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According to Campaign Monitor, just segmenting email campaigns—one of the easiest forms of personalized email marketing—increases revenue by a staggering 760%. And the more you personalize? The better your results.
Personalized emails have higher open rates, better customer engagement scores, and increased ROI.
It’s no wonder 94% of marketing pros say personalized email marketing is is important to their objectives.
Need more stats to convince you that email marketing personalization is a vital part of marketing 4.0? We’ve got them:
98% of marketing professionals believe personalization advances customer relationships.
Personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to result in an email open.
49% of customers say they’ve made an impulse purchase based on a recommendation from a brand. Only 5% returned their purchase.
Surprisingly, only 39% of online retailers send personalized product recommendations.
One study found that the transaction rates on personalized emails are 6x higher than their unpersonalized counterparts.
67% of customers say brands should automatically adjust content to fit their current context.
84% of senior decision-makers say the potential of personalization hasn’t been fully realized.
So, we get it: Personalized email marketing drives business results. But what does that look like in practical terms?
Here are two great examples:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the brands killing it with personalized email marketing is Spotify.
If you follow an artist on the streaming music platform, you may already know what I mean. Because every time that artist comes out with something new, Spotify is in your inbox to let you know. Not to mention that every couple weeks they send out an email featuring upcoming concerts in your area by artists you love. Which means you never miss out on new stuff from your favorite musicians.
In 2018, Spotify took their email personalization a step further. They gathered up data on each user and sent them a breakdown of their own year. (And who doesn’t love hearing all about themselves?)
The text in the email let users know how many songs they listened to in 2018 and invited them to click-through to a landing page with more details about what they loved. They could automatically create a playlist of their top 100 from 2018. They could use their 2018 listens to find new similar artists and songs. And they could share their year in review on Facebook—a fun exercise for users and a great promotion for Spotify. Win-win.
Industry darling, Peloton, which has been lauded for transforming the fitness industry by combining great fitness gear, technology, and content, is another top performer when it comes to email personalization.
According to an interview with the brand’s email team, they use data on user engagement to personalize emails for each of their members. This includes weekly workout schedules and monthly activity recaps.
One of the real standouts in their strategy is their intro email, which gets a whopping 48% open rate. Inside, subscribers find a quiz that’ll help them figure out which instructors and content are the best fit for them. And since the email comes while they’re waiting for their bike to arrive, it also helps keep up the excitement and momentum around the purchase.
Since the brand is part subscription-model, ongoing engagement is also an important part of their strategy. Successful email campaigns around this include their customer-achievement-focused Peloversary email, where they celebrate a year of rides, and the century club, where reaching 100 rides earns you a badge and a free t-shirt. Emails are sent to celebrate and encourage and, bonus, people love to share their achievements on social media, which is another boost for the brand.
As the examples above show, email personalization has gone far past the days of just including a first name or tailoring content to location. Now, we’re using behavioral data and information on the listening, watching, and reading habits of our users to make sure our emails get to the heart of what they care about.
So, how do we start personalizing on that level? What are the best practices for email personalization these days?
The answer starts with understanding your customers themselves.
If you’re going to personalize for someone, you better get to know them.
If I ask you to buy a gift for my aunt, chances are, you will have no idea what to start. But since I know my aunt, I know she loves jazz music, painted wine glasses, and anything with a horse theme. Which means my gift choices for her are going to be much more spot on.
That’s all pretty obvious in the scenario above. And yet we don’t always apply it to our customers. Because of course your emails will have low conversion rates if you don’t know who you’re talking to. And of course companies see big results—like Paper Style’s 244% click-through rate increases—when they start asking prospects the right questions.
And so when we talk about personalized email marketing best practices, we have to start the conversation with data. How well do you know your customers? How recent is the data you have on them? Are you keeping track of their behavior? Do you know what blog posts they read and videos they watch?
If the answers are no, here’s your starting point. Personalizing email begins with getting good customer data.
Once you have good customer data, you can personalize your emails and start to drive real engagement.
Just like my aunt will love you if you show up at her house with a bottle of Beaujolais wine and a hand-painted wine glass with a colorful horse in it, your customers will love you if you show up in their inboxes with things they already love and want.
Just like Spotify shows up with recommendations that fit your tastes and Peloton recommends instructors and classes that are similar to the ones you’ve loved in the past, this is your opportunity to really let customers know you get them—meeting their needs and driving up your brand engagement and sales.
Of course, when we talk about personalizing emails, the only way to effectively do it is via automation.
If you want to trigger emails based on behavioral data, follow Amazon’s lead and offer personalized recommendations in your emails based on purchase history, etc., you’ll need automation tools that can make that happen.
So, what does this mean in terms of best practices? It means you need to choose the right email tools that will let you feed customer data in and automate based on that data. It also means you need an automation strategy.
We’re talking about email personalization, but the truth is that email personalization on its own isn’t going to make you competitive with today’s marketing heavy hitters. Because the most successful brands are personalizing across all their channels.
In fact, omni-channel marketing leads to 250% increases in customer engagement and purchase rates.
Ready to talk personalization with an expert? We’d love to hear from you about your business, email personalization goals, and questions. Say hi anytime to start the conversation.