6 Email Personalization Techniques You Can Start Using in Your Campaigns

Pauline Farris
7 min read
Sep 7, 2018
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Email personalization techniques valentines card

As sophisticated digital marketing strategies continue to evolve and produce impressive results, a question that often comes up is: “is email marketing still relevant?”

It is. Its average ROI of $44 for every $1 spent shouldn’t and will not go away anytime soon.

Thanks to its impressive ROI, 86 percent of B2C marketers use email, according to B2C Content Marketing 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends.

One of the secrets of such amazing performance of email marketing is personalization. It is an act of targeting emails to a specific recipient by leveraging available information about them. Using this technique in your email marketing can dramatically increase your results because it allows connecting with your audience in a new and meaningful way.

For example, an online clothing retailer JustFab increased its revenue by 103 percent thanks to personalization. Traci Inglis, CMO of JustFab, was shocked to find out that they were able to increase revenues without any promotions.

“But what really surprised me,” says Ingis, “was simply by saying “happy birthday” we had a 34 percent lift over the control in revenue. Simply by saying happy birthday! No promotion — just having that relevant message to a customer.”

In this guide, you’re going to learn everything you need to use personalization not only to reach inboxes but also humans.

How to Start with Personalization

First and foremost, personalization in email marketing is a very broad term that includes a number of tactics that use the data and information a business has about customers.

For example, the people who subscribed to your newsletter or made a purchase from your online store left details like an email address, name, the product they bought, the city they live in, and a plethora of other data points. They could also provide this information in customer surveys conducted by businesses.

This data is the foundation of personalization.

For example, if you didn’t know where your customers lived, it would be pointless and to send them an email informing that your ship to a specific city for free.

If you did send that email, though, the recipients would perceive it as irrelevant to their needs. You know what people like to do with irrelevant email that annoy them? The answer is simple: spam folder.

That’s why you need personalization. To make sure that you’re doing it the right way from the start, you need to have a plan. Ask yourself the following questions:

The answers to these questions will provide you with the information you need to begin.

Personalization Techniques

Technique #1: Include the Name of the Recipient in the Subject Line

This is a basic but incredibly effective technique that you can start with.

Including the name in the subject line is a simple yet powerful modification. It makes the interaction with the customer more human and is an important part of your relationship marketing.

The effectiveness of this technique has been proven by numerous studies. For example, Marketing Land found that emails with personalized subject lines were 26 percent more likely to be opened compared to those without.

A number of different businesses participated in this study (see the full list below), but travel companies achieved the most impact.

Experian email marketing study personalized subject lines

Using this technique is very easy: include the name of the recipient in the subject line to make it look like you’re having a conversation with them. For example, here’s how Uber does it.

Uber personalized email mailbox

Technique #2: Personalized Statistics and Data

Let’s suppose you’re providing an online service to customers. They use your web-based service and achieve certain milestones, such as months of usage or some success indicators.

Letting them know about their performance encourages them to do more or return to using your tool/service once again!

For example, here’s how an online proofreading service Grammarly lets their users know about their weekly performance. The email contains personalized stats such as the number of checked words and a writing streak.

This is a good move because it lets the recipient know that they’re doing a good job and Grammarly helps them to make their writing better. Besides, the email praises the recipient by saying that they were more productive than 96 percent of all users!

“Many writers track their performance to determine their total output,” says Neightan White, a content writer at Supreme Dissertations. “That’s why emails like these are super helpful for them.”

Grammarly weekly writing update summary

Technique #3: Perfect Timing

Of course, the best time to send emails to your target audience ultimately depends on the nature of your business and your customers (it also depends on time zone and even language, so check out local times and get a translation service to localize the content if required). However, one can make some reasonable conclusions by studying the results of marketing studies.

Entrepreneur has compiled data from multiple studies and found the following:

Technique #4: Personalized Offers based on a Customer’s Behavior

A customer’s browsing experience is a great source of information for email marketing. For example, if a subscribed visitor has viewed a product but didn’t buy it, chances are they’re hesitating whether to make the purchase.

You can encourage them to do it by sending an email and reminding them that the product is waiting for them. Some businesses even give discounts on these products for a maximum effect.

Here’s how an online clothing store Adam Shop does it.

Adam shop personalized offer email

Technique #5: Personalize Your Business

Personalization isn’t limited to using customers’ information and data. To make the communication with your subscribers easier, you should also “humanize” your business (make it more approachable, relatable, and reachable). Why?

“People tend to connect with other people, not businesses,” explains James Daily, Head of Content Department at Flash Essay. “There’s nothing worse for them than receiving an email from a corporate email address that starts with Dear customer.”

A great example of brand personalization comes from HubSpot, a well-known marketing software company.

Brand personalization hubspot mail from a real employee

As you can see, the sender of the email is a real person working for the company. This technique makes your emails feel much more personal.

In fact, HubSpot conducted an A/B testing to determine the effect of inserting a real person’s name in their promotional emails and found that recipients were more likely to open them. Here are the complete results of their study.

Hubspot a/b testing on putting real person name in email

Source: Hubspot

As you can see, the results show an improvement in the two most important email marketing performance indicators: open rate and click-through rate.

Technique #6: Wish Happy Birthday!

This is a nice gesture that helps to connect with a subscriber in a meaningful way and make them feel special. As we mentioned in the introduction, emails like the one from Gap below are able to increase the revenue by more than 30 percent.

Happy birthday email marketing birthday offer

Time to Personalize

Email marketing is here to stay. It produces significant benefits for businesses if done properly, and personalization is a big part of its success. Keeping up-to-date on personalization and other email marketing best techniques allow you to continually enhance your digital marketing and reap a good ROI.

Feel free to use this article as a go-to source for the best email personalization techniques. Let your emails reach both inboxes and humans!

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