personalized email marketing

Five Easy Ways to Personalize Your Next Email Marketing Campaign

Last updated on: 2019


Learn how to personalize your next email campaign with these five tips

In 2019, personalized email marketing campaigns should no longer be regarded as an optional practice, but instead must be integrated into any email marketer’s best practices. Not only has email personalization been simplified by ESP’s (aka email service provider) ever-evolving functionalities, but data also shows that personalized emails can help boost customer engagement and conversions.

Surprisingly, for many email marketers, the implementation of personalized email marketing campaigns has remained an uncharted territory, but this does not have to be the case. It’s never too late to personalize your emails — and to prove just that, we have outlined five ways that you can use personalization in your next email marketing campaign.

# 1. Personalize Your Subject Lines and Copy

Requirements: Subscriber’s First Name

This is perhaps the easiest email personalization tactic you can implement. All that you’ll need is the subscriber’s first name, which you should already be collecting on sign up. By simply adding a subscriber’s name to the subject line or copy of the email, you immediately spark a personal connection with your audience. In the process, you’ll also heighten the reader’s interest in your email. In the two comparisons below, you’ll notice how the tone of the subject line and copy transforms with the single addition of a first name.

Personalized Email Marketing - Personalized vs non personalized email

# 2. Personalized Email Marketing Campaign Send Times

Requirements: Subscribers Geolocation

It is safe to say that not all your subscribers reside in the same time zone, so why are you still scheduling an email to your entire audience at the same time? This is especially true if your audience is comprised of international users. This is a more subtle type of personalization, but it is essential in preventing your email campaign from being sent at inconvenient times. Below we’ve listed the expected time a recipient will receive an email scheduled at 7 a.m. EST based on the subscriber’s time zone.

Personalized Email Marketing - Time zones

Now, do you really want to send that email at 7 a.m. EST to your entire list? To avoid sending emails at the least optimal time (10 p.m. – 5 a.m.), personalize your email send times by segmenting your audience based on a time zone criteria. Before you segment, we recommend confirming whether your ESP has any of the below features:

Optimized Time for Maximum Engagement: This option will send your email at the “optimal” time based on the user’s historical email activity. By aggregating the open timestamp of a subscriber, the ESP can determine what hour a user is more likely to open and engage with your email.

Timewarp: The Timewarp feature enables you to schedule your email based on individual subscriber time zone. Normally, if you send your email at 10 a.m. EST, all your west coast subscribers WILL receive that same email at 7 a.m. PST. However, when using Timewarp all subscribers, no matter their time zone will receive the same email at 10 a.m.

All three of these features are now an option amongst popular ESPs and will guarantee that your email marketing campaign is delivered at the best time based on your subscriber’s location.

# 3. Personalized Recommendations

Requirements: User Data Points

One of the best ways to personalize emails is to ask the right questions. Many marketers will bypass this step simply because they’re either unfamiliar with the process of creating user profiles or are unaware of the benefits of creating these individual personas. You can ask relevant questions during the subscription process within your sign-up form, or even send a follow-up email encouraging subscribers to build their own persona.

So how does this work and why is it important? Let’s say you manage an ecommerce store and are selling hair color products. You’re going to want to ask questions in order to build a comprehensive profile around a user’s historical hair color preference. For example:

  • Gender
  • Natural hair color
  • Last hair color shade
  • Favorite color
  • Noticed any grey hair lately?

Just like that you now have five critical data points that will help you build powerful campaigns. You don’t have to use all the user data points to build a targeted campaign. Start small and combine one to three of these data points on your first campaign. In this example, we’ll begin by combining three data points.

  • Gender: Male
  • Natural Color: Black
  • Grey Hairs: Yes

Before you continue reading, can you think of a suitable product recommendation by a hair color brand that has access to a segment with the below criteria?

Must be maleAND must have natural black hairAND must show signs of grey hair

If you’re thinking of recommending a variation of a “Men’s Black Color Formula for Targeting Grey Hairs” then you’re getting the hang of it. Bonus points if you’re also thinking of recommending a specialized product for targeting grey beard hairs.

Easy right? This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating audience segments with the purpose of deploying personalized campaigns. As an exercise, try coming up with other product recommendations using any of the original five data points. Remember, start small by incorporating a couple of criteria points and as you get more comfortable you can experiment with more advanced targeting. Soon you’ll start unlocking the full potential of your audience.

#4 Personalized Re-Engagement Campaigns

Requirements: Historical User Engagement

After months of scheduling email marketing campaigns, you might notice that some of your users will engage very little or not at all. If this is the case, then it’s time to create a personalized email campaign in order to get your inactive subscribers opening and clicking again. To do so, you will need to combine some of the concepts you’ve just learned. Here are the steps to personalize your next re-engagement campaign:

1. Personalize the subject line: When in doubt, personalize the subject line. It is very rare that using a subscriber’s first name in the subject will backfire.

2. User segmentation: Create a segment based on user activity. Since we are targeting inactive users, you might want to start creating a segment that has not engaged in more than three months.

3. Personalized Incentive: Considering that these users have not engaged with your regular campaigns, you will need to offer an incentive or some sort of added value within your email. Some content ideas include:

  • Highlight website updates or recent launches. Subscribers are more likely to engage with an announcement and update emails.
  • Added member perks. Have you recently offered free shipping or deployed a members reward program? A re-engagement email is an effective way to recapture subscribers who are looking for these unique perks.
  • Limited exclusive discounts. Offer a sizable discount with an expiration date. This will not only promote sought after savings, but it will also create a sense of urgency for your inactive audience.

There is no point in sending a re-engagement campaign that has not been personalized at all, as it will likely not receive very high engagement. The true power of personalization fully displays in a re-engagement campaign and demonstrates that a little personalization can go a long way — even with users you were ready to give up on.

#5 Personalized Re-Engagement Campaigns

Requirements: User’s Birthday

This is by far the most fun email marketing campaign to personalize, and it’s also a great opportunity to strengthen the brand relationship with your users. After all, who doesn’t appreciate their birthday being remembered? To personalize your birthday email campaign, all you need is your subscriber’s birthdate (month and day will suffice). From there, you can deploy an automated trigger based on subscriber’s birth date field. Here is an example of a birthday email campaign that highlights all the personalized elements that can be incorporated into your own automated birthday email.

Personalized Email Marketing - birthday email

Looking for more email marketing tips? Check out our Email category to read more!

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