Dynamic Content in Emails – Four Principles of a Successful Campaign

September 22, 2021
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It’s an incredible feeling to send out an email that instantly generates sales, and if you have experienced this, congratulations on achieving what marketers have been consumed with for years. You found a way to connect to the right person at the right time with the right product. But how many people did we miss?

Mailchimp reports that the average open rate is 21.33% across all industries. They also recognize that “good” conversion rates will range between 2% and 5%. So if we do the math and email 1000 customers, 213 will open the email, and if our conversion rates are high, we can expect 4 to 10 people to make a purchase. Amazing, love that, end of the story, right? Sure, unless we’re interested in connecting with the 200+ people who opened the email and did not convert into a sale. To develop ongoing conversations and connections with our customers, we need to listen, understand, plan and adapt.

men talking


I once heard that every good conversation starts with listening. If we want to connect with our customers, we need to look at emails and conversations the same way. Making sure we listen and understand what our customers are saying. 

The best way to achieve this in an email is to create a series of links that help our customers tell us who they are and what interests them. Buyer personas should inspire the links we include. But, we can also include links from our website like “About Us,” “Special Offers,” etc.

When a campaign completes, we can review the link data (who clicked on what). Although this is technically watching or reading, I like to refer to this as “listening,” which is the first step in creating a genuine connection.

two women talking


Once we know what customers are clicking, we want to understand what each click means. What can we learn about our customers based on the actions they have taken. 

Some quick examples (please forgive these oversimplified personas): 

  • “Background Barbara” clicked on the “About Us” link because she cares about the story behind the business. Who we are, and why we do what we do. 
  • “Super Saver Steve” clicked on “Special Offers” because he takes great pride in finding discounts and deals.
  • “Recommendation Rebecca” clicked on the product we featured but did not make a purchase. Because she’s looking for social proof to help push her across the line and shops exclusively by reviews.

Segmenting and tagging can seem like a daunting task at first, but try to focus on patterns and large groups of information. If we see a link being clicked on by 10% of our readers (those who opened the email), it could be worth exploring. Mailchimp shows, on average, segmented campaigns result in 23% higher open rates and 49% higher click-through rates than unsegmented campaigns. 

different coloured jars


Once we’ve taken a closer look at our customers’ actions, we can start planning targeted information to include in future emails. 

Using the examples above, we might consider the following:

  • For “Background Barbara,” we might include some behind-the-scenes information. A video of us creating or packaging our products. Maybe a blurb about how we source or manufacture, or access to an interview or write-up about our business.
  • “Super Saver Steve” might be offered a one-off exclusive discount or access to some clearance stock we want to clear.
  • For “Recommendation Rebecca,” we might share testimonials from happy customers or positive product reviews. 

Using Dynamic Content

There are many possibilities on how to move forward after planning. We can create a series of emails and send customers on a journey, create variations of each email we produce, or tap into dynamic content blocks. 

I always recommend building unique customer journeys, but I acknowledge that not everyone has the time to do this, which is where dynamic content blocks can be a life-saver.

man looking at Mountains

We can design a single email with content that changes based on the reader. Imagine your email as a collection of blocks:

  • 1st Block : Header with your logo and menu links
  • 2nd Block : Your visual and first call to action
  • 3rd Block : Your message and another call to action
  • 4th Block : Dynamic content
  • 5th Block : Footer with your address, contact details, socials, etc.

4th Block will change depending on the reader, which could look like this:

“Background Rebecca” would see more information about the company.

“Super Saver Steve” would see a unique discount.

“Recommendation Rebecca” would see product reviews and testimonials. 

All of the other blocks would remain the same, and ultimately our email campaign doesn’t change. It simply adapts based on what we’ve learned from previous actions to better connect with our different buyers.

Rounding up

I acknowledge and admit there are many oversimplified examples in this article, which was intentional to help illustrate a point. 

Using personalized information, like a customer’s name, is powerful. But remember that our customers consistently provide insight into who they are and what they want. The more we listen, the more we’ll hear. The more we understand, the more targeted we can get. And the more we adapt, the more connections we will make.

About the author

Paul Bergman is the Program Director for Promo Supply Network an email automation agency dedicated to helping distributors in the Promotional Products Sector.  With over 18 years of sales and marketing experience, Paul has written for industry leading publications like Promotional Products Marketing Magazine. Recently Paul has branched out of his industry to help small businesses develop email strategies.


Paul Bergman