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Personalized Email: 5 Ways to Make Your Subscribers Feel Special

personalized email

There’s no doubt that personalized email is important.

Try these email marketing tools:

  • Connect 365 is a tool that simplifies the process of building relationships with cold prospects and nurturing warm leads into clients through automation.
  • Auto-Gmail is an AI tool that automates answering repetitive emails. It will draft answers to inbound emails for you to approve.
  • Sigmail uses AI to personalize your sales and marketing messages while trying to avoid spam filters.
  • ActiveCampaign uses automation to effortlessly engage, nurture, and convert your audience into loyal customers.

The average subscriber to your mailing list receives more than 100 emails every day. On average, only about 2% of those emails get clicked on. These statistics are telling: Getting your subscribers to read and engage with your email marketing strategy is challenging. Personalized email can help, but with 78% of marketers using personalization in their email marketing strategies, you still need something to give you an added edge.

One exciting way is to break down email campaigns and examine how each process step can be personalized. In this article, we’ll give you some tips to help you personalize your emails to improve their effectiveness and engagement.

1. Write a compelling and unique subject line

The subject line is one of the most important parts of any email. An effective subject line encourages subscribers to click through and engage with the email, whereas a weak subject line dries up any potential interest.

47% of recipients open emails based on subject lines alone, while 69% report emails as spam based on it. In other words, a subject line can make or break your email marketing campaign.

To maximize your engagement, you must craft compelling and unique subject lines that are highly personalized for each intended recipient.

Personalize email subject lines by:

  • Name-dropping: Acknowledge the recipient by using their first name to demonstrate familiarity and stand out from other generalized emails. Use the recipient’s name as you would in a conversation. You’re not a robot, after all. Used by itself, this tactic probably won’t have the desired effect, but coupled with others it can prove meaningful.
  • Mentioning Interests: Tap into what you know about your recipient’s interests to call their attention to something. For example, if a customer likes flowers, mention which varieties you’re carrying in the upcoming season.
  • Celebrating Holidays and Special Events: Celebrate a recipient’s anniversary, birthday, and other holidays with a mention in your subject line. Wish them a fun and joyous day, and consider sweetening the day with a special discount, offer, or promotion.
  • Referencing Past Orders: Use your recipient’s transaction history to suggest other relevant items that pair with past purchases. If you previously sold your recipient a couch, suggest matching throw pillows that complement its style.
  • Sharing a Sense of Urgency: Let’s face it: Customers don’t always know when you’re running a special time-limited sale or their subscription’s about to expire. Include a sense of urgency or the FOMO in your subject line to entice interaction.
  • Referencing Location: Mention your recipient’s location to tie it into relevant, unique, and personalized recommendations, offers, and solutions. A customer who lives in Minnesota might appreciate discounts on winter clothing as the temperatures drop.

2. Personalize your email content and body

People have loved stories for as long as humanity has existed. Storytelling helps engage and relate with those who listen.

Your brand has stories of its own to share. By including a relevant tale in the body of your emails, you can connect with a recipient and entice them to continue engaging with your brand.

Think of effective email storytelling as you would writing a short story: A hero figure needs to embark on an emotional journey that concludes with some sort of victory over a challenge or obstacle.

From there, craft different stories for each audience segment. Identify the challenges each segment faces, then use the traits shared by each recipient in that segment to weave a compelling narrative.

You can even use user-generated content, success stories, and case studies to help your recipients better relate to your messaging and products or services.

Include personalized offers that serve as the solution to that challenge, giving your heroes — each of your email recipients — the opportunity to experience a victory of their own.

3. Create a personalized email design

How you design your email is almost as important as its written content.

  • The wrong color combinations can clash with the emotions you’re trying to convey when telling a story.
  • A design that’s too busy can dissuade a recipient from engaging with the content.
  • Non-responsive designs might not display properly on different devices, cutting off important information or your CTA.
  • A lack of visuals can make your email boring, contributing to low conversions.

Personalizing your email design lets you engage and relate with your recipients. Add imagery like notebooks, pencils, and schoolbooks during back-to-school season, or add balloons, fireworks, and numbers to celebrate a customer’s anniversary.

Consider sprinkling relevant gifs, charts, and infographics throughout your emails too. Doing so can call attention to important points as recipients skim through your content.

Finally, ensure your design is mobile-friendly and responsive to different resolutions and devices. The text should remain legible and images shouldn’t be cut off or cover any other content.

All of the above ensures your email design will stand out. Personalizaing the design means taking it a step further, building on personalized content.

Using dynamic content blocks, you can create emails with specific products and offers that match what your customers are after.

Another way to personalize design is by using tools like Nifty Images. These allow you to add countdown timers, and even images containing personal information like the one below.

4. Customize when you send your emails

Email recipients don’t all engage with your emails at the same time.

It starts with their geographic location, as 9 am in New York is 6 am in California. That’s why sending out a blast email campaign isn’t usually the ideal strategy, with all contacts receiving your email simultaneously.

One way to solve this is using segmentation to identify and send by location. But this is only a partial solution.

General data like demographics and location isn’t enough. Why? Because even your subscribers in the same state engage with your emails at different times. Each subscriber is unique and should be treated as such.

You must personalize your email send time by examining activity data, including:

  • When a recipient initially signed up for your emails.
  • The average time a subscriber engages with your emails.
  • When a recipient is actively engaging with your brand via other channels.
  • Your recipient’s preferred time to receive an email (based on information they provided).

And if that sounds like too much work for you, then we recommend seeking email marketing platforms that will do the heavy lifting for you.

Many platforms offer send-time-optimization features, allowing you to send campaigns at the best possible time for each recipient.

5. Tweak the “from name”­­

An email “from name” tells recipients who sent the email. Some brands might choose something bland, such as “info” or “hello,” whereas others might use the company name.

But what if you moved past the typical from name and opted to personalize it depending on your “to name?”

In other words, what if multiple subscriber segments each received emails from a different name?

Introduce some simple A/B testing to learn how different segments respond to personalized from names:

  • Do men engage more with an email if it’s from a masculine name? Is the same true for women?
  • Does the click rate of emails sent to recipients in a specific location increase if the from name more closely fits their culture?
  • Does an informal nickname increase engagement compared to a formal from name?

Continually iterate upon your email personalization strategy

Personalized email necessitates ongoing testing and evolution and isn’t a static strategy guaranteed to deliver results overnight. As with other elements of your email marketing strategy, you need to constantly test different approaches.

Fortunately, that’s the easy part. Implement the ideas mentioned here and compare any data you collect to your baseline. Then use that data — and any insights you discover — to iterate upon each of these steps.

At the same time, remember that email personalization — and email marketing, overall — is more an art than a science. You’re trying to engage with people first and foremost, so don’t be afraid to apply a bit of intuition into your personalization process to better relate to your audience.

Guest Author: Melissa Pekel and Haim Pekel (H&M) are VP Marketing & VP Growth at Ongage, a nextgen email marketing platform. Prior to Ongage, H&M spearheaded marketing and growth operations at Press on It, their agency. They worked with SaaS, Martech, and software companies, building them from the ground up or leading continued growth in large-scale operations.

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