Behavioral Marketing 101: The 3 Best Personalization Tactics You Haven’t Tried
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Behavioral Marketing 101: The 3 Best Personalization Tactics You Haven’t Tried

Behavioral Marketing (WordPress)

How many people did you send your last email newsletter to? 1,000? 10,000? 100,000? And how many of them received the same email?

If you’re like most marketers, you sent the same email to everyone on your list. But doing so increases your unsubscribe rate and lowers your open and click-through rates—meaning, you let a LOT of potential revenue fly out the window.

So, what’s the solution?

Behavioral Marketing.

Today, I’ll share my three favorite behavioral marketing strategies you can use to increase email engagement and get more mileage out of your emails.

Let’s get started.


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Whether you’re looking for good email examples or evergreen email subject lines, we’ve got something for you.

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What is Behavioral Marketing?

Behavioral marketing is the practice of using the information you have about your users to tailor content for the individual reader and send targeted messages.

A great example of behavioral marketing in use is YouTube.

Every time you watch a video on YouTube, you leave a digital footprint.

YouTube then uses this information to suggest videos for you to watch based on how you’ve previously interacted with their content.

Let’s say you click on a video featuring a cat jumping into a box (haven’t we all clicked on one of those?). 

YouTube now knows you’re interested in watching similar videos of cats playing with boxes.

Your digital footprint also includes how much of a video you watch, or if you abandon a video immediately after clicking. 

A user’s past likes, IP location, and even comments are also taken into consideration.

You’re probably already tracking your visitors’ behavior on your site, so use this information to create targeted messages to the individual user.

Why Behavioral Marketing Should Be a Priority

Many online businesses have already implemented behavioral segmentation into their paid advertising.

Just the other day I was looking at plane tickets from Copenhagen to Valencia.

Within 10 minutes of visiting the first site, I saw a Facebook ad for plane tickets for this exact route.

Over the next days, I continued to receive ads, not only for plane tickets but also for car hire and hotels in Valencia.

This is a great example of behavioral marketing in paid advertising.

But one thing I noticed was that I didn’t receive any emails from any of the sites I visited.

The airline and travel agencies already have my email address as I was logged in when researching my trip. So why did they not send me emails with offers?

With email marketing being the most effective of all marketing channels, you shouldn’t ignore it when it comes to behavioral marketing.

Michael L. Rothschild and William C. Gaidis developed the Behavioral learning theory arguing that “Behavior that is positively reinforced is more likely to recur than non-reinforced behavior.”

So if you continuously encourage users to buy items that they’ve already shown an interest in, they’ll be more likely to buy.

So how can you do behavioral segmentation for email marketing?

Here are three tactics you can use to boost your email marketing ROI, including some of my favorite behavioral marketing examples.

Behavioral Marketing Tactic #1: Personalized Product Recommendations

Most e-commerce stores use personalized product recommendations. 

And for good reason:

The conversion rate of visitors who click on product recommendations is 5.5 times higher than the conversion rate of those who don’t click on product recommendations.

Below are the most common types of product recommendations along with their usage and revenue:

Personalized Product Recommendation Type Use and Revenue

Here’s an example from Amazon:

Amazon Recommended Products

These product recommendations are personal in the sense that they are related to the item you’re looking at on the website or left in your cart.

But why not take product recommendations in emails one step further?

Seventy-five percent of consumers say they’d rather buy from a retailer that recommends options based on past purchases OR knows their purchase history.

Whenever a customer has purchased something on your site, information about that product should be added to the specific customer profile you have on that customer.

Based on this information you can create more personalized product recommendations in your emails, making your prospects more inclined to buy.

Oftentimes, product recommendations only show similar items, but why would a customer who’s just bought a dress, buy a similar dress right after?

Instead, product recommendations should include items that go well with that dress (shoes, bags, jackets, etc.).

There are plenty of services available to help you incorporate tailor-made product recommendations into your emails such as Hello Retail, Barilliance, and more.

Let’s take your confirmation email. You send new customers an email confirming the purchase they just made on your site.

Imagine the effect it would have on your ROI if in that email you said:

Congratulations on your new purchase, you made a great choice (reaffirm their purchase). 

I just came across these items that I think would go perfectly with your new [item] and if you order before 11.59pm tonight, I’ll add it to your existing order, and everything will be with you tomorrow.

And then the recommended products are listed.

This is just one way of incorporating personalized product recommendations into your email marketing. You can also add it to your abandoned cart emails, and even just regular promotional emails.

The more personalized the recommendations are, the more likely your readers will purchase something.

Behavioral Marketing Tactic #2: URL Tracking

URL tracking is nothing new, but the ways in which we can use it to our advantage have increased.

URL tracking isn’t just about the pages your visitors browse. It’s also about the actions they take on those pages.

A visitor’s behavior on your website tells a lot about their interests. By using this information, you’ll be able to create highly relevant emails for your audience—meaning more conversions for you.

I recently browsed Frank Kern’s site and stumbled upon a video that I decided to watch.

Less than an hour after I watched the video, I received this email:

Frank Kern Behavioral Marketing Email

Kern tracked my behavior on the site and knew that I was interested in the content of the video. Otherwise, why would I have watched it?

People who’ve already shown an interest in your product are more likely to make a purchase. But they won’t unless you give them a reason to.

The above email perfectly illustrates how to take advantage of visitor tracking and send a retargeting email to give a prospect that final nudge towards making a purchase.

In fact, retargeting emails have an average open rate of 60% and a click rate of 15%. That’s 3.5 times higher than the average open rate for the e-commerce industry and six times higher than the average click rate.

Another way to track visitor behavior is to look at the items people add to favorites, or the items they search for on your site, the links they click, and so on.

Here, you can send an email with the items that are added to a user’s favorites, and encourage them to make a purchase now because the items are selling out.

You can also send an email if a user has watched a hair tutorial video, with the message: 

I noticed you watched [name of video]. 

I hope you’re inspired to try it out yourself. 

Here are the products used in the video (they really do make a difference).

If you purchase before 11.59pm tonight, I’ll give you 10% off your entire order.

The more you know about your prospects, the better your foundation for creating high-converting emails will be.

Behavioral Marketing Tactic #3: Previous Engagement

The last tactic on this list is highly effective but underused.

It’s monitoring your prospects’ previous engagement with your emails.

I've been watching you gif

Joking aside, targeting prospects based on their previous engagement can in many ways increase your email engagement and ROI.

What emails have they previously clicked? Is it the emails including a specific product type? Or emails including video content? Or emails including testimonials?

If a prospect is only clicking through in emails with video tutorials, why would you keep sending them plain text emails with newest arrivals?

Here’s an example from ASOS:

ASOS Behavioral Marketing Email

Of all the promotional emails I’ve received over the years from ASOS, the ones I mostly click, are emails containing sales on dresses.

ASOS have now learned that sending these types of emails are more effective in my case, and now 90% of the emails I get are with dress sales.

If a user keeps opening emails with video content, you know what type of email is more effective for this particular user. Then it would make sense to keep sending emails with video content to this user.

Similarly, if a user only clicks through in the emails containing tips and tricks for decorating, for instance, you should keep sending tips and tricks to this user. And don’t forget to include a strong call-to-action that encourages them to make a purchase.

Once again, it comes down to relevancy and using the information you have available to target your prospects based on their behavior.


Want More Email Marketing Inspiration?

We’ve put together 11 email marketing resources to help you make more from your campaigns.

Whether you’re looking for good email examples or evergreen email subject lines, we’ve got something for you.

You’ll also get immediate access to 24+ other bonus resources, categorized in Notion for your convenience.

Download Swipe File Now →

Ready, Set, Track!

Whether you’re looking to increase traffic, email engagement, or sales, behavioral marketing should be part of your strategy.

With the fierce competition on the market today, online businesses don’t just have to stand out, they also have to stay relevant.

Track your users’ behavior and learn what tickles their fancy so you can create highly targeted messages that will convert your prospects into lifelong customers.

And if you’re not already tracking the behaviors mentioned in this article, you should start immediately.

It’s only a matter of time before your competitors will.

Do you have any experience with behavioral marketing? Or perhaps you’ve tried a tactic not mentioned above? Share in the comments below.

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