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5 Effective Ways to Personalize Your Email Marketing for Better Results

email personalization

Want to get better results from your email marketing? Then it’s time to get personal.

A personalized email strategy can drive significant results, including up to 6x higher transaction rates. Other studies have found personalization can improve click-through rates by 14% and conversions by 10%.

But effective personalization is both an art and a science, and creating a well-crafted, engaging email is just part of that process. The science comes in using data intelligently to ensure that your message reaches the right person at just the right time.

In this post, we’ll look at some of the data around personalization and share five ways any company can boost results by getting personal.

Marketers Agree: Personalization is Critical

According to new research from Clutch, a ratings and reviews platform for businesses, most marketers agree on the value of personalization. In fact, 87% agree that personalization is important, and 70% say personalization is a key part of their email marketing efforts.

email marketing practices

Source: Clutch

But in order to be truly effective, personalization needs to be done in a meaningful way. Using a first name or personalizing based on simple demographics, like gender and age, is just the beginning.

“Real personalization places the email communication in context with subscriber needs and delivers a relevant message at the exact time subscribers need it,” said Kayla Lewkowicz, Marketing Coordinator at Litmus.

This observation brings us to our first personalization tip…

1. Timing is Everything

Crafting the perfect email won’t matter if your message never gets seen, buried in your subscribers’ inboxes.

The solution is to tailor the time and day you send your newsletter so that it has the best chance of reaching your audience. Unfortunately, there’s no universal rule for the optimal time to send emails, though it’s a topic many experts have studied.

Some ways to determine your optimal email timing include the following:

  • Look at your own data. When do people tend to engage with your emails?
  • Look at when similar companies send their emails. According to Clutch’s report, most companies send newsletters between 9 and 11 AM Monday and Friday.
  • Make an educated guess about when your audience is likely to read email and run some tests. This approach is how Community.is from Loyal, one popular newsletter, settled on Wednesday at 8 AM as their send time.
  • Use a tool to tailor send times to your audience.

This last bullet can lead to the most personalized send times. Ceros, the subject of one of the case studies in Clutch’s report, is one company that uses this approach.

According to Brad Hess, Director of Demand Generation, the company uses a tool called Seventh Sense, which analyzes how all subscribers engage with your emails and determines the best time to send an email on an individual basis.

2. Share Product Recommendations

Emails that take into account the subscriber’s history and behavior can be extremely effective. They can even help you retain and re-engage an inactive customer.

Behavioral emails are personalized by how users have engaged with your website. For instance, by tracking a user’s browsing history or past purchases, you could send a personalized email reminding them of items they looked at or share suggestions of similar products they might be interested in.

This tactic is particularly popular with retailers like Amazon and Target, as well as sites like Airbnb, Spotify and others. It can be an effective tactic, yet it’s one not all marketers are taking advantage of.

According to one study the conversion rate of visitors who clicked on product recommendations is 5.5x higher, yet only 39% of online retailers send personalized recommendations via email.

3. Put Your Transactional Emails to Work

You don’t have to send a separate email to try this tactic. Transactional emails, like receipts, order confirmations, and account notifications are opened at a rate 8x higher than promotional emails.

Adding personalization to those emails, for example, by recommending other items customers might be interested in, can help those emails drive even greater results for your company.

4. Start With the Subject

A personalized subject line, especially if it’s clever, can help drive opens. In the example below, WeddingWire, an online wedding marketplace, used clever, customized hashtags, based on subscribers’ names, to drive opens and clicks.

According to HubSpot, this tactic inspired the recipient not only to click on the email and check out their hashtag tool but also to forward the email to others.

personalized subject lines in email

Source: Hubspot

The data backs up this approach, with research showing that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.

5. Celebrate the Milestones

According to Campaign Monitor, birthday emails are one of the most effective emails you can send.

  • Birthday emails have a 481% higher transaction rate than promotional emails.
  • Birthday emails generate 342% higher revenue per email than promotional emails.
  • Birthday emails have 179% higher unique click rates than promotional emails.

Campaign Monitor

This is a great opportunity to send a discount or coupon, free gift with purchase, or offer free shipping.

offers in email

Source: Campaign Monitor

But don’t limit yourself to just your customers’ birthdays. Anniversary emails are another milestone worthy of an email. This could be your company’s anniversary, as in the Banana Republic email below:

Or it could be the date that the subscriber became a customer or joined your email list, as in this newsletter from ModCloth:

recognizing customer anniversaries in email

Source: Hubspot

This format is a great option if you’d like to take advantage of the effectiveness of birthday emails but don’t know your subscribers’ actual birth dates.

Final Thoughts

Newsletters can play a huge role in building an engaged audience, but in order to accomplish this, your emails must offer real value.

Personalization is one of the best ways to accomplish this. But to be effective, it should go well beyond name and demographics. You need to really dive into the heart of what your subscribers need and why they do business with you.

Whether you’re sharing tailored content or product recommendations or sending a perfectly timed discount or offer, make sure value-driven personalization is a part of your email strategy.

Sarah Patrick is a senior content developer and marketer at Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews firm in the heart of Washington, DC. She’s the digital marketing lead, focused on developing data-driven resources about social media, email marketing, content marketing and marketing automation.

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