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Ultimate Guide To Email Marketing

How to create personalized emails that strengthen your bond with subscribers

Something special happens when you become a “regular” at your coffee shop. You feel a personal connection when you're greeted by name and the barista already knows your order.

This personal interaction became a lost art in the digital age. As companies began to conduct more business online, people became impersonal ‘users’ instead of human beings. That is starting to change.

Companies now realize the importance of building individual relationships with their customers and personalized emails are helping them achieve it. In fact, 72% of consumers say that they will only engage with personalized messaging.

Here’s how you can add a personal touch to your email marketing.

Personalized emails are when marketers use subscriber data, such as name, location or behaviors like recent purchases, to create email content that feels like you are speaking directly to them.

When done right, your email content will feel much more relevant, which is the best way to gain trust and build a relationship.

There are lots of ways you can personalize your emails. For example, write a personalized subject line by including your subscriber’s name, send a birthday email on each subscriber’s actual birthday, or share special offers that are happening in your subscribers’ local area—we’ll talk more about this later.

Take a look at this email campaign from Bethany Hamilton, an American professional surfer. By personalizing the subject line and the opening message, she instantly makes the email content more relevant and directed to the individual subscriber.

Personalized subject line example

If you were on a busy street, and someone shouted your name, you’d turn around instantly, right? They’d have your attention straight away.

It’s exactly the same with email marketing. When people are scanning their crowded inboxes, your personalized email will stick out like a sore thumb (in a good way)!

If you still aren’t convinced, then here are 5 stats to think about:

  1. You get higher open rates: Using someone’s actual name in the subject line increases email open rates by 26%.

  2. Say hello to more sales: 60% of consumers say they will become repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience.

  3. Personalization creates a tailored customer experience: 70% of millennials feel annoyed by irrelevant marketing emails.

  4. You can get better engagement: Personalized emails have a click-through rate 2.5x higher than generic emails.

  5. Your customers want to be treated like people: 84% of people agree that they would be more likely to give their business to brands that treat them like people, rather than numbers (helloooo, higher conversion rates).

Yup, it’s time to use personalization. If you want to catch your subscribers’ attention, increase conversions, or grow sales—personalized email messages should be your new favorite email marketing strategy.

Surprisingly, the best personalization has little to do with knowing your subscribers’ names or interests. It starts by understanding your brand and yourself.

The ultimate goal of personalization is to build stronger relationships with your subscribers, but too often people forget that relationship building is two-sided.

It’s not enough that you know someone’s name, where they live or their favorite hobbies. For a relationship to form, they need to know something about you. You need to come across as a relatable human, not a faceless business.

Optimizing your human side

Whether you are an individual or a large company, there are several personalization tactics to show your human side in your email marketing campaigns.

1. Include a real name and photo

A personalized email should come from a real person. The best way to humanize your email is to include a photo of the sender. People are visual, and a photo will make an instant connection.

2. Show your personality

Try to avoid business jargon. Talk in a friendly, more conversational manner. Your brand should have a distinct personality. Email is a great place to showcase it. Engaging personalities draw in people.

3. Make it easy to respond

A two-way relationship means people should be able to reply directly to the sender. Make sure the email address includes the sender’s name and put a process in place to respond promptly. Also set up a fun, eye-catching call-to-action (CTA), so that they can dig deeper.

4. Send something fun

Every email you send doesn’t need to be about business. Try to infuse some fun to show your subscribers your human side. Wish them a happy birthday or include a video of something that you think they would enjoy.

Personalized email structure

A subscriber relationship built around trust and loyalty starts with you sharing your personality. When people know they are talking to an actual human, the dynamic changes and they are more willing to engage.

The next step is to add elements of personalization to your email. MailerLite’s custom fields feature enables you to insert specific details about your subscribers like their names, their company and where they live.

Tip: When collecting and processing subscriber data, it's important to keep up to date and comply with privacy laws.

MailerLite automatically collects the subscriber data captured from your signup forms, such as their name and email. You can then insert that data directly into your messages to make it personal.

Instead of sending out an email with a generic salutation like “Hi there,” you can simply write “Hi {$name}” and every email will be populated with the actual person’s name (as long as you have the subscribers’ names in your custom fields).

A custom field that reads “Hi {$name}” would be replaced with “Hi Kathy.”
Personalizing the name

Here are a few more ideas to leverage your custom fields feature. You can do all of these things using MailerLite!

1. Personalize the subject line

You can insert the recipient’s name in the subject line, which is a smart way to stand out in a cluttered inbox. As they skim their new emails, seeing their name will pique interest. Check out our ultimate guide to writing email subject lines to learn more.

Personalized email subject line in MailerLite

2. Personalize the ‘from’ address

When the email comes from a real person instead of a disembodied company, it adds a human touch that is harder to ignore.

Sender address personalization

3. Personalize the preheader text

Also known as “the second subject line,” email preheaders are very important for mobile devices. Preheader text takes up more space than the subject line, giving you another opportunity to personalize.

Personalized email preheader in a mobile inbox

4. Personalize the postscript

The “P.S.” at the end of your email is often read more than the actual content. Make the text count. Maybe add another personal detail like their company name or their city.

Postscript personalization

5. Personalize an image

Get creative by adding personal information to dynamic images. You can use a tool like Sirv to create and tag your image.

Personalized email image

6. Personalize your audience

Interest groups (or tags) allow you to add special labels to your subscribers, and group them based on their behaviors or interests. For example, if you run a health and wellness page, you could group your subscribers based on those who are more interested in yoga, or those who prefer cardio. With subscriber management and segmenting, your email campaigns will be much more targeted and personal.

Group personalization

7. Personalize individual content blocks

Our dynamic content blocks allow you to show/hide certain parts of your newsletter, depending on the demographics of your subscriber. So you can send an email to all your subscribers but one section will only be seen by a targeted group. It’s like adding a secret message to the people who need the info.

Content personalization

8. Personalize the delivery time

With MailerLite, you can deliver emails by timezone, so that no one wakes up to one of those 3AM marketing emails!

Timezone personalization

While adding real names or other types of information within the text can be effective, it can also backfire if you don’t have the right information. Periodically review your email lists to ensure the data is correct.

The last thing you want is to greet a subscriber with, ‘Hi jojoxyz.'

For more guidance on creating and implementing these types of personalization within MailerLite, learn how to create and use custom fields.

Ready to get personal?

Sign up for a free MailerLite account and instantly gain access to all of the personalization features you can use to fire up your email campaigns.

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Inserting personal information in your emails is a cool feature, but it's only effective if the rest of the content is relevant to that individual. Check out this guide to find out more about crafting email content that people care about.

An email becomes genuinely personal when you can address your subscriber’s needs.

Amazon is considered the pioneer of personalized emails because they can use your shopping history to craft content that is unique and relevant to you. They often send abandoned shopping cart emails, or check in with you when they see you’ve been looking at a certain product (just like in this email below).

Amazon personalized offer

Amazon is a massive company with a sophisticated personalization operation, but the good news is that you have similar capabilities with MailerLite.

In the two previous chapters, we covered automation and list segmentation. These are the building blocks that help you create more relevant content.

The more you segment, the more you can deliver the right content to the right people.

Let’s say you set an automation trigger on a specific product on your website. You can configure MailerLite (using an e-commerce integration) to send that person a targeted email referencing the product and sharing similar products.

You are closer to one-to-one marketing than you think.

So we’ve covered why you should send personalized emails, along with some of the best email personalization strategies. Next up, let’s find out how you can gather data from your customers and subscribers...

1. Automate subscriber targeting with email triggers

Automatically send highly-targeted personalized emails by using email triggers to target subscribers based on their behavior. 

For example, if a subscriber follows a link to read a blog post about shoes for the summer, you can send them a personalized email focusing on shoes.

Automated email by link click in MailerLite

2. Enhance email personalization with integrations

Companies that collect customer data across their different tools can use it to find new ways to personalize their marketing.

Traditionally, email marketers collected data by asking a lot of questions on a signup form.

People don't fill out lengthy forms anymore.

When you ask for too much information, most people will never fill out the form. It’s much more important to get the subscriber first, then worry about collecting more data later. That is where integrations can come in handy.

People don't fill out lengthy forms anymore.
MailerLite integrations

If a customer is interacting with you, there is a chance that you already have information about them in a different system, such as a CRM, customer service software or e-commerce platform.

When you integrate your email with these other tools, you can match the subscriber names and create more in-depth profiles. These data points allow you to segment and personalize your messaging in a more targeted manner.

Fire up your personalization game! 🚀

Mailerlite provides several integrations that can help you combine your data.

Show me the integrations

Here are some of our favorite MailerLite integrations that will enhance your personalization.

Shopify Integration

You will automatically sync customer information and purchase history data from your Shopify store to MailerLite. Use your e-commerce data to personalize email with specific products unique to them. Learn more

Ads Workbench Integration

Create and automate personalized follow-up emails in MailerLite that are sent to the new subscribers that found you on Facebook lead ads. Learn more

3. Ask subscribers for more info in subscribe forms

Forms are a crucial part of your digital marketing toolkit. When people sign up, it’s your golden opportunity to gather all the information you need.

Just by adding one or two extra fields, you can gain extra insights into who your subscribers are and what will resonate with them, to create a more personalized customer experience through your email campaigns.

The ‘go to’ fields are name and email address, but here are some further ideas that you could sprinkle in there:

  • Birth date: So that you can send out an automated birthday email, or send tailored newsletters depending on their age demographic

  • Country: So that you can give them relevant offers for their location and currency

  • Interest groups: So that your subscribers can check boxes and decide which types of content they want to receive

Personalized pop-up form in MailerLite

The key is not to overdo it. If your form is too long, people won’t bother signing up. A general rule of thumb is to have no more than 3-4 fields, so choose your categories wisely!

Ready to set up your own form? 🙌

With MailerLite, you can add signup forms to your websites and landing pages using either embedded forms or pop-ups. They’re super easy to set up, and you can design them in our drag & drop editor.

3. Adopt analytics tools

Did you know that tools like Google Analytics can help you to analyze website behavior? This isn’t for stalking your target audience—it’s just about getting to know them so that you can start off your relationship with them on the right foot.

Here are some of the ways that analytics can help you to create personalized emails:

  • Abandoned cart emails: Perhaps your subscribers forgot to check out, and a gentle nudge could be the final incentive for them to convert

  • Product recommendations: You can share products in your email that resonate with your subscribers’ interests

  • Specific discounts: Add a special offer on the products that your subscribers click on the most

Rather than getting a general, cookie-cutter marketing email, your subscribers will be glad to receive email content that is specific and personal to them.

Integrate Google Analytics with MailerLite 🤝

When you create email campaigns, websites and landing pages with MailerLite, you can easily add your custom Google Analytics code into the settings.

It’s inspiration time! As these 4 examples will show, there’s more than one way to personalize your email…

#1 - Spotify's year in review

Now, the obvious choice might be to whack your subscriber’s name in the subject line, but Spotify went deeper in this personalized email. They dug into their customer data and delivered an end-of-year review of everyone’s listening history. Digital marketing at its finest!

Spotify GIF personalization example

#2 - Uber Eats' re-engagement email

In this personalized re-engagement email, Uber Eats segmented their subscribers and targeted the ones who hadn't made a purchase in a while - ‘We’ve missed you Erin!’. The content is relevant to those who previously used their service, but haven’t been using it as frequently, and offers an incentive to make another purchase.

Uber Eats personalization example

#3 - Grammarly's weekly writing insights

Grammarly provides users with weekly metrics that provide insight into their writing. This includes handy stats like most common mistakes and tones used that help users adjust their writing to help meet their objectives.

Grammarly personalized email example

#4 - Google’s 2021 timeline update

When people have their location history switched on, Google sends a yearly newsletter showing the places they visited and where they spent most of their time. A nice way for people to look back on how far they’ve come (literally)!

Google personalization example

(P.S. For more stunning newsletter ideas, check out our email template gallery! 😍 )

At the end of the day, your subscribers are human—just like you! By using personalization techniques like showing your personality and sending email content subscribers want to read, you can interact with them in meaningful ways, and show them how much you care. (Plus, personalized emails drive higher conversions, which is a nice bonus!)

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