Email is a powerful sales tool. It’s at least 40x more effective than social media, and has a much bigger reach than events. Because of this, it’s important that the emails your sending are done right.
Personalization ranks as one of the most critical email campaign factors. It draws the reader in, fosters a relationship, and encourages trust. Using a person’s name is a significant first step, but there are many ways to personalize an email and let a customer know that you care.
If your email campaigns aren’t bringing the results you want, perhaps it’s time you incorporated our six email personalization techniques. These methods will make your emails stand out from the others fighting for attention in a customer’s inbox.
1. Mention the Recipient Directly
“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
The most well-used and well-known method of email personalization, and a perfect technique for building an initial connection. Imagine going to your favorite restaurant, but no one ever seems to remember you. It’s always a better experience when the head waiter recognizes you.
When it comes to digital, the data doesn’t lie. Using a customer’s name makes it more likely that they’ll journey further down the sales funnel and trust the research you present them with. Studies have shown that 63% of Millennials, 58% of Gen Xers, and 46% of Baby Boomers are more likely to click on emails that mentioned them by name.
However, resist the urge to pepper your entire email with their name. Too many mentions and the email will sound contrived. “Barry, this solutions is going to solve all your needs, Barry” – avoid sentences like this, you’ll push Barry away instead of drawing him closer.
2. Segment Your Email Lists
It’s unlikely that all your customers need to receive each and every email you send.
Stand out by only sending relevant emails to relevant parties. If you sell a variety of products, you don’t need to alert gizmo owners to a big sale for add-ons that only fit widgets. You only need to inform widget owners.
You can handle this process easily by segmenting your email list. A well-segmented email list is going to look different depending on your products, company, and customer base. However, at its core, it should seek to reflect a customer benefit analysis – I.e., what emails will most benefit what groups?
It would help if you also segmented your email lists based on where each person is on their buyer’s journey. Those who are just becoming aware that they have a problem that needs solving should receive a different email than those ready to purchase.
Creating a simple and easy to follow chart for customer progression is a great way to visualize how this segmentation process would work. We’ve put together a simple map to chart a buyer’s journey to cart abandonment.
3. Personalize Email Content
Personalization involves more than using a customer’s name.
A good example of a personalized email that uses more than a person’s name is one Open Table sent to restaurant diners that noted what the customers had recently ordered. By recognizing the buying history of a customer, Open Table implied that future visits would be better and more personalized.
Moreover, these emails helped to encourage and foster a community around the table booking service. Customers weren’t just finding a table, they were leaving reviews, building up a history, and contributing to something.
Emails that invite customers to be a part of something help to build trust and loyalty. For brands that rely on repeat purchases, emails that draw attention to community can lead to much higher customer retention rates.
4. Deliver Personalized Information
Don’t just deliver personalized product recommendations, deliver personalized information too. The buyer’s journey isn’t a single purchasing stage, it’s a model for funneling customers towards making a purchase. Before a customer makes it to the purchasing stage, they first weight up their options. This is where great, personalized content comes in.
Line up your website content with your email segments. Send those interested in tennis shoes articles about tennis shoes and those interested in bowler hats, articles on bowler hats. Contributing to a buyer’s consideration stage in this way doesn’t only help to improve retention, but can also lead to your becoming an influencer.
5. Use Location and Time
Everyone has a time of the day for checking their emails. It’s not always a time of day that you would have considered.
Busted Tees, a humorous tee shirt company, optimized their email campaigns by looking at the best times for sending emails and saw their click-through rate rise by 11%.
Email monitoring tools are useful for logging the open times for emails you send. Typically, a distinct pattern will emerge. Once you’ve learned your customer’s favorite email times, you can then send your emails at precisely that time – maybe even a little before.
6. A/B Test Content and Segment Techniques
For Busted Tees, the first step toward personalization was to segment its customers. The company grouped them by the time zone in which they lived.
Previously, all emails were sent at the same time — 10am EST. The new email segments aimed to target each customer at 10am, regardless of what time zone they were in. The company saw a significant email response rate increase.
They then tried different times of the day, to see if there were better times than 10am. A/B tests, where two variables are pitted against each other to determine the more effective way of doing something, were implemented and led to the discovery of several effective sending times. Overall, they managed to increase their response rate by 17%.
Email personalization best practices aren’t difficult to execute, but they do involve more than blasting generic greetings and cut-and-paste messages. It’s important to target your customers with content they care about.
A relevant email is more likely to draw attention, clicks, and ultimately purchases. By combining relevancy with testing, it won’t take long before you’re sending interesting email campaigns that promote your brand and help you to build a community.
Personalization takes a little extra work, but there’s a reason more successful marketers insist on doing it. It works.