Email Personalization: Be Relevant

Beth Gramling Sanders
7 min readJul 10, 2020

Two terms you’ll hear a lot when you read about email marketing are email personalization and segmentation. What do they mean, what should you do with them, and how can they help you increase response to your email messages? I’m going to answer these questions in this post to help you use email more effectively and build a more active and engaged list. There’s a video at the end, so be sure you scroll all the way down.

You’re probably already familiar with the idea of email personalization. I’ll bet you get messages all the time that say, Hi, [your first name]! in the subject line. Yes, that’s a very basic form of personalization, but it doesn’t go quite far enough to have an impact on your open rate.

Your readers are busy and, like you, their inboxes are full of email from every source imaginable. To compete with the noise, your message must be relevant. You can personalize emails based on location, buying habits, and which content the reader has interacted with in past campaigns. This is the sort of personalization that drives up open rates and makes your email much more effective. When a reader sees a subject line that relevant to them, more often than not, they’ll click to open.

Email personalization goes hand in hand with segmentation. When you segment your email list, you create a subset with common characteristics that apply to them. It may be based on a number of factors, from demographics to geographical area.

According to Experian, emails with personalized subject lines are 26 percent more likely to be opened. Results of a study by Accenture revealed that 58 of customers are more likely to make a purchase when a retailer recommends options for them based on their past purchases or preferences. We all like to feel noticed and recognized and receiving messages that are relevant to our interests makes them much more compelling. Epsilon research found that 80 percent of customers are more likely to make a purchase when their experience is personalized.

Here are six (6) ways to segment and personalize your messages and make them more relevant so that you train your readers to pay attention.

  1. Reward your best customers with special perks. An extra 10% off coupon, early access to a sale, or an event or gift that only the VIPs receive.