The Power of Personalized Email Marketing: Tips and Tricks

by | Apr 21, 2023 | Email Marketing

Want to get more people opening your emails and boost email marketing results? Personalization is the key! In this ultimate guide, you’ll learn many tips and tricks of how to personalize your email marketing campaigns to increase your conversions.

What is Personalized Email Marketing and Its Benefits

Personalization in email marketing refers to creating individualized messages for your subscribers that address their unique needs, preferences, and behaviors. This means going beyond just using “hello friend” in the email and tailoring the message to their specific interests and behaviors.

It’s also an effective way to engage customers and promote your products or services. By personalizing emails, you can increase customer engagement, build customer loyalty, and ultimately drive more sales.

Why is Personalization Important in Email Marketing?

Personalization is key when it comes to email marketing campaigns. After all, you’re writing to an actual human being, and wouldn’t it be great if they thought “wow, she wrote this just for me!” Here are a few reasons how it can impact your email marketing:

  • Increased open rates: Personalized emails have higher open rates because they are more relevant and engaging to the subscriber.
  • Improved click-through rates: Personalized emails are much more effective at engaging subscribers with content that is relevant to their interests. This increases the chances that they’ll click through to your website.
  • Higher conversion rates: Personalized emails are more effective at persuading subscribers to take the desired action, whether it’s making a purchase, getting a free sample or signing up for an event.

Heads up: This page includes affiliate links. If you click on one of these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This commission helps me to provide you with valuable content and maintain this website. Please note that I only recommend products and services that I have personally used and thoroughly vetted.

Collect Data About Your Subscribers

You’ve got to understand your subscribers inside and out. That means collecting as much data as possible about their behaviors and preferences, so you can deliver personalized content that hits the mark every time. Tools like Google Analytics is free and you can integrate it with your website and most email marketing platforms.

The other way you can collect data is to send surveys to your subscribers. You can ask them about what they thought about their recent purchase or anything that’s relevant to what you offer. You can make this fun while asking questions that will help you personalize future emails to them.

Some email marketing platforms like MailerLite have a survey feature that makes it easy for you.

Note: When collecting data on website visitors, make sure you update your privacy policy to include website tracking and if you’re in the EU, you’ll need to follow GDPR guidelines.

Five Tips and Techniques for Personalized Email Marketing

No. 1: Capture the Right Information

Have you ever received an email that started with “hello friend”? It’s the worst, right? It just makes the email feel so generic and impersonal. Has anyone actually said “hello friend” to you in real life? Thinking about this, if a stranger said this to me, I’d run…unless they were Bob Ross.

It’s critical that in every opt-in and landing page you have, that you not only capture your potential subscriber’s email, you must capture their first name. Every single email marketing platforms like MailerLite, Convert Kit, ActiveCampaign and MailChimp allows you to capture the subscribers first name.

The image below shows an example of the absolute minimum captured on a signup. The email address…that’s it. How are you supposed to make a personal connection when writing your email?

Example of an opt-in form only capturing the email address so personalized email marketing isn't possible.

Now in the revised example below, when adding a field to your form to capture the first name and make it a required field, you’ll be able to start personalizing your email campaigns right away.

Example of an opt-in form only capturing the first name and email address so personalized email marketing is possible.

Action Step: if you’re not doing this, stop right now and go update your opt-in forms. Might as well capture new subscribers the right way. Don’t worry if you currently only have your subscribers’ email addresses. You can always run an “update your info” campaign later to collect more data about them. So don’t let that hold you back from getting started with personalized email marketing!

If all your opt-in forms and landing pages capture the subscribers first name, gold star! ⭐

No. 2: Always Use the Recipient’s First Name in Every Email You Send

Regardless if it’s an email campaign or part of an automation, personalize everything that you send out.

Don’t you love getting emails that address you by name? It’s like the email was written just for you, and not part of some mass email blast. Seeing your name in the greeting and scattered throughout the email just adds that extra burst of personalization and makes the email feel more tailored to you.

Trust me, using someone’s first name can go a long way in making them feel seen and appreciated.

Action Step: if you have any campaigns scheduled, make sure to update the email to include the recipient’s first name in the greeting. It can be as simple as “hi, firstname” – just make sure you’re using the correct variable for the email marketing platform you’re using. In addition, use the first name variable in some of your subjects. See the example below.

No. 3: This tip is in two parts:

1) If you’ve been doing email marketing for a while and have good customer data or
2) if you’ve been doing email marketing for a very short time and don’t have a lot of data to work from.

1) If you sell digital products and have sales data: If you’ve been selling for a while, you’ll have some data about your subscribers and you can use that to segment your list. This approach allows you to group subscribers based on their interests, behaviors, or other characteristics, creating more targeted and personalized email campaigns that will truly capture their attention.

For example: let’s say your a chef specializing in quick nutritious means for busy families. You have a variety of recipe books in digital format for sale on your website. When customers purchase any of those recipe books, a tag is added to their subscriber information in your email marketing platform.

Let’s get more detailed with this example…you put together a set of bonus recipes for anyone that bought the recipe eBook “Yum or Yuck? Kid-Approved Recipes for Picky Eaters”. All those customers have a tag in their subscriber info called “YY-eBook Purchase”.

You would create an email with the bonus recipes and only send to the subscribers that are tagged “YY-eBook Purchase”.

Action Step: brainstorm some ideas on how you can segment your subscribers and create some specialized emails just for them.

2) If you just started email marketing and don’t have a lot of data to work from: You can still segment your subscribers based on the information you do have.

For example, you could segment your list based on the subscriber’s interests or preferences. If you have a sign-up form that asks for this information, use it to create segments for subscribers who have similar interests. This way, you can send targeted emails that are more likely to be relevant and engaging.

Another option is to segment your list based on the subscriber’s behavior. You can create segments for subscribers who have opened or clicked on previous emails, or who have visited certain pages on your website. This will allow you to send more targeted follow-up emails and keep your subscribers engaged with your brand. (I do this a lot)

Remember, even if your list is small, segmentation can still make a huge difference.

Action Step: Brainstorm some ideas about how you can segment your list based on the data you do have, and start sending more targeted and relevant emails to your subscribers!

The example below shows how easy it is to segment your audience and send them super personalized emails.

Screenshot of MailerLite and How to Segment Your Email List

No. 4: Send Behavior-Based Emails 

Behavior-based emails are triggered by a specific action that the recipient takes. The examples below will follow our Chef and how she can use personalized email marketing to connect more with her subscribers and customers:

  • Follow-up emails after a purchase: For example: If a subscriber has purchased one of the chef’s recipe books, she can send them a cross-sell email promoting her newest book, “Yum or Yuck? Kid-Approved Recipes for Picky Eaters”. She can personalize the email based on the subscriber’s past purchase history, showing them recipes that are similar to ones they have enjoyed in the past. I share an example of a thank you email in an automation I’m using below.
  • Re-engagement emails for inactive subscribers: For example: If a subscriber hasn’t opened or clicked on any emails in a while, she can send them a re-engagement email with personalized content that reminds them of the chef’s recipes and encourages them to explore the newest recipe book or to download a free chapter.
  • Thank-you emails for subscribers who have completed a specific action. This can be any action, such as downloading a free recipe, making a purchase, completing a survey.
  • Use the recipient’s past behavior and interests to recommend products or services that are relevant to them. See example in tip #3.
  • Abandoned cart emails: If a subscriber has added a recipe book to their cart but hasn’t completed the purchase, you can send them an abandoned cart email with a personalized subject line and content that reminds them of the benefits of the book.
  • After a certain period of time, if the subscriber still hasn’t made a purchase, an email could be sent offering a discount or free-sample recipe and then a follow-up with an email talking about the recipe book.
  • Send personalized emails based on how a user engaged with a previous email sent to them.
    • Use data on how subscribers interact with your emails, such as clicking on a certain link, or downloading a certain lead magnet.
    • For example, if a subscriber has clicked on a specific link in an email campaign, you can trigger another automation to send personalized content to them.
    • Take the Chef in the previous examples, if an email campaign was written about how to get fussy kids to eat more broccoli, and there’s a link to a blog post. If the reader clicks that link to the blog post, that “click” can trigger an automation that sends 3 additional broccoli recipes for picky eaters and it could lead up to the offer on the “Yuk or Yum?” eBook for picky eaters.

Action Step: looking at the tips above, pick out just one and implement it. As time goes on, pick another and implement that one. Don’t do them all at once, because if your click rate and open rate skyrocket, you won’t know what change was responsible.

screenshot of an email automation that thanks a customer for purchase and sends a personal reminder to download the ebook after 24 hours.

Here is an example of an email automation when a customer makes a purchase.

A personalized thank you email goes out immediately.

After 24 hours, if the customer didn’t download the eBook, a personalized reminder goes out to them.

No. 5: Send Seasonal Personalized Emails

You can send seasonal emails with recipes that are relevant to the time of year. For example, our chef could do this:

Let’s say it’s summer and the chef wants to send an email promoting her latest recipe book, “Yum or Yuck? Kid-Approved Recipes for Picky Eaters”. She could create an email with a subject line like “Get Ready for Summer Grilling with These Kid-Approved Recipes!” and personalize the content based on the subscriber’s location and past purchase history.

For subscribers in warmer climates, the chef could highlight recipes that are perfect for outdoor grilling, such as burgers, hot dogs, and grilled veggies. For subscribers in cooler climates, the chef could highlight recipes that are perfect for indoor grilling or that can be made in a slow cooker or oven.

Action Step: brainstorm some ideas on seasonal emails. You can also use National Day of themes as well. For example: if you design custom rain coats for dogs, on National Pet Day, you could work an email series a few weeks before leading up to a sale to celebrate the event.

Test and Measure Your Results

To ensure that your personalized email marketing is effective, you need to test and measure your results. This means tracking metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Then you analyze and refine your strategy.

How to Use A/B Testing to Refine Your Email Marketing Strategy

A/B testing just simply means to test two different versions of “something”. Here are some ideas:

  1. Optimize subject lines: A/B testing allows you to test different subject lines to see which one resonates best with your subscribers. You can test adding their first name, different lengths, tone, and phrasing to see what drives higher open rates.
  2. Improve email content: A/B testing can also be used to test different ways an email is written, the layout, images, and how the call-to-action is worded. By testing different variations, you can see what works best for your audience and increase click-through rates.
  3. Test sending times: A/B testing can also help you determine the best time to send your emails. By testing different sending times, you can see when your subscribers are most likely to engage with your content and optimize your sending schedule accordingly.
  4. Personalize content: A/B testing can help you determine which types of personalized content work best for your audience. For example, you could test different personalized recommendations or product offers to see what drives higher conversion rates.
  5. Test segmentation: A/B testing can also be used to test different segmentation strategies. You can test different segments to see which ones are most engaged with your content and optimize your segmentation strategy accordingly.

Wrapping it Up

You how you feel when reading an email that’s been personalized, and you want your subscriber to feel the same way. By using your subscribers name, location, past purchase history, demographic data, and behavioral data, you can create targeted and relevant emails that resonates with them.

A/B testing is also an important tool for optimizing your email marketing campaigns. By testing different subject lines, email content, sending times, personalized content, and segmentation strategies, you can make data-driven decisions that improve the effectiveness of your campaigns and drive better results.

The key takeaways are:

  • When thinking of personalized email marketing campaigns, it’s more than just using the subscribers name in the email you send them. Use all available data you have to create targeted and relevant emails that resonates with your audience. Make that connection with them so they feel special.
  • A/B testing is a powerful tool for optimizing your email marketing campaigns. Test different variations to see what works best for your audience and make data-driven decisions. It’s important to only make one change at a time and test the results before testing something else.

Remember, personalized and optimized email marketing campaigns can drive more engagement, build customer loyalty, and ultimately drive more sales. So use the tips and strategies outlined in this article and see where that takes you.

Until next time, stay inspired.



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