You could be leaving customers cold and money on the table if you’re still sending out generic, impersonal emails. Mastering a personalized email campaign can dramatically impact your bottom line. According to research from Aberdeen, personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14%, and increase conversions by 10%.

But personalizing your marketing does more than just increase potential revenues. Relationship building and engagement also grow as you personalize your emails. For example, Econsultancy found that 74% of marketers say targeted personalization actually increases customer engagement.

Brands are catching onto the idea that customers respond to highly-personalized marketing emails. Zumba Fitness takes personalization to a whole new level, with email video campaigns including a call-to-action at the end with the recipient’s name. The fitness company realized a 50% click-to-open rate with their personalization campaign.

Using a customer’s first name in a marketing campaign was once a revolutionary concept. Today’s marketers have enhanced tools and the right data to take marketing to a whole new level. Here’s how to go beyond first-name personalization with your email campaigns.

Ask the Right Questions in Sign-Up Forms

Drill down deeper into what your audience and leads actually want by asking the right questions in your sign-up forms. For example, businesses with a focus on social media could ask questions like:

  • Are you just getting started in social media, or are you an expert?
  • What are your long-term goals for social media in your business?
  • Which platforms are you already active on?

A service like LeadPages helps set up forms and required fields for your audience to fill out when they sign up for your list. Those answers will offer deep insights into your business, and may even surprise you. For example, you may have been targeting companies with a mid-sized social media following only to discover that your core audience is startups looking to scale their small audiences. The more feedback you can collect in your sign-up forms, the more you can personalize your email funnels.

Ask for More Information and Refine Your Data

Give your audience a reason to respond and engage with you. After they opt-in to one of your forms, send a confirmation email asking them to provide additional details. But remember, you need to give them the incentive or motivation to do so. Offer them in-depth resources and assistance customized to their needs. Try something like:

Thanks for signing up! I would love to know more about how I can help you with your content marketing journey. Can you tell me a little more about what you’ve been doing so far, and where you’re struggling? This will help me give you the best resources and advice possible to get you moving past your obstacles.

For businesses that want to integrate survey and form data directly into their customer and leads lists, a CRM tool like Zoho CRM and Zoho Surveys integrate and work together to figure out what your customers actually want, and how to best serve them. Use the data to refine your marketing funnels, product offering or sales copy to target the interests and needs of your customers.

Leverage Email Enrichment

Enrichment turns a simple email address or website into a comprehensive picture of your customer. Tools like Clearbit can discover and collect customer data and give you more information about the person’s employment, role, location and social media handles. That way you can source a customer’s or lead’s Twitter account and follow them to engage between email marketing campaigns or other forms of contact.

Ultimately, the goal is to improve conversion rates while increasing customer retention. Instead of worrying about which emails are dead weight in your list, use the right email addresses and append them to your files to maximize your time and marketing spend.

Create Customer Personas

Collecting data is often the easiest part when it comes to email marketing. But the real key to unlocking its success is figuring out what to do with that data once you have it. Creating customer personas helps refocus your emails so you only deploy information most relevant to individual customers.

HubSpot’s breakdown of their personas gives an insightful look at everyone from ‘Owner Ollie’ with 1 to 100 employees, to ‘Enterprise Erin’ with over 2,000 employees.

Companies offering financial and bookkeeping services could assign customers with less than $1 million in revenue who are interested in monthly bookkeeping, to a persona group. Next, they could assign another group of customers with over $1 million in revenue who are interested in financial advisement services, to a different persona. Now, they’ll have the information needed to segment out their email messaging and target each group with information relevant to their needs, to further the nurturing process.

And it pays off. According to Campaign Monitor, marketers saw a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns.

Tap Into Personalization Tags

Personalizing your emails immediately signals that you’re paying attention and catering to each person on your list. The Merge Tag in an email marketing system like MailChimp adds snippets of personalization to emails including first names. However, that’s just the bare minimum of what you can do with your personalization tags.

Take it a step further and dig into tags that also add the name of your customers’ companies. You can even add personalized details that cater to different groups, from CEOs to virtual assistants, right in the subject heading. This type of personalization alerts customers that you’re catering your email just to them, and what you have to say is highly relevant.

Segment Your Subscribers into Lists (and use them)

Create segmented lists in accordance with certain criteria, like demographic information or spending habits, and use them to send emails that are designed to resonate with each group.

Next, keep track of where your subscribers are coming from, and which guest post they read that led them to your opt-in list. You can also collect information from your subscribers and note which customers own their own businesses, are looking to launch a freelance service, or are simply looking to grow the audience they already have.

Once you’ve figured out how to narrow down your audience by certain criteria and conditions, craft marketing messages that cater to their unique needs and pain points. After all, customers looking for more information on free tools they can use to manage their social media presence probably aren’t going to be interested in hiring an expensive consultant to set up their channels.

Create Email Triggers

Create powerful email triggers designed to deploy the moment someone signs up for your opt-ins. Set up an email trigger to deploy when a customer purchases a specific product. They will then receive information on other recommended products that correspond with their interests.

You can also set up behavioral email autoresponders to send out recommendations for products or services. Netflix is the king of this technique – they will automatically send suggestions for shows and movies based on the media you’ve already watched.

The same type of behavior-based automation trigger can be applied if your customer has disappeared for awhile. After two weeks, automatically deploy an email if they haven’t logged into your SaaS or followed up.

Consider Subscribers’ Time Zones

Consider scheduling your emails based on your customers’ time zones. This will help alleviate the frustrations that arise from sending out time-sensitive offers that miss the mark due to time zone differences. There’s nothing more frustrating for customers than receiving your email in the middle of the night, and then only having an hour to open it and act before the deadline is up.

Instead, create emails based on time zones and include the appropriate language. For example, saying “Good morning” or “See you tonight!” on an upcoming webinar ad offers further personalization for your email marketing campaigns and creates the illusion that you’re right there with your customers.

Personalize Your Brand

Put a face behind the name of your brand, and send out email campaigns with your name (or a team member’s name) in the ‘from’ field instead of your company name. Add a photo of yourself, and do something that feels personal, like sending out happy birthday messages to your clients.

You can also incorporate personal details. For dog-loving audiences, reference a trick your dog learned, or the bandana he loves to wear outdoors. Bonus points if that bandana is also part of your product line and part of your email campaign.

Add a CTA urging your audience to get in touch with you directly, and respond promptly when they do. Use your own email address so they can continue following up and growing the relationship.

Personalize Landing Pages

You can do a lot more with a personalization campaign than just creating customized sign-up forms and emails. Personalize your entire landing page based on the behavior of your audience. For example, if someone sees your post on LinkedIn Pulse about how to brand a business on a budget, send them to a specifically-designed landing page to collect information and send out an email sequence catered to their interests.

There are lots of email marketing tools that create landing pages for you, but not all look professional or well-designed. That’s a deal-breaker when you’re trying to snag someone’s email and other information and turn them into a lead. Try LeadPages for personalized landing templates that are easy to customize and integrate with most major email marketing tools like MailChimp and AWeber.

Infuse Some Brand Personality

Give your customers a reason to anticipate your emails and engage with them. Combine the power of the personalization techniques you’ve learned with some of your own brand personality as you showcase your latest products.

Birchbox is brilliant at this. They regularly send out fun, informative and highly personable emails talking about their products, services or even their mistakes. For example, their email about adding in a forgotten ‘Rent the Runway’ offering ended with the line, “We hope you enjoy! (And we can’t wait to see your outfit.)”

Implement the 10-80-10 Rule

Trying to apply several in-depth email personalization techniques can feel overwhelming, but it can scale more easily than you think. SalesLoft applies the 10-80-10 rule in personalized sales emails by using a mix of 10% personalization at both the beginning and the end of an 80%-automated email template. It’s a simple approach to personalization with the benefits of an existing framework.

It’s your turn. Do you have any other tips for personalizing your marketing emails? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below:

Images: Pexels, Wikimedia Commons, LeadPages, Zoho, Reach Marketing, Slideshare (HubSpot), MailChimp, Active Campaign, MailChimp, Referral Saasquatch, MailChimp, HubSpot, LeadPages, Convince and Convert, SalesLoft

  1. Great post Sujan!

    Couldn’t agree more with the behavioral part that’s become relatively easy to set up. I even feel like emails can become more and more like push notifications, especially the zombie push notifications.

    Ever experimented with “friends of user” social proof?

    1. Thanks Ambroise.

      I’ve tried “friends of users” and had mixed results with it. It works well if you have a big fan base or users who’ve connected their social media profiles.

  2. As an outreach manager that mainly utilizes cold emailing, this information = gold.

    As someone interested in online marketing in general, it’s TREASURE.

    Thank you, Sujan!

    Finally, as someone who started as a proofreader, I can’t help but mention the word “tools” under Leverage Email Enrichment is spelled “tooks.” 😉

    Looking forward to learning more outreach magic from you!

  3. Dang, Right when I was super into it, it was over… Can your next post be drilling down more into the personalization of SalesLofts 10-80-10 rule?

    Specifically, I am assuming it is more than “Hi Sujan” and “Bye Sujan” for the 10 & 10.

    What is a good personalization point? I don’t like commenting on recent blog posts or work anniversaries or other things of that nature;

    2 reasons

    First of all, if it is a celebration of sorts, everyone has auto responders set for those types of triggers and you get lost in the sea of fluff.

    Second, commenting on articles and that type of stuff is not scalable if your prospect is not active, and even if they are, you once again fall into the first category…

    I know that it is highly situation specific – but can you share some of the stuff you have done in the past?

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