Personalization is the name of the email marketing game.
Customers and subscribers love feeling appreciated, especially today when everyone knows emails are sent en masse.
So when customers come across emails that feel as though they were specifically made for them, 62.27% of them will respond favourably.
Some brands even reported experiencing a 135% increase in their click-through rate and a 30% increase in their conversion rate.
Sounds pretty good, right?
And the best part is: email personalization doesn’t have to be hard.
In this post, we’re going to show you 12 techniques you can use to make sure your subscribers are loving every email you send!
1. Audience Segmentation is Key to Email Marketing Success
Email personalization is all about telling your Jacks from Jills, and then sending them the content they’d like to see.
Now let's pretend you sell shoes and handbags. You could segment your list according to basic preferences; he buys shoes, and she buys handbags.
But since humans are complicated beings (or you may be selling shoes and handbags and a whole whackload of other things), you may need to branch out into the field of psychographic and behavioural analytics.
With a little help from buyer personas.
When you get a new customer, you’ll know exactly what profile they fit off of a few data points:
- Age, location, gender
- Goals, challenges
- Household income
- (B2B) Organization size, role at the company, superiors, and so on
It makes scaling email personalization much easier. Otherwise, you might as well write every email yourself.
2. Data for Email Personalization
The next step on your journey is getting the data you need to segment your email list.
The first way to gather data is through signup forms.
You’ll get very basic information from this, unless you have different signup forms for different lead magnets.
Now, some companies have longer signup forms that require subscribers to enter their date of birth, occupation, and so on, but be careful: asking for too much information early on could make visitors give up.
Your next option is using integrations.
If you use a customer relationship management (CRM) software or other tool for customer communication, you can integrate it with your email marketing software.
The same goes for eCommerce. Platforms like Shopify and Magento support integrations with email marketing platforms. They provide data on every customer’s location, status, the number of their orders, and much more.
Finally, consider website behaviour tracking.
If you integrate your newsletter tool with Google Analytics, you can serve your subscribers with the right offer just when they wanted to abandon their cart.
3. The Art of Sending Individualized Emails
Getting an email inviting you to buy your favourite product at 50% off is good, but what’s even better is seeing that the email isn’t really about the product – it’s about you.
Your name is in the subject line (making you feel as though a friend is emailing you).
You’re being addressed by your name again in the body of the email.
And the careful phrasing makes you feel like you’re the only person in the world to receive this incredible offer.
Then, you see the product pictured in the setting that makes you want to be there – right now.
It’s not about the product at all.
You’re going to buy it because of the experience. Because the company made you feel, to quote Rihanna, like you’re the only girl in the world.
And you have got to have it.
Successful email marketers know that individualized emails are practical, but they’re the direct opposite of functional in spirit.
Instead, they use subscriber data to make them feel special, luxurious, and extremely motivated to buy.
So as a rule of thumb: be careful of the atmosphere you’re setting with your copy and design.
Yes, Amazon made it big with a complete focus on the products. Even their website is ugly. However, Amazon is also undercutting the competition.
You don’t have to lower your prices.
All you have to do is send individualized emails to your subscribers and increase the perceived value of your brand.
4. Let Your Customers Set the Pace with Event-Triggered Emails
Event-triggered emails are also known as behaviour-triggered emails.
For example, if your customer has added a few things to their cart and then they left your page without proceeding with the purchase, you can jog their memory with an email.
These emails can be completely automated, making implementation really simple.
Since they are highly relevant to your customers, they have a 70.5% higher open rate.
Or to put it simply: they appear in the right place at the right time.
You can use behaviour-triggered emails to:
- Improve your onboarding
- Re-engage inactive subscribers
- Personalize the offers you send
And so much more!
Not even the sky is the limit if you get really creative.
5. Use Individualized Content to Improve Email Marketing Personalization
Here are the three things you can usually personalize in emails without hassle:
- The subject line
- The content, the offer and the CTA
- The landing page
Here we’re going to focus on the third thing –the landing page you send your subscribers to when they click on your CTA.
Here’s the problem with a lot of businesses: they craft compelling email copy, their CTA is so actionable that their subscribers turn into Rambos, but when they click the button…
They’re redirected to a general page that doesn’t speak to them at all.
Just think about all the times you’ve clicked on an interesting product only to be redirected to a general product category.
Don’t do that to your business.
Instead, direct your subscribers to the landing page they really want to see; be that a product category, a specific product, or whatever else it is that you were motivating them to buy throughout your email.
6. Use Responsive and Interactive Design to Make the Most out of Your Email Marketing
Responsive design isn’t just for websites, and interactivity is a huge hit with email subscribers – mostly because it’s something out of the ordinary.
And when something is out of the ordinary, it gets their attention. They engage with it.
Now, there’s your basic responsive design – email templates that adapt to the devices they’re being viewed on.
But there’s also interactive email design which has never been easier to implement than it is today.
Some companies use rich media elements to add literal quests to their emails…
…while others prefer sticking to the basics (code-wise) and utilizing rollover effects, gifs or videos:
Again, be as creative as your subscribers would like.
And with enough information about their preferences, you’ll even know if they prefer seeing interactive listings or quizzes.
7. Personalize Your Product Recommendations
One of the best things you can do with email marketing personalization is individualizing your product recommendations to every subscriber.
This is quite simple if you’re using integrations to connect the email tool with the platforms you’re selling your products through. The majority of them offer predictive recommendation features.
When recommending additional products, you have a few options:
- Upselling by offering complementary products
- Cross-selling by offering products of the same type
- Going wild (by offering something new)
8. Other Ways to Personalize Email Marketing
In addition to personalizing product recommendations, you can also personalize emails based on location.
Option #1: Email Marketing Personalization Based on Location
This is especially important if you’re selling in more locations than one.
A reference to your subscriber’s location may just give them the incentive to buy more. Even dropping hints about festivals in, say, Tokyo or the weather in Atlanta could mean a lot to a subscriber who thought you didn’t care where they live.
Another very important way to personalize based on location is time.
If you have subscribers all over the world, you don’t have to stick to one time zone and risk losing everyone else.
You can simply schedule emails to be sent at the optimal time for every location.
Option #2: Email Marketing Personalization Based on Gender
If you offer products for multiple genders, consider doing what Adidas did.
They sent products promoted by Rita Ora to female subscribers, and products promoted by Pharrell Williams to male subscribers.
This way, the emails were more relevant to every subscriber who got them.
Option #3: Personalize Based on Past Purchases
Finally, personalizing based on past purchases is similar to product recommendations with one notable exception:
It’s perfect for perishables!
If you sell a product that has to be restocked, use it and email the customer after the average consumption time has passed.
9. Personalize the Customer Journey with Loyalty Programs
Offering a tiered loyalty program is a great way to use email personalization to sell more.
Firstly, you’ll be staying in touch with your subscribers. Secondly, they’ll be more motivated to buy if they want to reach the next loyalty program tier. And thirdly, you’ll be showing them how much you appreciate them.
When a customer has reached a certain threshold, you can create a personalized behaviour-triggered email for them, offering them a discount or a reward.
And if someone just signed up for the program, you can craft a special email for them, too.
It’s all possible with a little data integration!
10. Personalize the Sender
AKA: Show the people behind your company.
Instead of sending the email from “[COMPANY NAME]” or “[DEPARTMENT NAME]” – make the sender an actual, physical person your subscribers can relate to and feel emotional about.
When HubSpot switched their sender from the sales department to the manager, they got 292 more clicks than before!
While we have more technology at our disposal than ever before, people are craving the human touch.
They want to talk to real people.
And sometimes satisfying them is as simple as signing off with an actual name.
11. Remember the Important Moments
While there is plenty you can do with regular emails, your email marketing efforts will count twice as much when it comes to milestones and birthdays.
You have plenty of options here.
If you sell a product that is used consistently (and you can track the usage), you can celebrate important milestones.
Since milestone emails come with an embedded gamification aspect (achievement and progress), they can also motivate your subscribers to use your product even more.
Bonus points if you tell your user what to do next to achieve even more (e.g. sign up for an advanced course, try out a new feature).
Finally, everyone loves birthdays – and your users will appreciate it if you remember and give them something special.
Sending personalized birthday emails isn’t just good for business – it’s good for your brand, too.
12. Personalize Incentives
Everyone has a different reason for buying your product.
In particular, there are different triggers that will make them whip out their credit card and say:
“That’s it! I need this product in my life and I’m going to buy it today!”
As much as personalizing your email sequences can help nurture them towards this step, they still have to take it.
And you need to know exactly what’s going to make them do it.
Some customers always respond to coupons. They love ‘em and they don’t need anything else. But others buy your product because it reminds them of who they want to become. The third kind may respond best to social proof, and so on.
The best way to understand what the incentives are for particular customers is through data.
You need to look at a lot of numbers to understand which offers certain customers respond best to.
Now, you could look at their historical data manually. Or you could use predictive AI analytics to help you understand different people, and apply it to everyone automatically.
It all depends on the scale and the type of subscribers you want to delight.
And there you have it!
From AI to remembering the right moments, you have endless opportunities to make your emails count.
It’s time to wow your customers!