Personalized Email Marketing

This blog post was originally published June 26, 2018, and updated for August 12, 2019.


Consumers are more connected across more devices than ever before, thanks to the booming growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). At the same time, consumers increasingly value being treated as individuals and personalized marketing is one-to-one marketing in its truest sense.

Personalization that reflects previous interaction with the brand is more impactful than basic personalization. According to Capgemini, more than 60% of shoppers appreciate when an online store speeds up the check-out process because it remembers their personal and payment information. That being said, there needs to be a balance between providing information relevant to a customer’s needs and appearing creepy, for lack of a better term.

In general, the focus of personalized marketing is on giving specific content to the people who will find it most relevant with the goal of engaging consumers by communicating with each person as an individual. When customers provide personal information, they expect to be treated as individuals, to receive tailored communications. 75% of consumers are more likely to purchase when they are recognized by name, have options recommended based on previous purchases, or a business shows knowledge of their purchasing history.

The benefits of personalized marketing are numerous. It generates more leads and increases the odds of engagement and increases conversions. It also makes conversions easier when preferences and information are “remembered” and the purchasing process is streamlined to a minimal number of steps.

Personalized marketing drives revenue and especially increases the ROI when a business can identify a consumer’s preferred channel for communication. Monetate found in 2017 that 79% of companies that exceeded their revenue goals have a personalization strategy in place. It allows for a shorter sales cycle while providing a greater ROI. And not only are sales increased, so too, is the user experience.

Improved user experience becomes a pivotal factor as customers are more comfortable providing personal information to a trusted business. This individualized marketing approach strengthens relationships with customers, making a stronger connection with personalized content.

Personalization lowers customer frustrations. Instead of having to wade through hundreds of items on a website, they are automatically shown what is calculated to be the most relevant to them based on behavioral and contextual data. It bridges the gap between what is available and what is needed or wanted.

It also strengthens customer loyalty and increases brand loyalty. It improves customer retention and encourages repeat business. Epsilon found that 80% of customers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalization. Consumers are more willing to share their personal information when they know it will be used for their benefit (and used responsibly).

Personalized emails have higher open and click-through rates than non-personalized communications. You can personalize not only emails but also your website, mobile app, discounts, and recommendations. You can send custom video messages or product recommendations based on previous online behaviors. Throughout these campaigns, be sure to listen carefully to customer feedback. Are they taking advantage of or responding to communications or unsubscribing as a result of receiving them?

Analytics is an essential part of personalized marketing. Automating data collection tasks and utilizing personalization technology will leave your staff time to convert instead of engaging in initial communications. Deep learning technology provides more personal and accurate data points by utilizing insights on behaviors that inform when is the right time and what are the right format and channel for the communication.

Data management platforms collect and manage large data sets. Customer relationship management platforms manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout a relationship and across different channels. These technologies can provide personal information, purchasing history, and buying preferences.

Infosys found that 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized to them. Through tracking and analyzing on-site behavior, a customer management system can establish which website content to show each visitor.

Personalized marketing presents engaging, one-on-one interactions with consumers and allows businesses to better understand the impact and ROI of their marketing efforts. However, the personalization has to be authentic so customers feel valued and appreciated. This marketing approach works best when it is relevant and useful because that is when it prompts engagement.

Personalizing your email marketing doesn’t have to be a struggle. There are a number of straightforward ways to use personalization that go beyond using someone’s name. Here are some specific, actionable personalization techniques to increase the effectiveness of your email campaigns:


To best segment your lists, build customer personas then create segment-specific content.

Campaign Monitor found that marketers have noted a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns. Instead of sending the same email to your entire list of contacts, create unique segments that allow you to personalize the content you send to each subgroup within your target audience. How much you segment depends on your business, goals, audiences, and content.

Segmenting can be taken even further by using customer personas. Customer personas are built by using a compendium of data. Many brands opt to use demographic information, website behavior, and download history to better understand their visitors and develop a more personalized experience for customers. They then group customers into different personas using a mix of attributes and actions they take.

Once you have segmented your contacts, emails and the content for those emails should be created specifically for each segment. The more relevant and specific the emails are to the particular segment, the more personalized and therefore effective the results will be. When it comes to the copy, you should write to the individual. Make your copy sound like it has an audience of one, using a professional, but conversational tone. Try to be human and the email comes across as personal, even if it’s going to a thousand people.


Leverage the Best Use of Time and Location

Certain times of day are more effective than others when it comes to sending emails. Your target audience might prefer getting an email at seven in the morning or they might respond better to getting one at three in the afternoon. Either way, A/B testing is the best way to determine the optimum time to send your emails.

That being said, it is unlikely that all of your customers are in a single location or prone to respond to emails at the same time. Your audience may live in different time zones resulting in some people receiving your messages at non-optimal times. To handle this challenge, use your customers’ data to segment the time at which your emails push out.

Analyze past open histories and send your emails at the most optimum time for each subscriber. BustedTees realized excellent benefits from this approach. They experienced an 11% higher click-through rate as well as an 8% increase in email revenue.


Set Up Emails That Are Automatically Triggered by Consumer Behaviors

Triggered emails are part of a process that is also called behavioral marketing automation. Basically, emails are triggered by specific actions taken, or not taken, by website visitors. Have you ever filled up an online shopping cart and then closed the window without making a purchase? Remember receiving an email shortly thereafter reminding you that you have items in a shopping cart? That is a basic example of a triggered email.

Triggered emails are real-time reactions to how people are interacting online with your brand and have a 70% higher open rate compared to traditional marketing. Use triggered emails as a communication tool to welcome, re-engage, up-sell, cross-sell and more.


Create Landing Pages Specific to Personalized Emails

Personalizing emails is the first step toward targeting your customer more effectively. A second step to pair with the personalization is to create landing pages specific to those personalized emails. Ensure that emails and landing page have a consistent look and copy. Both should also offer the same personalized call to action for each specific customer. This consistency will provide a seamless experience from one channel to the next and increase the likelihood of version.


In Summary

In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, content and approaches need to be continuously reinvented to execute the most effective campaigns possible. Personalization works. It engages your brand with targeted customers and enhances your email marketing strategies. Focus on what customer data you have or are able to collect and how it might be used to create individualized messaging.

Counteract people’s constant bombardment of emails with a unique online experience that caters to the interests and needs of your target audience. Help consumers feel connected to your brand by building a sense of community and fostering relationships on a one-to-one basis.

The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing understand that personalization is an ongoing process and requires constant analysis and tweaking of your marketing efforts. Our team would love to use our experience and expertise to help you create and distribute high-quality, engaging content.  Contact us today to learn more about how you can make personalized marketing work for your brand.

Cover photo by from Pexels