5 remarkably effective email personalization tactics

McKenzie Gregory


Consider these two scenarios:

Scenario #1: You’re grabbing a cup of coffee on the way to work. You order what you want, pay for it, get your coffee, and go on your way.

Scenario #2: You’re grabbing a cup of coffee on the way to work. The barista smiles and greets you by name – in fact, he started making your regular order as soon as you walked in. You pay for it (adding in a nice tip, of course), get your coffee, and go on your way.

The first scenario isn’t a negative one: You paid what you expected, got what you ordered… everything went off without a hitch. But though the fundamentals of the purchase are the same, the second experience feels so much better. You’re much more likely to keep coming back to that shop for your coffee fix, right?

The same holds true in the digital world: Incredible experiences will almost always win. According to a study from Adestra, a whopping 96% of organizations believe that personalization can improve email marketing performance and conversions. But we’re not talking about simply sticking your recipient’s first name in a subject line and calling it a day. Instead, try these 5 remarkably effective personalization tactics to ensure each and every one of your customers gets treated like – and eventually becomes – a regular.



1. Ask your subscribers what they want



If you want to serve your audience ultra-personalized emails, you need to learn a little bit more about them first. Many marketers shy away from putting a lot of fields on their signup form (and rightfully so). But here’s the thing: Most people are willing to part with information if they know it will mean getting something of value in return (aka, content and offers that are actually helpful and relevant to their interests). 

Or, if you’d rather take another route, include an email in your welcome series that asks subscribers to update their preferences, along with the promise that they'll receive emails catered to them. You’ll be shocked at the kind of response rates this kind of email gets – especially if you keep things simple, focused, and direct the CTA to a mobile-optimized form on your website.




2. Segment by demographics

Email marketers need an efficient way to group subscribers by basic information like age, gender, location – you know, all the stuff you can use to develop personas and determine what content, products, and services might interest your audience. That’s where segmentation comes in. By dicing your audience into relevant segments, it’s possible to tailor email messaging to each individual subscriber. And as your audience grows and you learn more about them, your emails will become more targeted with every send.



3. Segment by behavior

Once you’ve segmented by basic demographics, amp up the relevancy of your emails by segmenting by behavior (like engagement with previous mailings, purchase history, or website visits). That way, you can make sure your campaigns are personalized to your consumers' interests and habits – both inside and outside the inbox. 




4. Use dynamic content

Dynamic content is a tool that allows you to tailor campaigns to individual subscribers based on the data you’ve collected about them – all within a single mailing. For instance, you could send one email where the images and offer change based on the gender identity (or past buying behavior) of your subscribers. Since you only have to build the campaign and hit “send” once, it makes email personalization as efficient and effortless as possible.




5.  Take advantage of automation

Email automation does all the heavy lifting for you, and it's the ultimate way to ensure you’re sending the right message to the right subscribers at exactly the right time. Since you can set it up ahead of time, you don’t have to constantly monitor your subscribers’ actions and update accordingly – your automated campaign will know exactly what and when to send based on parameters you predetermine. It’s pretty awesome stuff.

We actually just enhanced our own automation suite with some super helpful new features that we think you’ll love. Take a look!



What email personalization tactics are working for your brand? Sound off in the comments!



About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

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