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Email personalization. Even if you’re just starting to dip your toes into this high ROI marketing channel, you’ve probably heard of email personalization, and you know it’s important. But do you really know what it means and how to do it?

What is Email Personalization?

Creating a truly personalized email goes way beyond using someone’s name. The idea is to send the right message to the right person at the right time – to create the experience of a 1-to-1 email. The key to creating such a campaign? Data.

The Importance of Data for Email Personalization

The more data you can collect about your subscribers the better. Where are they in the sales cycle? Have they made purchases before? Do they have specific interests? Where do they live? What content are they engaging with the most? These are all critical data points to utilize in personalization.

How to Capture Email Data

Email behavioral data is probably the easiest to capture since it’s right there in your email marketing tool. Every email you send to your subscribers brings in just a little bit more data. Is your subscriber not engaging with your email content? Send them re-engagement emails. Ask them to share their interests or update their preferences. If the subscriber is only engaging with one specific type of content, say blog posts about healthcare careers – send them more about healthcare!

If you have the technology in place to collect behavioral data from your prospect’s activity on your website – put that to use too! Depending on your industry it can be a treasure trove of intelligence. For example, if your industry is ecommerce (you should absolutely be collecting data from your website), knowing what products your customer is browsing can give insight into what products to recommend in an email.

Other ways to collect useful data to help personalize your email campaign is to simply ask. Include an interests section on your subscription form. Or, add a preferences section to your opt-out page. Consumers are getting more and more savvy, and they understand if they want personalized email messages (which studies show they do!), then they need to provide information about what they want.

Putting Email Data to Use

Once you get your head – and your database – around all that data, how will you put it to work?
These days just about any email marketing tool worth a subscription fee will have robust tools at your disposal to help you create a personalized email plan. Your first tool to utilize is segmentations. Map out the different stages of your sales cycle, personas or any general type of contact groupings or audiences. Some easy places to start would be people who place items in their cart and then don’t complete their purchase, or new subscribers to your email listing. Welcome series and abandoned cart automations are often even prebuilt templates in a number of email marketing tools.

Now, it’s time to personalize the content of your email and the easiest place to start is with personalization tokens. This is where you can insert your subscribers name, but don’t stop there! Consider inserting other useful contact fields too. Are you recommending a new purchase to your subscriber? Try referencing past purchases. Has your subscriber been communicating with a sales rep? Drop in the name!

The next tool in your marketing toolbox? Dynamic content. Again, this is a pretty standard feature in nearly every email marketing tool. This feature will allow you to have varying versions of a single email to send to your audience. For example, you could show different coupons based on VIP or new customer statuses or show news articles based on geographic location.

As your marketing efforts get even more advanced there are yet more ways to further personalize email content based on using if/else logic statements, relational data tools, and product recommendation AI. The opportunities to fine tune your messaging toward an individual person is practically endless – if you have the right tools and skill set.

Need a little help with personalizing your email marketing efforts? Talk to our experts at CloudControMedia!

Marcy Ansley