Personalisation, in the context of email marketing, is the technique of targeting an email campaign to a specific subscriber by leveraging the data and information you have about them.
That user information can include first or last name, date of birth, address, list of product purchases or the number of times they have logged into their client account.
All of this can be utilized in an email campaign to create a more personal, one on one marketing experience.
Is it worth the effort?
Aberdeen group found that personalized email messages can improve click-through rates by as much as 14% and conversions by 10%.
And according to the DMA segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue.
There are many more stats to back up personalization as an effective email marketing strategy.
In short, email personalization can:
- make an email subject line stand out within the inbox as highly relevant, tailor-made material
- increase the likelihood of an email being opened and clicked on.
- strengthen customer experiences by sending the right content to the right people at the right time
Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, said in his book, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
In the concept of email marketing this is an especially important tool as emails are the most personal, one-to-one marketing channel.
In this article I am offering an introduction to some of the best practices for email personalization.
We will be looking at:
- effective ways to personalize your email marketing campaigns
- the best times to use personalization in email marketing
- why using personalization in emails is important
These days, email marketing is becoming more about creating a highly personalized experience for the subscriber. Marketers are going far beyond only leveraging subscribers’ first names. They’re working hard to find ways to use smart, relevant email marketing to create new opportunities.
Put plainly, if you are not using email personalization in your emails then you are missing out.
Effective Ways to Personalise Your Email Marketing Campaigns
The most obvious way to begin personalizing your email campaigns is to start using the subscribers’ name.
This will get the one-to-one connection started, but it’s not the only way.
Below is a shortlist of other available options to personalize emails that go further than just the subscriber’s name:
- Industry (esp. for B2B marketing)
- Browsing data (from visits to your website)
- Purchase history
The important point here is how to collect all of this data.
The best place to do this is by adding form fields to your email list sign up forms to manage your email list better. This is where email subscribers initially input their data so this is the first place to start.
The remaining information such as location and browsing data, can be obtained through user tracking.
The key to effective email personalization is not to overuse it.
Sometimes, only the mention of the subscriber’s name is enough to generate curiosity. By adding one or two more extra snippets of user info can really make the email seem designed specifically for the individual user.
Below is an example of how Asos use email personalization that goes beyond only using the list subscriber’s name. In this email template you can see that they have sent out a gift card to the user on their birthday.
Birthdays, and more generally public holidays, present great marketing opportunities. Simply applying this information to an email marketing campaign is a great way to show that you value your customers and to send out potential sales messages.
Here is another example of personalization, this time using purchase history from Chewy:
Notice how the recent purchases are listed complete with an image and an invitation to leave a review. The email increases users engagement with the brand, whilst also working to develop the one-to-one connection. It also presents other opportunities to showcase the brand’s strengths, such as free delivery for orders over $49 and more.
In these two instances personalization in email marketing can be applied really easily based on information that the company already possesses.
The Best Times to Use Personalisation in Email Marketing
Leveraging user information in emails at the optimal time is not an exact science and can be difficult.
When done well it can be hugely significant.
Sending out a personalized Welcome or Confirmation Email is essential. It will initiate the first point of contact and will set the tone of the future relationship between a business and it’s customers.
The proverb goes that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
To encourage a favorable perception of a brand it is important to make the user feel like you’re paying them attention right from the beginning by at least including their name.
Other great opportunities for personalization include transactional emails, upsell or product offer emails and emails during the course of a sale.
Here is an example of a confirmation email after a purchase from JubileeGift.
Notice how the first name is included along with a 10% Product Voucher as a reward for the user making the purchase.
All of these personal messages can make the purchase experience more memorable for the customer. In so doing they are much more likely to want to come back and make repeat purchases in the future.
However, in the context of user information and privacy it is important not to overuse email personalization. Including too much specific info, such as location or postcode can be off-putting to the user.
Always bear this in mind and use personalization in your email marketing campaigns wisely.
Why Using Personalisation in Emails is Important
I mentioned in the Introduction to this article a few statistics as to why email personalization is important.
We can conclude by saying that:
- Email personalization can make email subject lines stand out in the crowded email inbox
- A personalized email can increase conversion rates
- By making emails more personal a brand can develop and strengthen trust and increase the likelihood of repeat purchasers amongst its subscribers.
Here are a few more interesting stats relating to the effectiveness of email personalization:
- eConsultancy found that 74% of marketers who used personalization strongly agreed that it improved customer engagement.
- An Experian study discovered that email personalization can boost transaction rates up to 6 times.
- Adage, in a survey, found that 33% of marketers answered: “personalization” when asked to prioritize which strategy will be most significant to marketing in the future.
- As of 2016 Statista surveyed that email campaign open rate for emails with a personalized message were 18.8%, as opposed to only 13.1% for those without any personalization.
- Only 39% of online retailer outlets send out personalized product recommendations via email according to Certona
So if you are not already utilizing email personalization in your marketing campaigns then you are missing out! The last statistic in the list also indicates that in the retail world there is much room to move ahead of the competition.
Tips on creating personalized email marketing campaigns
- Improve Your Emails’ Personalisation by Changing Your CTA
A great tip for more personalized emails is to change your calls to action depending on the person reading them.
Once a subscriber has seen and acted upon a particular call to action (clicked-through), for example when downloading an ebook or another resource, he/she will see a different call to action next time, leading them into the next step of the process.
Exposing your subscribers to new calls to action will help you increase your click-through rates and improve your email personalization.
- Segment your audience
By segmenting your subscribers into different categories, you will be able to send uniquely crafted emails that speak to your audience’s wishes and needs.
You can segment your audience based on the information they provided upon signing up, their behavior on your website as well as their location, gender, and interests.
Create unique combinations of potential customer profiles and you will be one step closer to structuring a personalized email marketing campaign.
- Personalize your design
An easy way to improve personalization is by adjusting your email’s visual elements. To achieve this, make sure you have created detailed subscriber segments. A study on Zumba fitness showed that adding personalized videos to your emails can increase your email’s click-through rate by more than 15%.