better salesperson than a satisfied customer. And social media, in particular, has long been a place where users can look to peers for product recommendations and real-life testimonials for how purchases stack up outside catalogs and marketing promotions.

As more and more consumers look to ecommerce as their preferred way to shop, user-generated reviews, testimonials, and product ratings matter more than ever. After all, they’ve turned Amazon into the world’s top ecommerce seller…

And since audiences are looking for user-generated content from like-minded shoppers to make their purchase decision, why not serve it to them directly inside their inbox?

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Personalization based on first-party data like purchase history, website behavior, clicks, and conversions is one of the most important things a brand can do for driving revenue growth. But by adding user-generated content in order to provide some context for those personalized product recommendations, you give each email recipient the savvy nudge they need to complete their transaction.

So, whether you have a wealth of first-party data or not, get out there and start making your messages more impactful!

P.S. If you’re looking for a few fun, effective holiday-themed email ideas, download our Top-Performing Holiday Emails Guide to take advantage of the strategies retail’s top performers plan on using this year!