What is personalised email marketing?
In simple terms, personalised email marketing is when you send an email to your audience that is targeted towards a specific subscriber within your database. You do this by leveraging the data you have about that specific person.
For example, have you ever received an email from a business with your name in the subject line? This is just one example of how an email can be personalised. Personalisation can even go as far as this innovative email ‘journey’ created by EasyJet.
Why should my business use email personalisation?
Personalising your email campaigns will help them to perform better.
Why? If you’ve ever walked into your favourite café and the manager has greeted you by name, said that it was nice to see you, and ask If you’ll be having ‘the usual’, you’ll know how special personalisation can make people feel.
In an article published last year, Campaign Monitor gave the low down on the stats for personalised email marketing, including some impressive figures such as:
- Personalized email marketing improves click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10% (Aberdeen)
- Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened (Campaign Monitor)
- 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement (eConsultancy)
The benefits of personalisation are simple – when you send out a message that is tailored specifically to an individual’s interests, the chances that they will engage with that message are much higher.
What do I need to create a personalised email marketing campaign?
There is one thing that is critical to email personalisation, and that is a good database. Without it, you’re either not going to be able to create a personalised email campaign or worse – your customers are going to get an email that says “Hi #[FIRSTNAME]#”
The first thing you need to do is decide what fields you need to collect or, if you have a database already, what gaps you need filling. You can begin by going through and manually filling these in, but you might reach a point where you have to send an email to your subscribers asking them to update their details. If you use a CRM system or eCommerce platform, you could also integrate these with your email marketing tool to gather a little bit more info.
Also, as a rule of thumb, you don’t want to ask too much of your subscribers when they sign up, but it’s surprising what you can do with just a little bit of extra information, such as:
- Date of birth
- Job role
Once you have your data in place, you might want to implement some form of segmentation to help make sure you’re sending emails that are really relevant to the recipients. For example, you could segment your customers based on what services they use, or their location. This way, you can easily create emails targeted to a specific group of customers and simply select the list you want to send to.
What can I personalise in my emails?
If you’re using an email marketing tools such as Campaign Monitor or Mail Chimp, personalising your emails is a relatively straightforward task. Here are just a few of the things you can personalise in your email campaigns.
Subject line – Personalising the subject line is a great way of grabbing attention and increasing the likelihood of your emails getting opened. You can personalise your subject line in all kinds of ways, from including the recipient’s name or offering deals based on their location, or both, like this one from Trainline:
The sender – During Obama’s second election campaign, an email was sent to his supporters which certainly caught many people’s attention…
The message came from a generic email account, but the sender was personalised so that it looked like the casual message landed in people’s inboxes straight from the President himself. Sending out a mass email but sending it with an individual’s name is a great way of getting people to take notice because they think it’s coming directly from them.
Content – Weaving details about your subscribers into the copy in the body of your email is a great way to give it that personal touch. For example, if you have your subscriber’s first name, you could address your email to them, like Sephora do in this example:
But there’s plenty of other, subtler ways of personalising your emails. For example, if you sold IT systems and your target audience was business owners, you might include a sentence that referred to their business name. For example, “Like you, we want Digital Glue to get the most out of their technology, that’s why…”. Or, if you owned a dog grooming business and had information stored in your records about your client’s pets, you could say something like “Your shih tzu Charlie hasn’t had a trim in a while…”. Weaving little details like these into the body of your email is bound to make your audience feel like you’ve really been paying attention to their needs.
Images – Using relevant images is another way of sending more personalised email. Using your segmented lists, you can ensure that your imagery matches the interests and characteristics. For example, a clothing brand might want to send an email about their spring sale with different imagery for men and women. When Campaign Monitor tested the results of changing the imagery for their audiences based on their location, they found that they increased their click-through rate by 29%.