Sooner or later, every email marketer faces the challenge of scaling up a campaign while maintaining personalization. Many marketers continue to manually configure every individual email — an approach that quickly becomes impractical as the number of variants climbs into the hundreds of thousands.
But how is it possible to send thousands of personalized emails every day without investing in additional staff — and accruing overwhelming costs in the process? Automated email templates are designed to solve precisely that problem. By leveraging templates to manage dynamic content within each email variant, automated templates deliver a truly personalized experience for every subscriber, at scale.
Instead of requiring marketers to manually create assets, set up variants, and perform quality assurance (QA) testing on each individual email, templating automates the bulk of the email creation process, enabling a much smaller team to manage a large amount of content — while reducing the risk of human error in each email variant.
Sophisticated personalization is a major challenge without the help of templates.
The more sophisticated and data-driven an email campaign becomes, the larger the number of recommendation variants that must be created and QA-checked. What’s more, many of these recommendations only become available toward the end of the execution timeline, as the recommendation engine captures the most recent customer engagement data.
As the final recommendations arrive mere days — or even hours — before the campaign launches, it’s quite simply impossible to QA each variant of every email to be sent. How can you be sure that every email going out the door has been fully reviewed and approved?
Automated templating provides the answer. In this approach, email templates are pre-built with HTML, using logic that allows components to be swapped in as new recommendation data arrives.
Many email service providers (ESPs) offer templating languages — for example, AMPScript at Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Responsys Programming Language and Built-in Functions at Responsys — which permit deep personalization, far beyond just greetings and subject lines. Responsys’s built-in functions, for instance, can execute table lookups, simple arithmetic operations, list iterations and variable assignments (to name just a few possibilities).
These functions allow data to be dynamically inserted into a structured email template, according to pre-specified rules. This means that each of the hundred thousand email variants generated by your sophisticated recommendation engine will be constructed on the fly, as each email is loaded into your ESP during your campaign.
You’ll be able to generate thousands of individually personalized emails in real time, as each new piece of recommendation data becomes available.
And you’ll never again have to construct each variant of every email message as a header-to-footer email in your ESP.
Templating supports a large number of email variants within every campaign.
Creating a templated email is a simple one-time process — and it’s easily repeatable as you import new content. This means you’ll always be able to generate the right content for the right subscriber at the right time, without any additional investment in time or staff.
Templating also adds a highly scalable layer of automation to your campaign execution, while still sending highly relevant content to every subscriber. This is because, while the content of each email will be different, the underlying HTML remains the same, ensuring consistency across thousands of personalized emails.
What’s more, templating decouples QA of content and copy of the email from its landscape. This means you’ll be able to focus your QA efforts on the one-time content generation phase, rather than on manually reviewing thousands of email variants. As long as a piece of content complies with the parameters defined by the template, it’ll be guaranteed to render properly.
Finally, since templating makes content substitution one of the last steps in the campaign execution process, late changes to the creative content can be accommodated easily. This means you’ll remain agile and adaptive as new recommendation data arrives, and can quickly pivot to serve the most engaging possible content to each subscriber.
For all these reasons, a reliable templating strategy is a prerequisite to developing a highly personalized email program. The templating approach scales easily, and requires only a minor amount of one-time implementation effort — while providing ongoing ROI in the form of an ever-increasing range of possible increasing content permutations.
You’ll achieve far more cost-effective, scaleable results through sophisticated email personalization using automated templates. Along the way, you’ll free up the resources to generate even more content — resulting in even more engaging campaigns in the future.
Shruthi is a data engineer at Coherent Path and enjoys writing about new technology when she isn’t lifting weights or planning her next vegan meal.