Dynamic content: a 10 step plan

It can be a daunting experience when marketers move away from ‘spray and pray’ email marketing, towards a targeted and tailored approach using dynamic content.

However in reality if you come up with a sensible plan it is relatively pain free and easy to deploy. Here are our 10 recommended steps to get you on your way:


Decide what you want to tailor in your emails. At this point don’t concern yourself with what technology limitations you think you might have, really think about what the most relevant content for your customers would be. By thinking about technology you will always limit yourself to what is currently achievable.


Based upon what content you will be tailoring you need to think about what data you require for this. Do you need to request extra data feeds? Is the data in a usable form? How much data do you have and do you need to pursue a data capture exercise?


How many variations of content will there be – a handful or all the way up to several thousand? How often will these different content variations need to get updated? Daily, weekly, monthly or other? This influences whether you can manually build the content each time or if automating the production of this content is the only feasible option.


Where does this variable content come from? Will you need to request this gets produced by your content team? Does it exist already and if so where and in what format?


Once you have worked out where your content is going to come from is it going to need to be automatically turned into ready HTML and text content? If so what rules do you need to ensure that automated process selects the right content so it is as good as a human would select. For example for a client we select the best holidays for each person our tool will only select one holiday offer per country.


What are the rules that need creating to decide who gets what content? Will these stay the same each time? If they stay the same then it is just going to be a case of refreshing content but otherwise you will need an efficient (or automated) means of creating them.


What will the emails look like? You need to have the HTML for each of the variable sections designed and also create the email template with gaps for the variable content. To aid the control of layout it is best to use tables.


Once everything is built the next stage is to test it. GraphicMail provides a preview tool that allows you to scroll through different records to see the different versions.


In order to justify your additional efforts in using dynamic content it is always advisable to use a control group to measure the difference between an old style generic email and a tailored email.


You are never finished with dynamic content as there are always tweaks and tests you can run to move towards an even more tailored version. You may find the first email you send may look completely different to one 3 months later.

This should prompt you to think about all of your considerations of setting up dynamic content.