This post was updated on December 12, 2018.
Email personalization is a way to authentically connect with
your subscribers by sending targeted and relevant content that
matters most to them. If subscribers don’t feel like they matter
to your brand, then most likely, your brand won’t matter to
Personalized emails not only trump traditional “email
increase open rates by 26% and generate a 760% increase in email
Email marketers are starting to see the true value in and how it
relates to ROI. We recently surveyed marketers about what their top
goals and biggest challenges were for their email marketing
strategies – 38% said
improving email personalization was their number one goal, and
36% of marketers listed email personalization as their biggest
We took the survey a step further and asked what they felt the
most effective email personalization tactics were for email
In this post, we’ll discuss 7 important email personalization
tactics and how you can engage your subscribers in a meaningful
1. Email list segmentation
According to our survey, the
best way to improve email personalization is through using
email list segmentation. While many marketers feel that email
personalization can be challenging, having the right marketing
tools in place will allow you to automate email campaigns in a
segmented and personalized way.
Creating different segmented lists
enable you to develop dynamic content for each target audience
you want to reach. Different contacts need different things
depending on a number of factors.
Collecting relevant data about your subscribers is the first
step to segmenting relevant email lists and obtaining quality
contacts. One of the best ways to do this is
through your signup forms when someone wants to receive
newsletters or learn more about your company.
Asking your subscribers about their geographical location,
gender, age, profession, interests, etc.
is important when creating segmented email lists. You can even
use data about a subscriber’s stage in the buyer’s journey and
what their past email activity has been.
For example, if you are a health insurance company and you are
implementing a new policy that will mostly benefit singles on the
East Coast who are between the ages of 26 – 36, you can use
automation to build out a list of your contacts who fall within
that criteria, and create an email that tells them about this offer
in an engaging and personalized way.
2. Individualized email messaging
Once you have segmented email lists in place, you can start
thinking about how you can make your emails more personalized. If
you individualize each message, you show your subscribers that you
are paying attention to who they are and what they care about the
MarketingSherpa found that open rates increase by 41% when a
personalized subject line is used.
According to Aleks Peterson, Editor of TechnolgyAdvice, “If you call
[your prospects] by name, speak to their pain points, objectives,
challenges, hesitations, and role responsibilities at the right
time and place, you will see a return.”
Individualized email messaging goes way beyond including
someone’s first name
in a subject line – you need to create engaging content that
relates to their needs. This can include sending out personalized
images and videos, including names or recent purchases within your
email content, sending out product-focused content that only
relates to certain email lists, and getting creative with your
We created a similar guide that covers the best ways to
personalize your email campaigns through individualized messaging
that you can read here.
See how Lyft personalizes
this post using user information:
3. Behavior-triggered emails
Sending out emails based on a subscriber’s behavior ensures
that you will remain relevant with
where they are in their customer journey. Having marketing
automation in place is crucial to sending out behavior-triggered
emails to the right subscriber at the right time.
One of the most common behavior-triggered emails is the
Email.” These emails act as a warm and timely greeting that
tell your subscriber what to do next. They are super important
because they catch a subscriber
right when they sign up.
You can also send reminder emails that are based on a certain
time period. These emails prompt a subscriber to do something like
renew a subscription or purchase something that has been sitting in
their shopping cart. You can also send birthday and VIP offers as
well as emails that only focus on
re-engaging customers who have fallen off the map.
In case you need more convincing, marketers report
that 70% of
their ROI comes from segmented, targeted, and triggered
The Starbucks loyalty program sends customers a
behavior-triggered email once they reach a certain amount of reward
4. Responsive email design
Email design is important when tracking reader engagement – if
a subscriber doesn’t like the appearance of your emails, they
will most likely click out as quickly
as they clicked through.
responsive email design on desktop and mobile platforms is also
important when it comes to formatting, relevance, and interaction.
Understand the devices your customers are using, and optimize their
by making sure they can view it.Paying attention to font size,
layouts, buttons, email length and fluidity are important factors
to take into account when designing your emails.
Content marketing expert and author, Marcia Riefer Johnston,
takes this idea even further and says that adaptive design is
also important to email personalization. Johnston explains,
“Adaptive content goes beyond responsive design, the content
itself changes according to the device, the context the person.”
She gives the example that adaptive content will say “click” on
a laptop, “tap” on a tablet and “say select” from a car’s
Responsive design has become simple
using the right email marketing tools.
5. Social media integration
Social media marketing and email marketing shouldn’t be looked
at as separate marketing avenues.
Having a holistic view on social media and email marketing will
make your personalization less challenging and more engaging.
You can include social buttons and social media campaigns that
are relevant to your different email lists within your email
campaigns. This can drive more traffic to your social channels as
well as to your website.
You can also upload your subscriber lists from email to your
social channels. This allows you to connect with your subscribers
in a personal way on multiple platforms. You can even target social
ads to active email subscribers in order to spend your ad budget in
a more targeted way.
6. Individualized landing pages
A personalized call to action used through a
relevant landing page within an email is a powerful way to
drive traffic to your site. These landing pages should directly
relate to the content of your email as well as to the interests of
this specific segmented list.
If you can grab a reader through engaging content and imagery,
personalized landing pages help subscribers to take the next step
in order learn more about what you are promoting. When integrating
personalized landing pages within an email, you should match its
message and look to the overall theme.
7. Self-managed preference center
preference centers allow your subscribers to enter or change
any personal information that they want to provide you with. These
preferences can vary from the custom fields you include on your
sign up forms and can be adjusted at any time.
They can also use these preference centers in order to change
how you currently interact with them. Subscribers can choose to
only receive emails on certain topics, change the frequency of
their emails or unsubscribe from all lists.
These show you which subscribers are most interested in and what
their main interests are. You can use this information in order to
update your segmented lists or create new ones. All of the
information that lies within this center should be taken into
account when sending out personalized emails.
By using these centers in a way that directly informs your
you will increase subscriber satisfaction. It even helps your
customers to self-segment and show you what they need most from
your email content.
Email personalization lies at the heart of every successful
email campaign. Your customers want to feel listened to and valued.
While email personalization can seem challenging for some
marketers, using the right email marketing and automation tools can
alleviate your pain points and make the email personalization
process much easier.
Source: FS – Email Marketing Blogs!
7 Must-Know Email Personalization Tactics