From Kelly Forst February 17, 2021
By sending targeted emails, you can better connect with subscribers and grow your business. Here are 5 best practices for email personalization.
Don’t you love receiving emails that feel like the sender is getting you?
Targeting subscribers and sending them personalized, irrelevant emails is a great way to better connect with the people on your email list.
It enables you to get the right message across to the people who want and need them most. And the more you can do this, the more likely it is to expand your reach and grow your audience until they become customers. Not to mention loyal supporters of your brand.
But how can you optimize your email so that you can get the most out of the opportunity to attract subscribers?
Let’s take a closer look at best practices for personalizing your email to the right people on your email list.
But first, what’s the benefit of email personalization?
By personalizing your emails to solve your subscribers’ unique problems, you are providing instant value. And the sooner you can do this, the sooner your subscribers will understand what you’re bringing to the table.
In addition, personalized messages not only lead to more openings, clicks, sales, and engagements, but also don’t personalize messages.
The numbers speak volumes:
More than a name: a better way to personalize your email
Personalization in email marketing is so much more than adding a first name to a subject line or salutation. In fact, name-specific personalization can rub a subscriber the wrong way – if the rest of the email doesn’t feel like they’re tailored.
A really personal email addresses the needs, desires, fears, preferences and other aspects of his personality.
Really personal emails deal with things like:
- Which emails has someone opened and clicked through in the past?
- Where on your website do they visit
- How they originally found you and what inspired him / her to sign up on your list
- Products or services that you have purchased in the past
Or send personalized emails based on location, demographics, and other criteria you collect from your subscribers.
But how do you collect the data you need to send personalized emails? Read on for the five best practices that will show you how.
5 Best Practices for Email Personalization
1. Identify your goals.
If you haven’t written down what you want to achieve by personalizing your email, now is the time to do it.
Whenever you think about ways to optimize your email, it is important to understand why you are optimizing it. You don’t want to type in a subscriber’s first name just because someone else did and you thought it was fun. Make sure it helps you achieve your goal, whether or not it increases your engagement rates like opening emails.
When thinking about how to improve your communication with subscribers, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Would you like to adopt a more talkative tone?
- Would you like to provide specific details about subscriber information?
- Or do you want to send more relevant content based on the needs and interests of your subscribers?
For each scenario, consider how you can potentially achieve the desired goal through personalization.
For example, if you want to adopt a more chatty tone, addressing a subscriber by their first name can be a subtle way. Adding a first name personalization field can also help make your email stand out in the inbox and grab your subscriber’s attention.
If you want to send the right message to the right group of people who find it most relevant, you may want to segment subscribers to deliver targeted content.
Once you have an idea of what problem you’re trying to solve, you can find the best way to segment subscribers and deliver more personalized emails.
2. Gather the data that you need to personalize.
Once you have an idea of how you plan to send targeted emails, make sure that you are collecting the correct information so that this can happen.
If you’d like to send targeted emails using a subscriber’s first name, confirm that you are entering first names on the registration form. Or customize your form to include a first name field, like this registration form for Fable & Folly’s podcast updates.
Sending personalized emails based on interest? You may want to ask for specific information on your registration form from a drop-down menu or check off relevant information.
Or, send a survey to your subscribers so they can see what people are interested in and keep track of relevant email content. You can even add a tag when a subscriber clicks a link in your email to make it easier to categorize them into groups (or segments).
If you want to send a one-time email based on how subscribers interacted with a previous message, create a segment based on actions like open and click.
Avoid asking too much information in advance. Including too many fields can be overwhelming for your potential subscribers. Don’t create a barrier that might prevent them from joining your list.
By providing more than just your name and email address, you are emphasizing the value of your emails. Explain what kind of targeted content to expect.
3. Use email personalization the natural way.
Once you’ve gathered the right data, there is one rule to keep in mind: with a great power of personalization comes great responsibility.
Personalized content should feel natural and not be forced. Do this when it makes sense for the goals you have for your broadcast emails or automated campaigns.
Look back at the goals you originally set for yourself. Regardless of how you segment your list, personalization should make it easier for you to write with the audience in mind. And of course, they help you establish a personal connection with your email community.
4. Get creative.
There are so many ways to send hyper-relevant emails. That means you have endless opportunities to get creative.
For example, personalization fields are not limited to subject lines. You can embed them in your email content to better get your readers’ attention. Here is an example from Melyssa Griffin who included my first name in her email:
(Side note: Dynamic content makes it easy to correct case-insensitivity in AWeber – as described above. Learn how to correct first names in lower case without expecting work from your subscriber.)
For contextual content, consider how you can potentially target automated campaigns to your different subscribers. You can send them campaigns based on the incentive they signed up for, their geographic location, or their experience.
One way to find out what your subscribers really need is to refer to frequently asked questions that they have asked. Are there people who want information based on their industry or personal situation? Are there others like this person? If you’re short on ideas, this can be a good place to start.
5. Test your email.
Testing your email is a must for most people who send email. This is especially important if, for example, you are adding personalization fields or triggering multiple types of automated campaigns.
After creating a personalized email, send yourself a test to make sure everything was retrieved correctly. Confirm that the first names of the subscribers will be shown in an email if you wish. If you use AWeber to send your email, add the content of the personalization field so that you can view it in your test email.
Set up the email process carefully to reach your intended audience. If you are triggering various automated campaigns, test the sign-up process to make sure the emails start with the correct actions.
Optimize and test as needed until everything looks good!
Start personalizing your email today
T.ry One of those new tactics to try on your next email out! Be as creative as you want when sending personalized emails.
Want more ideas to help you write better emails? Sign up for our What To Put In Your Email Course (and Receive 45+ Free Email Copy Templates)!
Additional coverage from Monica Montesa.