Dynamic/personalized email in HubSpot: How can we better enable you? (Feedback thread)

ShaneJ
HubSpot Product Team

Hey Power Users,

 

I’m Shane, one of the Marketing Email Product Managers at HubSpot. It’s my job to make it easy for you to personalize emails based on your recipients’ information.

 

As members of a sophisticated group of customers, many of you are stretching our email tools with complex, customized sends. Lots of you are sending to highly specific customer segments and using dynamic/smart email content in creative ways (sometimes with third-party tools).

 

I’d like to know more about the ways you’re personalizing and customizing emails right now and answer any questions you have around using the HubSpot product to send personalized emails.

 

Some questions to kick us off:

 

  • What does “dynamic email” mean to you?
  • How are you currently managing email campaigns with lots of personalization and segmentation involved?
  • How easy/difficult do you find it to send personalized emails with HubSpot? What do you wish you could do with HubSpot that you currently can’t do?
  • Are you using any third-party tools to customize emails further than you’re able to with HubSpot?
19 Replies 19
HadarS
HubSpot Employee

@thesnappingdog we recently had a conversation about dynamic email so wanted to make sure you saw this! What questions/input do you have for Shane?

0 Upvotes
HadarS
HubSpot Employee

@Bryan_Culver @DSV @LROADY @ridingforlife you all mentioned email marketing in your areas of expertise. Please do jump in with insight/questions- this is a unique opportunity to get your thoughts directly to the HubSpot Product team!

0 Upvotes
huntermgorman
Contributor

Hey Shane!

While I don't know that we check all of the boxes you mentioned, I am highly interested in this topic and hope to make our email efforts a bit more robust so here's what I've got:

  1. Dynamic email to me means email that is able to change.  I believe this could be changes pre-send and post-send: based on pre-defined criterea on the contact level and/or manual updates to content.
  2. We currently use smart content (primarily CTAs for email) based on lists for most of our highly segmented, personalized.  Of course, this is in tandem with personalization tokens.  We also generally create quite a few versions of emails to account for much of the nuance to our business and our contact segmentation.
  3. Generally speaking I think it's pretty straight forward to send fairly standard, personalized email using HubSpot.  I wish for 4 things frequently:
    1. The ability to create a repository of 'global content' that could be added to emails and automatically served to recipients in the email when it is sent.  Almost like a 'dynamic' signature that changes based on what has been put into the repository (release announcements, company news, etc) and that intelligently serves content related to the email that is being sent. I envision this as a HubDB-like set of content for use in emails. I see this most beneficial when used in less-segmented emails like form follow ups or confirmation emails rather than highly-specific emails since, hopefully, that messaging is all highly targetted. 
    2. The ability to update or change content after it's sent.  I heard about a feature like this from the marketing hub roadmap for 2020 and haven't been able to stop wishing for it since then.  While we normally are good about catching mistakes prior to sending/publishing emails, this would be a game changer for when things fall through the cracks.
    3. Increased functionality for CC/BCC & the ability to attach documents to some emails (as documents rather than links).  While I know this may be counter to how some organizations use email, when we send transactional & deal-related email this is often a huge need for our business. 
    4. Last on my wishlist is the ability to lever datetime properties in emails (and other places in the UI for that matter).  Right now, datetime properties are only able to be manipulated using the HubAPI which is mostly okay but for anything time specific, which we have a number of cases that require this information, we have to pass two properties 1) the datetime property itself and 2) a string property of the date & time for use in emails.  This is annoying and is less clean than I'd like it to be.
  4. We stick with HubSpot for our emails but we use the single-send API for almost half of our email sends - in some cases for marketing email.  Since we try to send all external emails using HubSpot, we've found that the SS-API is much easier for our teams to account for properties that need to be included in the email but are not kept on the contact record.

Hope this helps & definitely happy to explain further if need be!

 

Have a great weekend!

ShaneJ
HubSpot Product Team

Thank you @huntermgorman, for your message,

 

This is really amazing insight. All you mentioned make total sense. I had one clarifying question for you. When you say post send changes, do you mean where email content can changed based on global or database updates even after send?

 

Best,

 

Shane

0 Upvotes
huntermgorman
Contributor

Exactly - 

While I'm sure you can speak more to the requirements and or feasibility of this, I have tested some tools that allow our sales reps to make these changes or recall messages post-send that are similar to what I am speaking.  I also remember reading about functionality similar to this on a roadmap that I saw.

I think this could be useful in a few ways. First would be the instances where you send a regular email to a list of segment of contacts and shortly after you notice a typo or other discrepancy. Try as we might, marketers are still humans and make mistakes and I think this would be a powerful tool for myriad use cases.

The other, more to your point, would be for updating messaging entirely, in theory serving them an entirely different message since contacts may take actions outside of a particular email send that could change their need for some information or specific messaging, etc.

Happy to discuss more if you'd like - I could brainstorm on this all day! 🙂

My Best,

Hunter

0 Upvotes
ShaneJ
HubSpot Product Team

Thanks @huntermgorman,

 

I can totally see the benefit here. I will review this item for sure with the team as we look to build out scope for wheats next in this area and see if this has been tabled before. 

 

S

 

0 Upvotes
ShaneJ
HubSpot Product Team

I might take you up on that offer of a brain storm at a later stage too 🙂

amwilie
Key Advisor | Elite Partner
  • Dynamic email, to me, is an email containing content that is auto-populated based on certain criteria. This can be as simple as a user's name or as complex as whole paragraphs dictated by particular contact properties.
  • For simpler emails it's easy to just throw in a contact property to populate what we need but for more complex emails we code the properties into the template and/or often have to create multiple emails to send out the intended content to users.
  • I have frequently found myself wanting to use If/Else statements in emails. For example: we have a quiz that after completion sends out an email with the results. Since we can't use If/Else statements within the email itself we either have to send the entire content into a property or create multiple emails to ensure the user gets their correct results. If we had If/Else statements we could build a single email that inputs content based on their quiz score. Also, the abiliy to use multiple RSS feeds in a single email would great.
  • We've built our own tools to do things like send out complex Wordpress RSS feed emails that populates content based on a user's subscription to particular tags.
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Alyssa Wilie

Web Developer at LyntonWeb

If this answer solved your question, please mark it as the solution!

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ShaneJ
HubSpot Product Team

Hi @amwilie ,

 

Thank you for your repsonse, you are trying to do some pretty cool stuff here and its a super intersting use case. I will for sure bring this back to the team to review whats possible with If/Else statements. Is there any way you could share more detail or send/ screenshot me an example of one of your quizzes so i can understand better the flow here? My email is sjanssens@hubspot.com.

 

I can circle bak after that.

 

Best,

 

Shane

 

0 Upvotes
davecriswell
Contributor

Hey @ShaneJ - thanks for the questions

 

What does “dynamic email” mean to you?
Personalized email.

 

How are you currently managing email campaigns with lots of personalization and segmentation involved?
Not sure what you mean by this. We usually use a spreadsheet to map out the list with the appropriate content.

 

How easy/difficult do you find it to send personalized emails with HubSpot?
Very easy.

 

What do you wish you could do with HubSpot that you currently can’t do?

  1. Target the whole email as smart content or entire blocks. That would allow us to add/remove content blocks that are only relevant to special audiences (loyalty groups for instance).
  2. Dynamically inserted product. For example, customers look at shoes on the website, we could be able to insert those products dynamically in an email.
  3. Present smart content using more options than list membership or their lifecycle stage.

Are you using any third-party tools to customize emails further than you’re able to with HubSpot?
No.

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ShaneJ
HubSpot Product Team

Thank you for the feedback and ideas @davecriswell,

A quick question on the additional requirements. For number 2. are you referring to something like recommeded product email/ block and/ or maybe extending that to something like an abandoned cart? For 3. what other options are important to you with your emaisl. Can you give me an example of something your business specifically would like to do here with smart content?

 

Best,

 

Shane

Shane

0 Upvotes
davecriswell
Contributor

Hey @ShaneJ -

For 2 - correct, and, if there is content that only applies to a certain set of customers, for instance, we might want to include a special callout for a specific set of recipients that we don't want the rest of the audience to see. Right now to do that, you need to have a block of content there for both groups. Ideally, the block could be non-existent for one group but show for the other.

 

For 3 - thinking through that one a bit more, I think the current options work. 

0 Upvotes
cooperelias
Contributor

Hi, @ShaneJ - thanks for taking the time to get our feedback. A few thoughts/notes:

  • When I think of dynamic email, the capabilities offered by Movable Ink come to mind. It's been a while since I have done a demo of their platform, but the idea of being able to have email content updated after the original send was possible.
  • A few things I wish we could do:
    • Use "membership tokens" like {{ membership_registration_link }} in marketing emails
    • Adjust the date/time formatting of date and datetime property tokens
    • Choose between using the value or label for applicable property tokens 
    • Smart/dynamic footers (this might be possible?)

Overall I've been very pleased with the ease of personalizing marketing emails. A couple other things that might not fall in your world, but I'll mention them anyway:

  • Ability to add "additional <head> markup" to drag and drop email templates
  • In snippets and templates, I am unable to use a personalization token in a link the same way that I can in a marketing email. I can include something like this:
    https://www.clubready.com/joinus/contact.store_id_value/429921/
    in the snippet, but I can't actually create linked text with a URL that includes a token.
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ShaneJ
HubSpot Product Team

Thanks @cooperelias,

 

I appreciate all the ideas here. Some very good ones. I will take these away and review with team also. I iwll come back on the dynamic footers question and see if it possible. 

 

I iwll also share your feedback wirth appropriate teams on last 2 points.


Best,

 

Shane

0 Upvotes
Bryantworks
Key Advisor

Coming from our earlier AMA with Elena, "Dynamic Email" for me is "Personalized, interactive content, that adjusts to contacts' interests and the best time for them to receive emails."

 

I use a few tools currently to try and help with this:

 

Personalized content:  https://www.humanautomation.ai/personalize

Personalized Send Times:  https://www.theseventhsense.com/

Chris Bryant | Your Dedicated HubSpot Expert
MatthewShepherd
HubSpot Employee

Hi @ShaneJ 
Not sure I can provide insight on all of your questions but to me, truly dynamic email means being able to use any data field in the CRM to personalise emails and being able to do so conditionally. As mentioned by some other users in this thread, in the past I have wanted to use some if then HUBL statements in emails to control which CRM data to show but that hasn't been supported. That would be extremely useful.


Matthew Shepherd

Senior Inbound Consultant

Professional Services | HubSpot

He/Him

linkedin.com/in/matthewshepherd/
https://www.hubspot.com/services/professional
ridingforlife
Top Contributor

A big thing I would love for email is the ability to do if/else statements in HUBL for email. One example I have of this is displaying a different hero image based on a contact property. I found I wasn't able to achieve this as if/else statements in email are not possible with contact properites. These hero images are added to/changed throughout the year, and we found a different way to do it outside of HubSpot, but I have to get a co-worker to do that work for me... whereas it would be easier if I could just make the update myself.

0 Upvotes
jfields
HubSpot Employee

Right now the easiest option for this would likely be to use a smart content via the image being in a rich text module and an active list based on those contact properties. Something else that can work is creating code that is stored as a contact property and then used in the email as a personalization token.  Someone also mentioned movable ink above which I've known several customers to use with great success.  

 

That said, we recognize there are more powerful options that could natively work here so I will note this to our product team and would recommend to keep a close eye on upcoming updates in this space!  

ridingforlife
Top Contributor

Yeah, basically what we are doing is passing the values from the GTM event into contact properties to then use them as personalization tokens in the email. It works fine, it's just an extra step for updating and required more contact properties.

 

I appreciate you taking this feedback to the team and look forward to future updates!

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