With all the new marketing techniques and social platforms around, email can almost seem old-fashioned — but the fact is that email remains one of the most effective forms of marketing available. Used by businesses of all sizes, it continues to build relationships and drive sales, and remains the primary method used to communicate with customers.
Building your list is therefore essential. There are, however, right ways and wrong ways to go about your email marketing — and one of the right ways is to personalize your strategy. Here’s a look at why personalization is so important, and how to do it effectively:
Why Personalization Is Essential
Email is popular with brands because it’s cheap, quick, and can generate excellent results. But at the same time, this is balanced out by the fact that emails can be easy to ignore. Most internet users receive dozens of emails every day, while only opening a couple. Your emails are constantly fighting for attention in your inbox.
Personalization is important for many reasons. Mainly, it’s a way to make sure your emails get noticed and create stronger connections with your prospects.
Emails are often impersonal, which is a problem because people prefer to open emails that are from people they know (or contain information relevant to them). Just like junk mail, no one cares about emails that target everyone instead of specific individuals.
Personalization helps your emails stand out so they get noticed, opened, read, and acted on. If your emails are more personal, the subscriber may actually look forward to subsequent emails from you, seeing them as worth their while. It’s all about quality over quantity.
Now that we’ve established why personalization is so important, how should you go about it?
How to Get Personal with Emails
Emails provide you with many personalization options, and some of them might be more suitable for your brand than others. You might use all of them, one of them, or a selection. Let’s look at a few that you can start experimenting with:
1. Use Custom Fields
When you sign someone up to your email list, you may want to gather information on them like their first name, last name, and location. Most email software makes it easy for you to then insert these details into your emails.
For example, you could use something like [first_name] to insert the subscriber’s first name into the subject line. (The exact text you use will depend on the software you are using.)
When someone sees their name in the subject line, it catches their attention. Everyone notices their name, after all. This can make your email stand out in the inbox and increase the likelihood that it will be opened.
You can also use these fields in your email copy to personalize it further. That said, it’s advisable to limit them — excessive personalization often comes across as creepy and invasive, so don’t go overboard. As always, experiment with using them and test your results.
2. Send Trigger Emails
Trigger emails are sent when registered visitors to your website take particular actions. For example, if a customer browses a product on your store but leaves the page without ordering it, they can trigger an automatic email that references the product — and perhaps includes a 10 percent discount if they purchase it in the next hour.
This can be an effective form of personalization because the email is directly related to something that interests the recipient. Depending on the CMS you’ve used for your website, you may be able to send trigger emails using native features, but you’re usually best served using third-party software.
There are various services that will integrate neatly with all modern platforms (here’s a good selection of marketing services for ecommerce in particular), and if you’re using a CMS with a large app store, you’ll have your pick of apps.
3. Segment Your List Based on Where Subscribers Signed Up
When you build your list, people might sign up in different ways. One person might download an ebook related to one of your services, and another might enter a competition.
Segmenting your list is important because all your subscribers are not the same. You can segment your list in countless ways, but one thing you should definitely do is segment your list depending on why people signed up.
That way, you can target people with emails that are relevant to them (particularly if you provide various distinct products or services). Provided you’re using a comprehensive email marketing tool, you’ll be able to keep narrowing things down to make your campaign more precise.
For example, using information gathered from your subscribers, you can segment based on country, city, region… even all the way down to street. You could also segment by sex, sending different emails to men and women that target them with different products.
Ask yourself the following question of each subscriber: “Why are they on my list?” Using the answer, send them the content they actually want to receive.
4. Write in a Personal Tone
Tone is crucial in emails, and you should usually try to write in a more personal tone. A good rule of thumb is to try to recreate how friends write to each other.
Address them with “you,” use a warm and friendly tone, use emojis, and don’t use title case in your subject lines because it makes emails look promotional. Try to make your emails look like normal emails from friends or family members.
5. Add Sender Details
Don’t forget to add details of the sender. Start by adding a real name into the “From” field. This is one of the first things the recipient will see, and you want them to start recognizing the name when they see it in their inbox. Use a signature and a headshot if possible to personalize it further. Small things like this can have a big impact.
6. Consistently Provide Valuable Content
The best way to personalize emails is to fill them with content the subscribers actually care about: content that provides value, perhaps involving discounts on relevant products or noteworthy updates about topics of interest.
When you do this regularly, your subscribers will come to expect valuable emails from you. This will help avoid the typical email apathy, and make them much more likely to pay close attention to your emails when they arrive.
Personalize your emails carefully, and you’ll retain your audience — start slipping back into generic emails, and people will rapidly unsubscribe. Forget the old marketing tricks: focus on providing meaningful value, and you’ll get results.
Personalization Is a Must with Emails
Email marketing remains a powerful way to reach your prospects, build relationships, and make more sales — but don’t waste your time sending emails that get ignored. Focus on personalizing your emails using the techniques described above.
When you start getting more personal, you will build stronger relationships, more of your emails will get read, and your subscribers will become more engaged. So use these techniques in your emails, and make email work even better for you.
Image Credit: Max Pixel