The other day, I got a weird e-mail from Amazon titled "Bread Machines."
"That's weird... I have absolutely no interest in bread machines. Maybe Amazon's finally gotten it wrong," I thought.
Until I asked my wife.
And sure enough, unbeknownst to me, she was on her iphone logged in under our Amazon account shopping for bread machines the night before.
My guess is Amazon has one of several blank e-mail templates that simply prepopulate with items I'm predisposed to buy based on recency and behavioral data. What's more, they probably have a formula that determines how often to send me one of these prepopulated e-mails. Now that I've crossed over 170 transactions per year with them, that e-mail frequency is close to once per day. Their databases are filled with continents of data ready to be popped into millions of e-mails per day --- all personalized and customized to the specific needs and interests of millions of customers.
It's a dynamic system that allows Amazon to send out millions of different e-mails per day, populated with the items most recently viewed or historically purchased by each user. A system and supporting infrastructure they invested tens of millions in, if not hundreds, I'd estimate. But it raked in $48 billion last year.
But with [contentblock id=6], do you know that you can create your own little "Amazon" follow up system?
You'll need some help from a custom-built plugin I made (which you'll get with my home study course) but it essentially lets you tag or run various actions when a person visits a certain page on your site from an e-mail. It also utilizes browser cookies, which remembers their contact id and allows you to track as many subsequent pages as you want... even when they aren't sent there from an e-mail. If you're using [contentblock id=15], it can do similarly once the user is logged in. I'll spare you the details but that takes care of knowing what your customer or prospect has seen.
Now that you can run an action set when a user views a page (or series of them), there's this secret little action hardly anyone uses called: "Set a contact field to a specific value." This is powerful and I use it all the time.
Let's be creative for a moment...
Say we had a custom field called "E-mail offer banner" which housed the url of an image that we could merge into an e-mail. Using a little creativity, this image could either look like a traditional banner or you could use snagit or skitch to take a photo of a paragraph of text and make it seem like a regular element of the e-mail. Whatever image url we put in this particular "E-mail offer banner" custom field would be what appears in the e-mail when we merge in the field. In other words, the e-mail has html code that includes the merge field. Something like: <img src="~Contact.Emailofferhtml~">.
It's essentially a dynamic image and what actually gets merged in depends on what each user record has stored in this particular custom field. Starting to make sense?
Because you are limited by the number of characters you can use with this action, you'll want to keep your image src links short:
If this was the image url stored in a user's contact record, <img src="~Contact.Emailofferhtml~"> would turn into:
There was a time when you could actually store real html in a custom field and output this html in an e-mail but this no longer works. These days, we have to resort to the image strategy. The good news is the image can be as tall or wide as you want. Heck, I once wrote an entire e-mail, took a screenshot of it and used it as one image.
So whether the image is 800 pixels tall or just 100 pixels, the structure of the line of code above won't change. Keep that in mind. <img src="~Contact.Emailofferhtml~">
Tip: When saving your image url, if it truncates any of it, rename your file something like "1.jpg" to save space.
So here's how you put this together:
Create different banners, images, or even screenshots of entire e-mails promoting different products or offers.
Make yourself a chart that illustrates what banners they should get when they visit certain pages (mainly to stay organized)
Create action sets that use the "Set a contact field to a specific value" function to place these various banner images in the text-based custom field of your choice (just like the illustration above).
When a visitor clicks a link, visits a page (if you have my script or similar), or does practically ANY action, run this action set, which will populate the custom field with the appropriate banner. For example, if they click or view or watch my "Advanced Jazz" material, I can have a specific action set ready to change the "E-mail offer banner" custom field to the corresponding "Advanced Jazz" banner. What's more, in my next content based e-mail, I can merge the "E-mail offer banner" custom field at the top and bottom of the e-mail. That means, the very next e-mail they get, regardless of the nature of the content I'm sharing in the e-mail, can publicize the product they were LAST interested in.
How do I know they were LAST interested in the advanced jazz program? Because of the very nature of how the system is set up. The very last thing they do will override whatever is in the "E-mail offer banner" custom field with its own corresponding code. For example, if they click my Advanced gospel e-mail at 9am, the image url for the advanced gospel banner gets placed in the custom field using the "Set a contact field to a specific value" function. If they then watch my entire beginner jazz video at 11am (which is tracked by my custom-built wistia video plugin that runs actions down to the second), the custom field that had the advanced gospel banner url in it previously will be overwritten with the beginner jazz banner url.
So it would behoove you to have as many banners as possible as to be able to update the custom field according to the very last major action the prospect or custom has taken. For me, that could mean almost 50 banners or image promotions, depending on how far I want to take this. Heck, Amazon seems to have figured it out for millions of products (and no, they aren't using [contentblock id=6]; they're technology is easily worth 8 or 9 figures and you've now got a tiny "makeshift" piece of it to use in your operations.)
5) Depending on how far you go with this, you could even have a follow up sequence that sends out the SAME promo every x days. What changes about it is the image content in the custom field. One e-mail, but different content every time by just changing the data inside the custom field that's merged into the e-mail. Brilliant!
This wasn't meant for everyone. If you're advanced, I would hope you've gotten the technique. If not, save this one for later.
Until next time.
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