Personalize Email Marketing With These 7 Strategies

Emails themselves are easy; most of us send dozens a day. But truly effective marketing emails are elusive. You’d be forgiven for wondering whether they exist at all.

Rest assured—they do. But crafting them takes work. One handy trick that works well for marketers across industries and demographic segments is personalization: the simple act of convincing your prospects that you know them, and what they want, better than you really do.

Email marketing

Personalizing your email marketing materials isn’t rocket science. It just takes a little time and effort. Use these seven strategies to get on your way.

1. Partner With an Industry Leader

Don’t have the time or internal resources to develop a personalized email marketing game plan? Then whip out the cheat codes.

That’s what major e-commerce players like Montreal-based Beyond the Rack have done. Back in 2012, Beyond the Rack partnered with ExactTarget (now part of Salesforce) to develop a personalized email strategy that customizes images and offers based on each recipient’s past browsing and buying habits.

Email microtargeting has become even more sophisticated since Beyond the Rack took the plunge. If you’re looking for a plug-and-play approach to targeted marketing, it might be time to follow in their footsteps.

2. Tighten Up Your Segmenting

Email marketing success does not necessarily involve sending personalized emails to every single one of your prospects.

You do need to acknowledge the diversity of your prospect pool though. This HubSpot primer features seven market-segmentation case studies, some involving email marketing, that increased conversions and sales. Check it out—you might learn something about your ideal buyers.

3. Base Personalized Copy and Images on Past Buying Behavior

Personalized marketing emails ring true. While it’s unrealistic to develop personalized copy and imagery for every single one of your prospects without the aid of a professional tool like ExactTarget, you can absolutely use small-scale behavioral cues to target prospects with the right messages.

A simple example: Follow-up emails, sent two to three days after a purchase, asking how the recipient likes what they bought. These follow-ups are great opportunities to point buyers to similar products.

4. Send From a Real Email Address

Always send personalized marketing emails from a real email address that shows as a human name in your recipients’ mailboxes. Avoid generic, spammy addresses like noreply@yourdomain or promotions@yourdomain—prospects see those coming a mile away, and most sophisticated email platforms filter them into spam or promotions folders anyway.


5. Include Location-Specific References

One easy way to segment your marketing targets is by geography. It’s common sense to use what you know about your prospects’ physical locations to inform your promotions—for instance, you wouldn’t waste your time selling winterwear to customers based in South Florida. Go a step farther and include city- or state-specific references, like congrats on a local team’s recent win or commentary on the weather.

6. Name-Drop Throughout

You know your prospects’ names—so use them. Sprinkle first names throughout the message body, and try to get a mention in the subject line if it sounds natural enough. Just don’t overdo it; one mention per paragraph is plenty in most contexts.

7. Encourage Social Sharing and Forwarding

You know your prospects have friends and family, so get them involved too. Feature social sharing buttons prominently in each new email. Use unique referral codes to entice recipients to forward or blast out your offers to their networks. And run periodic contests that raise the stakes for serial sharers. Giving away a few hundred dollars in merchandise every month is a small price to pay for thousands of unique impressions.