8 Proven Ways to Plan Personalized Email Marketing Campaigns

Email marketing is one of those marketing approaches that hardly ever disappoints. For every dollar you invest in it, you can expect to make $36 in return

But that's not it. As a marketing channel, email marketing outperformed other channels by 43% on average. That means if you're skimping on email marketing, you're missing out on a lot. 

But with the ever-increasing competition in the digital landscape, just sending out an email won't cut it. You'll have to personalize it for each recipient because that's what customers want these days. 

The guide below discusses proven ways to plan personalized email marketing campaigns that will help you move the needle and achieve your desired results.

What Is Personalized Email Marketing?

Personalized email marketing simply means sending targeted and customized emails to your subscribers. 

In the past few years, customers have become more wary of generic, mass emails. They want personalized content and experiences that cater to their individual needs and preferences.

Segment's personalization report found that 56% of customers will become repeat buyers if they have a personalized experience. Due to this, 69% of businesses are spending more on personalization efforts despite economic headwinds. 

In email marketing, personalization involves using data and customer insights to tailor email content, subject lines, send times, and more. The goal is to make the recipient feel like you're speaking to them directly. 

A small example is saying "Hi, John" instead of just "Hi" in the email introduction. Similarly, instead of showing a customer whatever's trending in your store, you could show them products they have previously purchased or shown interest in. 

Benefits of Personalized Email Marketing 

Here are some of the benefits of using personalized email marketing:

  • Improved Customer Engagement: If it's just another generic email, the recipient might not open it. But if the email is tailored to them, there's a higher chance of them engaging with it.
  •  Increased Conversions and Sales: Personalized emails have a higher conversion rate compared to generic ones because personalized content resonates more with the recipient and prompts them to take action.
  • Builds Customer Loyalty: Customers feel valued when they receive personalized emails. It helps create a lasting impression and build long-term relationships. 
  • Cost-Effective: Personalization can now be automated with email marketing tools. So, it has become quite cost-effective now. 

8 Effective Ways to Plan Personalized Email Marketing Campaigns 

If the personalized email marketing statistics above tell you one thing, it's that personalization is no longer optional. Here are some of the best ways to plan and execute personalized email marketing campaigns

1. Use Subscriber Forms for Data Collection 

When you land on most websites, the first pop-up you see is a subscriber form asking for your email. These forms are an excellent way to collect data about your subscribers. 

Usually, these forms also offer an incentive for the visitor to give their email address. For example, Home Sick, a candle store, offers 15% off your first order for signing up. 

Home Sick Candles Personalized Email Marketing

Most websites use a simple form that asks the visitors for their email address. The goal is to expand your email list

However, you can also include other fields, such as first name and last name. If you're a B2B business, you can ask for the company name and job title, too. 

For instance, MassMailer asks for the first name, last name, email, and company name. 

MassMailer subscriber form

 The key is not to overdo it. Don't add so many fields that it becomes tedious for the visitor to fill out the form. But ask for a little more than just the email address for better personalization.

A/B testing could be useful in this regard. Create both email-only and multi-field forms. Test them out for a few weeks or months and see which one works better. 

2. Allow Preference Center for Subscribers 

A preference center is a page where subscribers can choose the type of emails they want to receive. For example, they could choose to receive only promotional emails, or only newsletters, or both. 

Typically, a preference center would ask subscribers which of the following emails they would like to receive: 

  • Promotional emails 
  • Informational emails 
  • Blog content 
  • Industry news
  • Company updates 

Here you can also ask subscribers for additional information. Suppose you're an apparel store, and you offer 20% off on orders for customers on their birthdays. 

You can ask subscribers to provide their birthdays for a special discount. 

You should also give subscribers an option to update their preference at any later time. Add a link to your preference center in all your email communications and make it easily accessible. 

For instance, Freelance Writing Jobs puts this option in all their emails. 

Freelance Writing Jobs Preference Center Link

3. Segment Your Email List 

Segmentation is an integral component of personalized email marketing. Basically, you divide your email subscribers into smaller groups based on specific criteria. 

Some ways to segment your subscriber list include: 

  • Demographics: You can use your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to collect information about your subscribers' demographics, such as age, gender, location, job title, etc. Group people with similar demographics in the same segments. 
  • Engagement: How often do your subscribers open and click through your emails? Group them according to their level of engagement. Those who are not highly engaged might need a different approach to re-engage them. 
  • Purchase History: Segment your email list based on their purchase history to offer personalized recommendations. 
  • Customer Journey Stage: New customers have different needs from existing ones. So, group them accordingly. For example, you can send welcome emails to new subscribers and special offers to long-time customers. 
  • Source: Where did your subscribers come from? Did they sign up through your website, social media, or a lead magnet? Segmenting by source provides insights into the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. 

You can also use a segmentation tool to make your life easier. ConvertKit is one such tool. Learn how to use ConvertKit for email segmentation:

4. Add Personalization Tags 

A personalization tag is a small piece of code that dynamically inserts subscriber information into your email. This can include their name, location, or any other data you have collected. 

For example, adding the recipient's name in the subject line is one use case of a personalization tag. 

So, when you send an email to your whole list, you add a personalization tag in the name field. This way, each subscriber receives an email with their name in the subject line instead of a generic greeting. 

Most email service providers offer personalization tags as a feature. Names are not the only data you can personalize with. 

Another use case is to send targeted emails based on a subscriber's geographical location. Let's say you have a brick and mortar store in different cities. You can add personalization tags for each subscriber's city. 

The subscribers then receive location-specific promotions and offers. For example, your Boston subscribers could get an email telling them why you're the best in Boston. The email, when received by your New York subscribers, will have the same message but be tailored to their city. 

5. Use Dynamic Content 

Dynamic content is a more advanced way of personalization. It allows you to change the content within an email based on subscriber data or behavior. 

Let's say you're a pet store. You sell both cat and dog-related products and food items. 

You've segmented your email list into dog owners and cat owners. The idea is to send dog-related product recommendations and promotional offers to dog owners and cat-related ones to cat owners. 

With dynamic content, you can create one email with both dog and cat product recommendations. A personalized email marketing software will then show content relevant to the recipients based on the information in your email list. 

Similarly, you can create dynamic content for local audiences, too. Suppose you're a software company that sends a monthly newsletter. Every June, you host a conference in San Francisco.

In your email, you want to encourage your regional subscribers to attend the conference but not those living in other states. 

Using dynamic content, you can create a section in the email that only shows subscribers with a San Francisco area code. In this area, you can include details about the conference and a special early-bird discount code for attendees. 

For subscribers outside of the region, this section can be replaced with a general message about the conference and a link to learn more. If you're streaming the conference online, you can also add the link to the live stream in this section for non-attendees. 

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. 

If you use Salesforce CRM, you can use MassMailer to create dynamic content in your email campaigns. 

6. Automate Emails Based on Consumer Behavior 

Behavior-based automation is a go-to approach for personalized email marketing. In simple words, you send an email if the customer performs the desired action. 

For example, if a customer abandons their cart, you can automatically send them an email reminder with a discount code. If they buy a product, you can send them a personalized thank-you email with suggestions for related products. 

Other behavior-based emails include birthday or anniversary wishes, product recommendations based on browsing history, load form submission emails, and re-engagement emails for inactive customers. 

In some cases, you can also automate based on more precise triggers. For example, if a user clicks on a certain web page on your website, they get an email about that topic. 

Let's say you're a business consultant. A customer clicks on your blog post about "Top 10 Ways to Increase Sales." 

If you've set up behavior-based personalized email marketing, that customer will receive an email about your consulting services to help them achieve their sales goals. Or, they may get a link to your ''State of Sales Report 20xx'' for free. 

Again, email automation software makes this process a breeze. For example, Mailchimp is a popular personalized email marketing software that lets you automate your emails based on specific triggers. 

7. Optimize Emails for Mobile 

Did you know that 1.7 billion people access emails on their mobile phones? That's way more than desktop email users, who are 0.9 billion in number.  

So, it's integral that your emails are optimized for mobile viewing. Here are some tips to make sure your emails are mobile-friendly: 

  • Use a responsive email template. It will adjust your email to different screen sizes, making it easy to read on any device. 
  • Use a single-column layout to make it easier for mobile users to scroll and read your email without having to zoom in or out. 
  • Keep the font size at least 14px to ensure readability on smaller screens. 
  • Use a clear and concise subject line that will fit on a mobile screen without getting cut off. 
  • Avoid using large images or graphics as they may take longer to load on a mobile device. 
  • Use a call-to-action button instead of text links. 
  • Test your emails on different devices before sending them out. 

8. Send Emails at the Right Time 

You're a company in the US, but your customers are spread across the globe. Customers in different time zones might receive your emails at different times, such as in the middle of the night, which can affect their engagement. 

Send your emails at the right time for maximum impact. For example, HubSpot data shows that the best time to send emails is 9 am to 12 pm EST. 

Best time to send personalized marketing emails 

The best day to send emails is Tuesday, as emails sent on this day receive a 27% open rate. Mondays and Thursdays are also a good time to send emails. 

While you can use this as a benchmark, it's important to check the analytics dashboard of your email marketing tool to determine the best time and day for your specific audience. Then, segment your email list by time zone to ensure a higher open rate. 

Conclusion

The future is all about hyper-personalized email marketing, where you tailor not only to the customers' demographic information but also their purchase history and interests. 

Use the personalized email marketing examples and tips mentioned in this guide to amp up your email marketing strategy and increase customer engagement. 

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May 19, 2024

8 Proven Ways to Plan Personalized Email Marketing Campaigns

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Email marketing is one of those marketing approaches that hardly ever disappoints. For every dollar you invest in it, you can expect to make $36 in return

But that's not it. As a marketing channel, email marketing outperformed other channels by 43% on average. That means if you're skimping on email marketing, you're missing out on a lot. 

But with the ever-increasing competition in the digital landscape, just sending out an email won't cut it. You'll have to personalize it for each recipient because that's what customers want these days. 

The guide below discusses proven ways to plan personalized email marketing campaigns that will help you move the needle and achieve your desired results.

What Is Personalized Email Marketing?

Personalized email marketing simply means sending targeted and customized emails to your subscribers. 

In the past few years, customers have become more wary of generic, mass emails. They want personalized content and experiences that cater to their individual needs and preferences.

Segment's personalization report found that 56% of customers will become repeat buyers if they have a personalized experience. Due to this, 69% of businesses are spending more on personalization efforts despite economic headwinds. 

In email marketing, personalization involves using data and customer insights to tailor email content, subject lines, send times, and more. The goal is to make the recipient feel like you're speaking to them directly. 

A small example is saying "Hi, John" instead of just "Hi" in the email introduction. Similarly, instead of showing a customer whatever's trending in your store, you could show them products they have previously purchased or shown interest in. 

Benefits of Personalized Email Marketing 

Here are some of the benefits of using personalized email marketing:

  • Improved Customer Engagement: If it's just another generic email, the recipient might not open it. But if the email is tailored to them, there's a higher chance of them engaging with it.
  •  Increased Conversions and Sales: Personalized emails have a higher conversion rate compared to generic ones because personalized content resonates more with the recipient and prompts them to take action.
  • Builds Customer Loyalty: Customers feel valued when they receive personalized emails. It helps create a lasting impression and build long-term relationships. 
  • Cost-Effective: Personalization can now be automated with email marketing tools. So, it has become quite cost-effective now. 

8 Effective Ways to Plan Personalized Email Marketing Campaigns 

If the personalized email marketing statistics above tell you one thing, it's that personalization is no longer optional. Here are some of the best ways to plan and execute personalized email marketing campaigns

1. Use Subscriber Forms for Data Collection 

When you land on most websites, the first pop-up you see is a subscriber form asking for your email. These forms are an excellent way to collect data about your subscribers. 

Usually, these forms also offer an incentive for the visitor to give their email address. For example, Home Sick, a candle store, offers 15% off your first order for signing up. 

Home Sick Candles Personalized Email Marketing

Most websites use a simple form that asks the visitors for their email address. The goal is to expand your email list

However, you can also include other fields, such as first name and last name. If you're a B2B business, you can ask for the company name and job title, too. 

For instance, MassMailer asks for the first name, last name, email, and company name. 

MassMailer subscriber form

 The key is not to overdo it. Don't add so many fields that it becomes tedious for the visitor to fill out the form. But ask for a little more than just the email address for better personalization.

A/B testing could be useful in this regard. Create both email-only and multi-field forms. Test them out for a few weeks or months and see which one works better. 

2. Allow Preference Center for Subscribers 

A preference center is a page where subscribers can choose the type of emails they want to receive. For example, they could choose to receive only promotional emails, or only newsletters, or both. 

Typically, a preference center would ask subscribers which of the following emails they would like to receive: 

  • Promotional emails 
  • Informational emails 
  • Blog content 
  • Industry news
  • Company updates 

Here you can also ask subscribers for additional information. Suppose you're an apparel store, and you offer 20% off on orders for customers on their birthdays. 

You can ask subscribers to provide their birthdays for a special discount. 

You should also give subscribers an option to update their preference at any later time. Add a link to your preference center in all your email communications and make it easily accessible. 

For instance, Freelance Writing Jobs puts this option in all their emails. 

Freelance Writing Jobs Preference Center Link

3. Segment Your Email List 

Segmentation is an integral component of personalized email marketing. Basically, you divide your email subscribers into smaller groups based on specific criteria. 

Some ways to segment your subscriber list include: 

  • Demographics: You can use your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to collect information about your subscribers' demographics, such as age, gender, location, job title, etc. Group people with similar demographics in the same segments. 
  • Engagement: How often do your subscribers open and click through your emails? Group them according to their level of engagement. Those who are not highly engaged might need a different approach to re-engage them. 
  • Purchase History: Segment your email list based on their purchase history to offer personalized recommendations. 
  • Customer Journey Stage: New customers have different needs from existing ones. So, group them accordingly. For example, you can send welcome emails to new subscribers and special offers to long-time customers. 
  • Source: Where did your subscribers come from? Did they sign up through your website, social media, or a lead magnet? Segmenting by source provides insights into the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. 

You can also use a segmentation tool to make your life easier. ConvertKit is one such tool. Learn how to use ConvertKit for email segmentation:

4. Add Personalization Tags 

A personalization tag is a small piece of code that dynamically inserts subscriber information into your email. This can include their name, location, or any other data you have collected. 

For example, adding the recipient's name in the subject line is one use case of a personalization tag. 

So, when you send an email to your whole list, you add a personalization tag in the name field. This way, each subscriber receives an email with their name in the subject line instead of a generic greeting. 

Most email service providers offer personalization tags as a feature. Names are not the only data you can personalize with. 

Another use case is to send targeted emails based on a subscriber's geographical location. Let's say you have a brick and mortar store in different cities. You can add personalization tags for each subscriber's city. 

The subscribers then receive location-specific promotions and offers. For example, your Boston subscribers could get an email telling them why you're the best in Boston. The email, when received by your New York subscribers, will have the same message but be tailored to their city. 

5. Use Dynamic Content 

Dynamic content is a more advanced way of personalization. It allows you to change the content within an email based on subscriber data or behavior. 

Let's say you're a pet store. You sell both cat and dog-related products and food items. 

You've segmented your email list into dog owners and cat owners. The idea is to send dog-related product recommendations and promotional offers to dog owners and cat-related ones to cat owners. 

With dynamic content, you can create one email with both dog and cat product recommendations. A personalized email marketing software will then show content relevant to the recipients based on the information in your email list. 

Similarly, you can create dynamic content for local audiences, too. Suppose you're a software company that sends a monthly newsletter. Every June, you host a conference in San Francisco.

In your email, you want to encourage your regional subscribers to attend the conference but not those living in other states. 

Using dynamic content, you can create a section in the email that only shows subscribers with a San Francisco area code. In this area, you can include details about the conference and a special early-bird discount code for attendees. 

For subscribers outside of the region, this section can be replaced with a general message about the conference and a link to learn more. If you're streaming the conference online, you can also add the link to the live stream in this section for non-attendees. 

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. 

If you use Salesforce CRM, you can use MassMailer to create dynamic content in your email campaigns. 

6. Automate Emails Based on Consumer Behavior 

Behavior-based automation is a go-to approach for personalized email marketing. In simple words, you send an email if the customer performs the desired action. 

For example, if a customer abandons their cart, you can automatically send them an email reminder with a discount code. If they buy a product, you can send them a personalized thank-you email with suggestions for related products. 

Other behavior-based emails include birthday or anniversary wishes, product recommendations based on browsing history, load form submission emails, and re-engagement emails for inactive customers. 

In some cases, you can also automate based on more precise triggers. For example, if a user clicks on a certain web page on your website, they get an email about that topic. 

Let's say you're a business consultant. A customer clicks on your blog post about "Top 10 Ways to Increase Sales." 

If you've set up behavior-based personalized email marketing, that customer will receive an email about your consulting services to help them achieve their sales goals. Or, they may get a link to your ''State of Sales Report 20xx'' for free. 

Again, email automation software makes this process a breeze. For example, Mailchimp is a popular personalized email marketing software that lets you automate your emails based on specific triggers. 

7. Optimize Emails for Mobile 

Did you know that 1.7 billion people access emails on their mobile phones? That's way more than desktop email users, who are 0.9 billion in number.  

So, it's integral that your emails are optimized for mobile viewing. Here are some tips to make sure your emails are mobile-friendly: 

  • Use a responsive email template. It will adjust your email to different screen sizes, making it easy to read on any device. 
  • Use a single-column layout to make it easier for mobile users to scroll and read your email without having to zoom in or out. 
  • Keep the font size at least 14px to ensure readability on smaller screens. 
  • Use a clear and concise subject line that will fit on a mobile screen without getting cut off. 
  • Avoid using large images or graphics as they may take longer to load on a mobile device. 
  • Use a call-to-action button instead of text links. 
  • Test your emails on different devices before sending them out. 

8. Send Emails at the Right Time 

You're a company in the US, but your customers are spread across the globe. Customers in different time zones might receive your emails at different times, such as in the middle of the night, which can affect their engagement. 

Send your emails at the right time for maximum impact. For example, HubSpot data shows that the best time to send emails is 9 am to 12 pm EST. 

Best time to send personalized marketing emails 

The best day to send emails is Tuesday, as emails sent on this day receive a 27% open rate. Mondays and Thursdays are also a good time to send emails. 

While you can use this as a benchmark, it's important to check the analytics dashboard of your email marketing tool to determine the best time and day for your specific audience. Then, segment your email list by time zone to ensure a higher open rate. 

Conclusion

The future is all about hyper-personalized email marketing, where you tailor not only to the customers' demographic information but also their purchase history and interests. 

Use the personalized email marketing examples and tips mentioned in this guide to amp up your email marketing strategy and increase customer engagement. 

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