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Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing Best Practice: Personalization is Key

My last post focused on knowing your audience and the importance of tailoring marketing messages to them. In this post I will focus on best practices for utilizing Dynamics 365 Marketing to leverage personalize SMS campaigns, promote relevant events, and optimize campaigns in real time.

Unlock the Power of Personalized SMS

For as advanced as marketing has become, many organizations still do not recognize the value of SMS (Short Message Service), or text marketing. Yet, with text messages receiving a remarkable 98% open rate  it’s definitely time to consider SMS to reach your audience.

It  makes sense. We are a world connected to our phones, and SMS makes reaching consumers quick and easy. Plus, there are numerous partners that offer integrations with Dynamics 365 Marketing, enabling you to send SMS messages to Dynamics 365 marketing lists. The key is making sure that individuals opt-in to receiving messaging in order to ensure that your organization is in compliance with privacy guidelines established by the Mobile Marketing Association and not subject to violation penalties.

So, how does SMS work? Simply, messages are sent to the mobile numbers of the contact records in your marketing lists. Using data stored in Dynamics 365 Marketing, you can even personalize your text messages. For instance, you could use text messaging to provide basic customer service like scheduling appointments or providing feedback. Messages sent and received are tracked in Dynamics with an activity record.

The integration of SMS with Dynamics enables you to engage with your consumers more – and in a more personalized way. Using SMS as a marketing tactic can help expand your reach and generate another touch point, or opportunity to engage your target audience. Consider that 90% of consumers have indicated they would like to use messaging to talk to businesses.This means messaging can serve as an excellent tool for customer service or opening up two-way communication with your intended audience.

Best Practice

Incorporate SMS messaging permission into all of your forms. Consider offering an incentive to consumers for signing up to receive text messages regarding upcoming events, new service offerings, or other relevant news. Then, keep messaging concise and brief. It’s important not to inundate consumers with too many messages or you’ll run the risk of opt-outs.

Leverage Events to Connect With Consumers

Events such as lunch and learns and product demonstrations are a great way to educate your community, learn more about your consumers, and ultimately build a bridge between your community and organization.

Many organizations promote events today, but there is a disconnect between marketing the event (i.e., the email campaign to promote the event) and the management of the event (i.e., registration, cancellations, and attendance tracking). They further note that they would love to do more events, but the marketing and management of the event are too cumbersome and time-consuming. Studies have indicated that event ROI continues to be one of the top three challenges of event management.

Dynamics 365 Marketing contains a robust event-management module. This module allows you to easily configure an event in the solution that will automatically generate a registration portal and page, track registrations and cancellations, and log attendance.

Best of all, it’s integrated out-of-the-box with your marketing emails, SMS, and journeys. So, when you send an email or SMS about your upcoming event, you can map and track a journey of what should happen along each step of the registration process.

To put a cherry on top, Dynamics 365 Marketing also contains a survey feature, so you can automatically send and track surveys within your journey after a person has attended an event.

Best Practice

Your consumers have registered for the event. The next communication they receive should be a follow-up email or text, depending on their communications preference, that confirms their registration. Use follow-up emails and texts as an opportunity to provide registrants with more information about your organization. But remember to make it personal! Personalize follow ups by using your recipient’s first name in the subject line and the introduction of the body copy. Studies indicate emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.

Use Insights to Monitor and Adjust Your Campaigns

The amount of consumer data available today is both astonishing and overwhelming. Tools such as marketing automation software allow you to track everything that happens during an email campaign, from the first time an email is sent. A small change in wording, the placement of certain content in an email, and when an email is sent can significantly impact success rates.

Plus, most marketing automation tools leverage A/B testing of messaging, subject lines, and more. Whether it’s measuring open rates, click-throughs, or all of the above, there is a wealth of data that will enable you to monitor and analyze your campaign’s performance. But, you need an easy way to monitor and analyze the data in order to adjust your emails and consumer journeys if you want to achieve the highest success rates.

While traditional marketing automation tools leverage A/B testing, Dynamics 365 Marketing leapfrogs traditional A/B testing approaches and leverages deep insights across a journey with the ability to add splitters within a journey, in real time.

For example, say you analyze the click-heat map of a recent email and see that recipients are more active when links are on the right versus the left. You can test this conclusion in other journeys by adding a splitter and designating a certain percentage of your contacts through the split path journey so they see the updated email. Additional insights can then be gleaned from the split group, enabling you to make updates to other journeys, as well as content blocks and templates, to increase your success rates.

Best Practice

It is easy to fall into a trap of testing all aspects of an email. Be careful not to get bogged down in changing components of an email that have little to no impact on campaign performance. There are typically only a few areas of an email that will have a direct impact on success rates. Headers, the placement of links and buttons, copy text for the subject and opening sentence, and colors tend to have the most impact. Monitor and analyze your email campaign insights to understand the areas that most impact your success rates and focus your testing on those areas.


To learn more about our Microsoft Dynamics 365 capabilities, click here.

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Brad Beumer, Director, Microsoft Dynamics 365

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