5 Email Personalization Tips That Go Well Beyond First Names

Email marketing is on its deathbed!

This is a statement that has been circulating the internet for quite some time.

Still, no marketer is willing to give up on this extremely useful and affordable strategy which, according to McKinsey, works 40 times better when it comes to acquiring new customers and has an average order value at least three times higher than social media.

We could go on and mention all the other stats which show why email marketing, though one of the oldest digital marketing strategies, is still indispensable and very much alive and kicking.

But, instead of listing all the benefits of email, it’s much more important to discuss one of the crucial factors on which its success actually depends – personalization.

The latest marketing automation tools allow you to make your mass emails be less bland and generic by adding in your recipients’ first names, but there are many ways to make your audience feel special and unique by going well beyond that first level of personalization.

1. Humanize Your “From” Section

There’s no need to mention that you absolutely shouldn’t use a no-reply email address when reaching out to your prospects.

Unless you really want to block two-way communication, which is the paramount goal behind the very idea of email marketing.

It practically screams “stay away and don’t write back,” so it’s pretty obvious that your “from” box needs to be more welcoming and inviting, in the sense that it will encourage your recipients to hit the reply button and engage in a conversation with you.

That’s what you want, right? Or, is your idea of email marketing swamping your recipients’ inboxes with your promotional messages? Hopefully not.

Now that we’ve established that a no-reply address is a big no-no, there’s another thing to bear in mind – using your company’s name as the sender isn’t the best idea either.

It seems cold, distant, and so institutional.

Instead, use the names of your marketing team members to humanize your outreach.

Your recipients will be more likely to open and engage with an email if it arrives Mike, your CMO.

To additionally fine-tune this approach, add a signature and a photo, in order to personalize it even more, and put a name to the face.

2. Segment Your Contact List


In order for your personalization efforts to be effective, the first thing you have to do is slice your contact list into several segments.

There are different ways to do this, based on different parameters and filters, including your recipients’ preferences, age, gender, location, and other general information. But you can get much more creative and target, for example:

  • New subscribers. A welcome email is a nice touch which will introduce your new prospects to your company and show them around.
  • Inactive users. Remind them about your latest offer and get them to take the next step – such as completing their purchase, or send them social proof showing how your other users benefited from your product or service.
  • Mobile or desktop users. Given that more than 50% of people browse the internet using their smartphones and tablets, it’s only logical to use different targeting options for people who access your emails from different devices.
  • Brick-and-mortar customers. Instead of offering customers who persistently purchase in your physical stores information about the latest online store arrivals, ping them only when you have some in-store promotions.
  • Website activity. Collect and analyze your prospects’ browsing data and target them based on the products they’ve viewed.

Segmentation will only work if you have all the necessary customer information, so it’s a good idea to build a custom app which will help you collect all that data and give you an insight into your prospects’ behavior. It will also be a great way to personalize your offer even further – as you will have a direct link to the way your customers behave.

3.  Personalize Your Subject Lines

Subject lines help you make a great (or a disappointing) first impression.

35% of email recipients decide whether to open an email or not mainly based on the subject line.

So, if you want to wow your audience enough to get them to open your message, you need to craft a catchy and highly personalized subject line.

Again, relying on their first name is a bit corny, as everybody is doing that, so you need to use other information that you’ve got on your recipients in order to make your subject line stand out in their inboxes.

Here’s what you can use to spark your recipients’ curiosity:

  • Their interests. Sending an email about a discount on women’s shoes to your male recipients is a sign that you don’t actually care about your prospects enough to offer them something that they will find interesting and useful.
  • Their birthdays. It’s a great idea to wish your recipients a happy birthday and give them a special offer on this day. This small gesture can actually increase your open and click-through rates and help you build loyalty with your prospects.
  • Similar product recommendations. Instead of choosing to promote random items, use your recipients’ transaction history or the items they’ve abandoned in their shopping cart. By offering to complete their purchase or showing them products similar to those they have already purchased, you’re making your subject lines relevant.
  • If you’re opening a new store in, say, London, it’s only logical to place this info in the subject line of an email that you’ll send to your recipients who live there. Informing your audience from Manchester about it will only confuse them and show that you don’t know or care much about them.

4. Build Targeted Landing Pages

To take your personalization to the next level, don’t send all your email recipients to the same landing page.

Instead, align your personalized emails with different landing pages for an even better and more consistent customer experience.

Generally speaking, the more landing pages you have, the better. Businesses with more than 40 landing pages generate 12 times more leads than those with fewer than five.

So, make sure to build a dedicated landing page, with the same, personalized copy and CTA as your email message, to match a particular audience segment and target it properly.

5. Include Personalized Videos

People are visual beings.

In other words, your recipients mainly prefer watching videos than reading long-drawn-out emails.

That’s why it’s a great idea to freshen up your email marketing efforts by adding personalized videos, and according to stats, they can boost your open rates by a whopping 300%.

The very word “video” in your subject line will capture your recipients’ attention and get them to open your email.

It’s a good idea to create different videos based on customer journey stages.

For example, this would mean recording short, informative clips for top of the funnel prospects and quickly highlight all the benefits they could get from your product or service. This is much more effective than writing about these benefits. At this point, it’s best to stick to approximately 60 second-videos.

Prospects who have progressed down the funnel will be more interested in watching longer, educational videos that will provide details on how to make the most of your product or service.

As you can see, there are many different ways to personalize your emails other than using first names. Besides, if you do that all the time, your recipients might find it too superficial and manipulative. But, with the help of customer intelligence, you can create genuinely personalized emails that will resonate with your audience and encourage them to take action.