Whether you’re a brand owner or an email marketing agency, you know how effective personalized emails are as a digital marketing tool. They combine two essential marketing trends – personalization and email marketing.
Personalization treats the consumer as an individual. And in a sea of marketing content, it is how your brand messaging will grab their attention and keep it.
As for email marketing, it is widely embraced for providing the broadest reach and the highest return on investment of any marketing channel. Combined, the two strategies are a powerful way to accelerate customer engagement while driving enough volume to increase revenue.
Personalization and Why It Works
Personalization is when you use subscriber data to create content that is tailor-made for each customer. With individualized content your messages become relevant to your audience. Not only does this increase user engagement, it builds brand trust as it makes customers feel like you understand their needs.
Additionally, speaking directly to customers also humanizes your brand. The truth is, people connect to people and not businesses. Customers are more likely to open an email that feels like it’s coming from another person rather than a robot as a massive send.
Personalization also allows you to send customers timely emails that are specific to where they are in the customer journey. This helps you give your audience what they need at exactly the right moment. In the short-term this increases conversion rates. Over time, it drives brand loyalty, and ultimately more revenue.
Personalized Emails and Where to Start
Seventy-two percent of Gen X, 64% of Millenials and 60% of Gen Z customers find email marketing to be the most personal type of brand communication. Add personalization to email marketing and you set your brand up for success. Marketers found that personalizing emails increased open rates by 26% and revenue by up to 760%.
So how do you get started with personalized emails?
The key to personalized emails is to collect enough information and the right data from your customers.
There are many ways to collect data, like sign up forms or contests. Whatever method you use, make sure you’re actually requesting information that customers are willing to share or offer them an incentive.
With regard to what information to collect, the best place to start is with demographic data. Beyond that, collect data that is specific to your brand and the products you sell, like how customers engage with you, their transactional histories and customer satisfaction.
If you have different categories or collections you might also ask customers about their favorite collection, color, or other category specific preferences.
As a start, data that brands commonly source includes:
- Email addresses
- Sign-up sources
- How they heard about you
But that would only be the first step. You will gain access to more data as you increasingly engage customers with strategies like email campaigns designed to collect information or filtering segments based on customer behavior. Fortunately, as you build a relationship with your customers and strengthen brand trust it will be easier to ask them for data. Even without an incentive.
Putting Email Personalization Into Action
There are various ways to put email personalization into practice. Let’s look at 6 effective strategies.
1. Collect the Right Data
Different platforms and integrations will allow you to collect certain data. Source data that is specific to your brand and make sure to ask for as much information as possible without being too invasive.
2. Use Segmentation
Group existing or potential customers into sub-groups that have things in common, like demographic data, shared interests, or similar lifestyles. Create subscriber tags for these sub-groups so that instead of sending bulk emails to your entire list, you send targeted campaigns to each group based on their specific preferences.
3. Personalized Subject Lines
Draw attention to your subject lines by addressing your subscribers by name. Also use dynamic content to adjust subject lines to customer information and behavior, like past purchases or recently browsed products.
4. Use Behavior-Triggered Emails
Automation is one of the best personalized email marketing strategies. This is where you send automated emails to subscribers based on criteria that you define. These emails are triggered by subscriber behavior and arrive in their inbox at the right time. This makes subscribers feel like you know them, which then increases conversion rates.
5. Use Product Recommendation Blocks
A product recommendation block is where you present customers with items they would most likely want to buy. Common headings used for these blocks include “Recommendations for You” or “We Think You’ll Love”. Make sure your recommendations are unique to each subscriber and base them on products they previously purchased.
6. Adjust Scheduling to Time Zones
If your subscriber list is big enough, you might have customers from different locations and time zones. Take this into account as you schedule your campaigns and make sure that your emails are always sent out at the most ideal times. You may also need to adjust content spelling, wording or phrasing to each specific country.
Personalized Email Examples
- Birthday Emails – Canvas Freaks uses trigger emails to encourage customers to buy canvas prints for loved ones. Customers are first invited to share their loved one’s birthday. One month prior to it, Canvas Freaks sends the customer a reminder that the birthday is coming up and encourages them to order a gift.
- Personalized Subject Lines – Here are a few examples of personalized email subject lines. In addition to the client’s name, the subject lines include dynamic content related to the customer’s behavior or transactional activity.
- Country Based – This Paint By Numbers campaign is a great example of personalizing emails according to geographic location. It was specifically created for the Australian market and sent out on Australia Day with a 15% off incentive to boost conversion rates.
Personalized Emails Pay Off
Creating personalized emails takes time and patience but the improved open rates, higher engagement rates, and a significant increase in revenue make it a worthwhile investment.
What’s more, customers now expect it. With advancements in consumer technologies, customers are more accustomed to brands that recognize them as individuals, prioritize their unique preferences and provide them with products and services that are relevant to their needs.
As you implement personalized emails, remember that customers are different. Use A/B Tests to determine campaign effectiveness and make adjustments where necessary.
Common variables you could try for your A/B tests include:
- Personalized subject lines vs non personalized subject lines
- Dynamic blocks such as abandoned cart reminders or browse abandonment campaigns vs generic content
- Localized campaigns with native languages vs solely marketing in English
- Scheduled campaigns with location and time zones in mind
Whatever variations you use, be patient. Run the A/B test for at least one month so you can make more accurate conclusions. Once you’ve gathered enough data, analyze the results and use them to optimize communication with your audience.
Personalize your emails! If you’re new to personalized emails, start small. But even in the early stages, remember that merely addressing customers by name is no longer enough. Accompany that strategy with at least one other personalization tool that will make your emails more relatable and your customers feel truly valued.
As you grow more comfortable with personalized emails, incorporate more complex practices so you can also benefit from the higher open rates, active engagement, and exponential gains in revenue.