Email Personalization Best Practices for Better Engagement and Conversions

Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s toolkit, but with so many businesses leveraging this strategy, it’s essential to stand out from the crowd.

One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through email personalization. By tailoring your emails to the individual recipient, you can create a more meaningful and relevant experience that drives engagement, conversions, and ultimately, revenue.

In this article, we’ll explore the best practices for email personalization, from collecting data to using segmentation and dynamic content, so you can take your email marketing strategy to the next level.

What is email personalization, and why is it important?

Email personalization is a piece of the puzzle in any good email marketing strategy, where you utilize customer data to tailor your email marketing to each individual subscriber.

When I say “customer data”, I mean things like names, a customer’s birthday, shopping preferences, and online behavioral data; generally as much data as possible. The more data, the more you know about your subscribers and the more personalized emails you can send.

This doesn’t have to be limited at addressing your subscribers by their first name in the subject line; you can use dynamic content, personalized images, behavior-triggered emails, and much more to create targeted emails for your email marketing campaigns. Personalized subject lines are just the start, and there are many more email marketing personalization strategies that can improve any email campaign they’re used in.

As for why email personalization is important, here are a few statistics from Connect 365 CEO Josh Turner:

  • Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened than non-personalized emails.
  • 91% of consumers say that they are more willing to do business with a company that provides offers directly relevant to them.
  • 36% of people want companies to provide more personalized experiences.
  • 72% of consumers say they only respond to messages aimed directly at them.
  • Marketers typically see a 20% increase in sales revenue when their email campaigns are personalized.

These are just a few statistics from the list provided by Josh Turner, but the general message is clear: the more personalized email marketing you do, the greater customer engagement and click-through rates will be.

According to Campaign Monitor, the average person receives 121 business emails per day, and the average email open rate is between 20 and 40% for those emails. That means that, out of 121 emails, the average person opens between 24 and 48 of those emails per day.

Campaign Monitor also finds that, utilizing email marketing personalization, those open rates can be improved by up to 26%. That takes the range of 24 and 48 emails opened per day up to between 55 and 80 per day.

In short, customers respond much better when you personalize your emails, and personalization in email marketing can help you reach new customers and re-engage current customers more efficiently than emails without personalization techniques employed.

Best Practices for Personalized Email Marketing & Email Personalization Examples

Segment Your Audience

Having a large audience is a good thing, but if you’re not addressing that audience at a personal level, then you’re not making the most of your email list you’ve worked so hard to curate.

Many people make this mistake and send very generalized emails to their entire audience, which is the exact opposite of personalized communication. Your emails might not quite resonate with anyone because of how general they are, but there is an easy way to start personalizing your emails quickly and efficiently: audience segmentation.

Audience segmentation is the practice of dividing your email list into smaller groups based on specific characteristics or behaviors. These can be demographic, behavioral, goal-based, et cetera.

For example, a business owner that sells both men’s and women’s clothing can segment their email list based on gender. They can then send targeted emails to each segment, highlighting the products that are most relevant to each group.

The criteria you use to segment your audience depends on your industry and your goals with your email campaigns.

Overall, audience segmentation is a crucial part of email personalization because it helps businesses to create more relevant and engaging emails that drive higher open and click-through rates, conversions, and customer loyalty.

Consider Browsing History

Another of the major email personalization techniques that is fairly easy to implement is utilizing customer browsing history.

When I say browsing history, I mean things like what pages a customer visits, how long they visit those pages for, online shopping cart activity, and other things like that which can be tracked with cookies.

With this information, you can send a follow-up email with a personalized subject line about an item they had been looking at or an item in their cart that they hadn’t purchased yet.

Monitor Customer Personas

Audience segmentation is a good first step as email personalization strategies go, but if you don’t know what to do with those audience segments, then it’ll be difficult for you or your business to employ personalization in a way that benefits your business.

If you’ve segmented your audience but don’t know which segment to focus your efforts on, then you can use customer personas to determine which audience segments you should focus your efforts on and how to personalize your emails to get those segments to convert into landing page or website visits.

Customer personas (or customer profiles) are fictional representations of a business’s ideal customer based on market research and subscribers’ data from existing customers. This includes demographic information, behaviors, goals, and pain points.

Having a customer persona can help businesses understand their target audience better and tailor their marketing efforts to meet their needs. After all, if the customer persona is the profile of a customer most likely to make a purchase, then it would only make sense for email marketers to focus their efforts on specific customers that match that profile to maximize profit for minimal effort.

At that point, it might only take one timely email from the business to encourage customers matching the customer persona to make a purchase.

Overall, using customer personas as a part of email personalization helps businesses to create more effective and engaging email campaigns that resonate with their target audience. By understanding their subscribers’ needs, preferences, and pain points, businesses can create more relevant messages and personalized emails that drive results.

Use Triggered Emails

One of the easiest email personalization techniques is email automation, more specifically behavior-triggered emails or just triggered emails.

Triggered emails are automated emails that are sent using email marketing software when a subscriber takes an action or behaves a certain way. Because of this, when they are triggered, these emails are the most relevant message that you could send in that moment.

According to Barilliance, triggered email campaigns generate 306% more click-throughs per email than non-triggered emails.

Out of all email personalization techniques, this one might be the easiest. It doesn’t require you to actually personalize emails, and that’s because they’re made into personalized emails when they’re sent to a customer after that customer triggers them.

In short, if a customer can trigger emails that you’ve created, they become personalized the moment they are triggered because the customer caused that email to be sent.

Some examples of triggered emails are abandoned cart emails, post-purchase follow-up emails, product recommendation emails, and re-engagement emails.

Send Emails From a Person, Not From a Company

This strategy is something you can test on yourself. Just think, if you get an email from a generic company email address with no profile picture, how likely are you to open it?

Now, in another scenario, imagine you get an email from a person representing that company , with their company position listed and with a picture of them as their profile photo.

It’s likely that you’ll open the second email more often than the first email, because it’ll feel like you’re communicating with an actual person as opposed to a business.

According to Campaign Monitor, 68% of Americans say they base their decision to open an email on the “from” name, and if the “from” name is a person and not a business, then they’re more likely to open that email.

If the “from” name for your email campaign is a real person, then your business will have a unique human element that a faceless brand’s emails wouldn’t have otherwise.

Use Personalized Content

Now that you’ve gotten a handle on how to personalize where your emails are sent from, you can focus on personalized emails themselves and the content they contain.

The content of your email is the driver of conversions for your brand, and a business needs those conversions in order to stay profitable. In order to start personalizing emails, you can start with these few methods:

  • Subject line & body: Simply put, you can make your content less formal and add a pinch of humor into your copy. This is a common strategy marketers use to make their emails feel less like marketing and more like conversation, which makes customers more likely to reply or visit their page.
  • Images: Adding a personalized image into your emails can never hurt either. One example I’ve seen from several brands is a type of recap image, where the brand shows you statistics about your relationship with the brand like when you joined their email list, what products you’ve bought in the past, and what you might want to buy in the future.
  • Call-to-Action (CTA): If someone has visited a product page or has put a product into their shopping cart, then you could customize your CTA for them to create a sense of urgency, for example through a discount or a promotion available for a limited time only. These kinds of personalized emails will be the ones to create conversions, and are the most valuable personalized emails as a result. Thus, the CTA must be as good and personalized as possible to maximize conversions.

Conclusion

Email personalization is a growing facet of email marketing and marketing automation, and personalized email is critical for businesses looking to reach their customers through an email marketing tool.