Email marketing is one of the most direct ways of getting in touch with your customers and offering them your products, when we up our game with Email Personalization we can more than double engagement and results.
It’s also one of the hardest digital marketing strategies to get right.
With social media ads, all you need to do is set a budget, create a target audience (with smart suggestions from Facebook or Instagram), and you’ll get results. The more you know about social media marketing, the better the results, but it’s hard to completely fail a social media campaign and get nothing in return.
Email marketing has a much steeper learning curve. Right from the start, you need to think about segmenting your audiences, writing smart subject lines, and tracking your website visits to see which customer is at which phase of the purchase process.
All these factors contribute to one term that we consider the peak of email marketing: email personalization. In this article, we will learn more about this concept and explore some of the most important personalized email dynamic content strategies you can implement right now.
What is email personalization and why does it matter?
You may not even be aware of this but most of the content you consume every day is personalized for you to a certain extent.
The posts Facebook “suggests” to you that come from pages you don’t follow, Instagram ads, LinkedIn posts – everything you see is unique to you and it’s based on several factors. For example, according to Instagram’s admission, they show you ads based on your habits on Instagram and Facebook, as well as your overall engagement online. This includes people you follow, the websites you visit, and the topics you’re interested in.
Simply put, Instagram profiles you – they learn what content you like to consume, and then serve it to you. It’s a typical win-win situation: you get the content you like and Instagram gets higher engagement rates and more money from advertisers.
At its core, that’s what personalization is: studying your customers, learning their habits, and leveraging this data to provide them with tailored content/offers that you know will interest them.
Personalization in email marketing refers to the process of targeting your campaigns to sets of specific customers and engaging them with a personalized message. It can be anything from a user’s name in the subject line, to a discount offer on a specific set of products they have a history of buying or suggesting them to visit a store near their location.
Personalized content doesn’t guarantee success but it gives you a better chance of converting. For example, personalizing emails have been found to increase open and click rates.
Now that we know what email personalization is, let’s check out some personalization strategies that you can start working on!
5 Email Personalization Strategies to Skyrocket Your Sales in 2021
Best ways to collect emails
Before you start your email personalization journey, you need a list of quality email leads. “Quality” here means “relevant” – to get the most out of your email marketing strategy, you need to generate those leads that are likely to be interested in your product.
Here are some ideas on how to get those leads.
Scraping Facebook and LinkedIn groups
There are likely dozens of Facebook and LinkedIn groups filled with professionals discussing the latest news from your industry. Simply entering “social media marketing” in LinkedIn search and filtering for groups gave us more than 9.5k results.
The people from these groups are perfect leads for your personalized emails. You can scrape these contacts using an extraction tool like Phantombuster, and use an email finder like Hunter.io to get their emails. You might not be able to get everyone’s email but you’ll have a solid list of people from your industry.
At the end of the process, when you do this with several groups, you’ll end up with an elaborate list of leads that are much more likely to be interested in your offer than the average person. That’s what we call a relevant lead!
Viral LinkedIn posts
Another way to get relevant leads is to target LinkedIn users who have interacted with a specific post. Perhaps that is a viral post from your industry with more than 100 comments. You can repeat the process we mentioned above – extract the contacts and get their emails.
This approach could be even better, as people who comment on LinkedIn posts are even more engaged in the industry than group members.
Lead magnets and website forms
Now for a more traditional approach – lead magnets.
At some point in the past, you were probably interested in downloading a PDF of some sort: an industry report, a case study, a tutorial, etc. If you were required to enter an email address to get it, that PDF file was what we call a lead magnet. And, if you did give up your email to download that file, that means it worked.
So, think about what kind of content your potential leads would find useful and offer it to them in exchange for their email.
Here is a good example:
You can also have newsletter signup forms anywhere on your website. Keeping them at the bottom of an article or in the sidebar can be a good idea – as your visitors enjoy a good article, they might be more inclined to sign up. You can also have a newsletter popup that interrupts whatever the visitor was doing.
Segment your audience
Once you have your list of emails, it’s time to start segmenting them. This is an important step towards true personalization. Think about it: simply sending the same email to all those leads, regardless of their purchasing habits and profile information doesn’t sound right.
That’s why you need to analyze your leads and reorganize them into smaller groups.
Here are some good segmentation strategies:
- Demographics: any set of demographic data can be crucial for target segmentation. For example, if you sell clothes, you won’t send an email with the same offer to both men and women. If you have a discount on an expensive 4K TV, you’ll probably want to target people with higher earnings. Other important factors include age, company position, location, etc.
- Purchasing habits: one of the best practices in email personalization is targeting people based on their previous purchases. Let’s say you have a customer who just purchased a pair of sports shoes. Some stats show that most people buy sports shoes every six to 12 months. Using this data, you can make an educated guess and send that customer a personalized email one year after the purchase, highlighting your latest sports shoe models.
- Level of engagement: seeing who opens your emails and how often they do it can split your whole audience into two sections: the ones that are high-potential leads and the ones that don’t want to be bothered. You can choose to either engage the latter or leave them alone to avoid being too spammy.
- Mobile vs desktop: you can also segment leads based on which device they use to open your emails. The users who open most emails on mobile devices may require different creatives and HTML solutions that show up better on a smaller screen.
Now that your leads are segmented into smaller groups, you can start working on personalizing the messages you send.
Most people think that a personalized email is one that starts with the user’s name. While that is an important aspect of personalization, that’s only scratching the surface. At Hyperise, we decided to take this much further and allow you to personalize your message most effectively – with personalized images.
How does it work?
The first thing you can do is add text layers to the image. These include your client’s name, company name, job title, email, and various other information. You can bet that seeing their name on a picture will attract some attention! Doing this is as simple as choosing an option from the dropdown menu:
Then, we move onto profile images – you can add your users’ profile picture or their business logo to your email picture and stand out in their flooded inbox.
Let’s say that you offer web design services and you’d like to suggest to your leads that you can make some significant upgrades to their website. You can include a screenshot of their website in your email image and draw their attention. That email picture could look something like this:
If you’re using location-specific targeting (perhaps alerting them that there’s a discount in a nearby store), you can add a map to your message, with your user’s location pinned in the center.
The opportunities are endless, and they all have one thing in common: connecting with your customers on a more personal level.
If you use all of these options efficiently, you can craft a message that speaks to your users’ specific needs, rather than sending a generic email similar to the ones they receive every day. We know it because it’s already been done!
One of our favorite use cases is the project we did with Encharge. With just one modification – a personalized image – we managed to increase our clickthrough rate 14 times! This method was superior to only personalizing for the prospect’s name and company name.
Take care of that subject line
Now that we’ve mentioned grabbing someone’s attention – the subject line is the first thing your leads will see when receiving your email. That’s why you want to make sure it’s as catchy as possible, while also touching on some of that personalization we mentioned earlier.
The average person receives around 120 emails a day, so giving your email a subject like “We have a special offer for you!” is a way to make sure your email finds its way right into the Trash folder. You want to mention your prospect’s name in the subject line and mention a piece of information that will show that this message is tailor-made for them.
MailChimp’s research team found that one of the most important factors when determining the success of a subject line is its length. Short and direct subject lines work better than long, overly descriptive ones. They also suggest that you should limit your use of emojis and include personalization elements.
We’re pretty sure that this already makes sense to you but here’s some research to prove it: personalizing the subject line can increase your open rates by up to 50%. So, start experimenting with email subjects that target your audience groups in a more direct way with data that interests them!
Consider your clients’ stage in the funnel
Depending on where your user is in the sales funnel, they’ll need a different kind of message to move them along to the next stage. When you identify at which point of the purchase process your user abandoned the purchase, you can target them with a personalized message. You can even offer them incentives to try and change their mind.
Engaging a customer with the right message at the right stage of the sales funnel is one of the best examples of email personalization. Here is how you can do it.
- Product page: if your user abandons the purchase process while browsing through a product page, it could be because they didn’t like/find the product they were looking for. In that case, you can send them an email that includes these products and elaborates on what makes them good or popular.
- Shopping cart: many customers put products in the shopping cart and then quit. However, since these customers already showed purchase intent, they often need just a little push to make the purchase. A personalized email with a small discount could be exactly what they need.
- Shipping: if a customer found the products, put them in the cart, and proceeded to shipping only to quit at the last moment – chances are they don’t like your shipping rates. Again, either a small discount can work wonders. You can also try to inspire a sense of urgency and inform them that the product is in short supply and this could be their last chance to get it.
Choose the right time to send the email
It’s hard to find the exact time when you should send your business emails. After all, people’s habits differ – some people might be early birds and workaholics, while others may prefer browsing their email just before bedtime.
That’s why it’s important to keep track of your customer data. Research shows that entrepreneurs and executives read their emails more frequently, so the time of the week doesn’t matter as much if they are your core target group. Based on open rates, Saturday mornings around 10 AM could be the best time for this group.
On the other hand, the average employee is more likely to read an email if they receive it in the morning hours of the week.
Deciding on the right time to send your emails brings up another important point in email personalization: time zones. While it might not matter whether you send an email at 10 AM or 11 AM, we can all agree that you shouldn’t send it in the middle of the night.
Email personalization doesn’t begin when you start writing an email – it’s a process that starts with your leads and their habits.
You start by segmenting your leads, identifying their place in the sales funnel, and making sure that each one of them is engaged at the right time. Then you can start working on messages and having fun with personalization strategies in your copy.
If you need any help with hyper-personalization, we’re more than happy to help! Feel free to check out Hyperise to add advanced personalization to your emails: images, text, location – you name it.