microsite emails

Ask an Email Expert: Creating Personalization Magic with Microsite Emails

To help marketers make the most of their email marketing campaigns, we created the “Ask an Email Expert” series where we sat down with Zeta’s email experts to get their time-proven tips and tricks on how to create engaging, revenue-producing campaigns. In this edition, we speak with Stephanie D’Sa, Vice President of Strategic Consulting, to learn more about how to move beyond bland email sends to create “micro-site emails” that truly engage with your customers online.

The Quick Take

Before we dive in, let’s discuss what we mean when we describe an email as a microsite. The best way to describe these sends is that they essentially act as a multi-page newsletter, or a dedicated mini-website. In other words, it’s essentially a home on the web for customers to engage more deeply with the content of each of your email newsletters.  It increases engagement because our studies found that readers tended to click and read more articles and take more actions with newsletter content when it was quick, easy, and convenient to move between articles rather than every link taking the reader to a different destination each time. People want to click links when the react like regular articles online. Top-notch personalization all moves the needle, but we’ll get to that in a bit. Here’s why you should care about micro-site emails and how they can help you quickly create high-converting email campaigns.

Creating Microsite Emails That Will Make Your Job Easy

My inbox has hit its peak over the last two years; I’ve lost count of the number of emails I receive. Yes, this is partly due to an increase in my online shopping habits. Admittedly, my closest friend is often my mobile device!  No surprise with an expected growth in global email users to a total of 4.6 billion by 2025, which makes up well over half of the expected world population by that time. 

Despite the sheer volume of email messages, I know that each one has the potential to deepen my connection with, and understanding of, the brand it represents. And so do consumers. That’s precisely why the medium remains so mission critical to the success of marketing campaigns. 

In fact, according to Zeta’s own Data, multiple retail categories are reporting an increased interest and engagement in their emails, with a growing opportunity to acquire new customers using real-time intent signals. We’re even seeing “recent acquisition” email campaigns reporting increased engagement by 117%.

The Magic of Bespoke Microsite Emails

The magic is simple. In fact, it doesn’t come from magic at all. It comes down to: personalization, personalization, personalization. Have you ever stopped to think about the broader opportunity an email can offer when it contains a proper microsite experience? I love opening an email showcasing a product that is clearly targeted to my needs. When this happens, I know the brand is intelligent and has taken the time to learn my appetites. Most importantly, it’s hard for myself and customers alike to resist clicking through and exploring the things strategically placed alongside “that thing” they know we already have interest in.  I’m even more receptive when the brand has been elegantly communicating with me for some time, without being pushy.

Newsletters: another portal to the brand experience

When I sign up for a brand’s newsletter, I’m expecting a brief, smartly curated showcase of ideas and issues that are relevant to that product or service. I see newsletters as a sort of flagship communication in which brands are helping guide me in what I should be thinking about and viewing. I’ve seen brands do their newsletters in such creative and memorable ways, whether it be through data visualization, beautiful imagery, or thoughtful product placement. It’s usually very brief and really isn’t as complicated as it sounds. And no, you don’t need to keep badgering your creative team to recreate a new concept for every newsletter send. Underlying tech can do most of the heavy lifting.

Four Key Ways to Creating Magic in your Microsite Emails

When creating your high-engaging email microsites, here are a few best practices that should guide your hand:

  1. Hook them fast. Customers give brand emails something like 10 seconds of their time—a stat confirmed by Statista. This alternate portal to your brand should be simple, relevant, and visually engaging so that visitors become instantly hooked and then want to spend their time learning more about what you have to say. 
  2. Display an understanding of your customers’ core interests, but also make it easy to explore new things.  Be sure to leverage your first-party customer data—ideally also enriched by third-party data—to showcase new items your customers will likely be happy to see right next to the ones you know they already love. A carousel format is a good way to achieve this. While you’re at it, offer a taste of your web experience in the body of the email. The more visually enticing the better!
  3. Build a respectful relationship with your customers over time. Avoid bombarding your email list. Instead, use each communication thoughtfully, gathering data that can increase the relevance of future sends. Do customers buy certain products in response to push communications versus directly on your website? This information can help you create the most engaging experience and convert more readers into buyers.
  4. Enrich your data to make sure it’s as intelligent as possible. Enriching your proprietary data with third-party data can take your campaigns from average to high-performing over night. For example, if you enrich your data with things like Zeta Data—our first-party consumer data that assesses real time signals on consumption, behaviors, and interests—you will gain access to more in-depth information about customer’s actions both on and off your site. In addition to this, make sure to find a partner that works with you to help interpret this data in order to create the most efficient and high-performing messaging possible.  

We all know emails don’t need to be boring, and they certainly don’t need to rely on static batch-and-blast messaging in order to best engage with your customers. If you’re still doing these things, the time for change is now. In order to ensure you aren’t throwing away your opportunity to leverage this high-performing channel, reach out to an expert at Zeta today or check out more about our platform capabilities.


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