5 Ways to Easily Personalize Your Emails

Hey everyone! Today we’re going to chat about email + personalization. Don’t you love that word? Well, as much as I love it in practice, this buzz word gets slinged around a lot with little action behind it. 

Did you know that according to Certona, only 39% of online retailers send personalized product recommendations via email?

Personalized emails, when done right, are emails that will STAND OUT. They are highly relevant, custom-fitted to your exact audience, and feel like they came from one real life person to another. Beyond that, personalized emails are all about sending the right content to the right people at the right time.

So let me share a few ways to actually personalize your emails – TODAY!


Tip #1: Use dynamic content in the subject line. 

If you’re familiar with using email marketing softwares to send emails, then you’ve probably come across something called dynamic content, or personalization tags. This is a way to personalize your emails without doing extra work. For example, you can personalize your message to include someone’s first name!

I recommend that you add a first name to the subject line to increase open rates – I mean, who doesn’t want to see their name in their inbox. And yes, a lot of companies do this but as humans, we are conditioned to open when something is addressed to us out of sheer curiosity. 

Adding a first name to a subject line can result in a 29%+ higher unique open rates.

Another great way to incorporate the first name is in the headline. I love to add first names in hero (banner) headlines or email cody headlines.  Instead of the traditional way to start the email:


Try a really catchy headline instead like:

  • “Hurry, [FIRST NAME] – your cart is expiring! You can gain 41%+ on your click-through rates!

Tip #2: Rotate the hero based on demographic segments. 

Most companies create personas based on their buyer’s age group, needs, or demographics. One of my favorite ways to personalize email copy is to utilize these segments by changing the hero image of the email to match.

Hero image: A term for the oversized banner image at the top of a website or in this case, an email.

Here’s an example:

You are sending out a promotion on an item and have 3 seperate groups/audiences/buyer personas you want to reach: those with no kids, those with kids, and your retirement audience. 

While the entire email is going to be the same, your hero image can reflect lifestyle speaking to these demographics. We can show a friendly social gathering for our non-parents, a shot of a family for our parents, and people walking the beach for our retired group. While this is just an example, I challenge you to look for opportunities like this. 

PRO TIP: Check to see if your marketing automation platform has native dynamic content you’re not using! Most of them do, and it’s a great way to add a personal touch to emails that will really resonate with your audiences. 


Tip #3: Birthday & Anniversary

Oh man! Nothing makes me more happy than a well-executed birthday and anniversary email. These are two easy ways to personalize your emails to customers. It may be one of the more intimate ways to say “I really know you and care about you.”

This takes a little bit of pre-work. Ideally in your new customer welcome series you would have an email dedicated to collecting more information about your customer. Insert “give us your birthday” here. Then, we can come up with a very special gift to send on their birthday.

What is even better is celebrating anniversaries – the more the better. One year is a HUGE milestone especially in this new world where customer loyalty is almost non-existent. I tend to create 3 milestones for clients here – 1 year, 2 year, and 3+. If you have a company where your customer’s have really long relationships with you, we can adjust this to look a little different.

Offering a special discount or exclusive opportunity to your loyal customers will keep them the way they are: loyal! This tip is so easy to incorporate into your email strategy, and the gains are huge. 

Tip #4: Make use of location and time – SMART SEND FANATIC

It’s no secret that certain times of day prove to be better than others when it comes to sending emails. Your customers might love getting an email at 8:00 a.m., or they might respond better to getting one at 5:00 p.m. Either way, we are sure you have A/B tested this and found the optimum time to send your emails.

However, it’s likely that not all your customers are in one location or respond to emails at the same time. They may be all around the world, scattered across different time zones, and possibly receiving your emails at non-optimal times.

So, one of the easiest ways to really personalize your emails is to utilize recipient timezone send option or even better “smart sends.” Smart send in one way or the other exists in most ESP/Marketing Automation tech. 

This is a feature which will send across a set period of time, looking at the list and delivering the message at an ideal time based on their past behavior.

It pays you back fast, usually with conversion lifts of upwards of 8%!

Tip #5: Behavior triggers 

Lastly, behavior triggers make email real-time. Trigger emails have a 152% higher open rate compared with traditional emails. They are a valuable communication tool and convert window shoppers into lifelong customers. In essence, behavior triggers like leaving their cart behind, browsing but not buying, downloading your data sheet allow your email to be:

  • Timely
  • Relevant
  • Help to facilitate a personalized experience.

This is the perfect opportunity to find a very important email and test one of these personalization techniques against what you were going to send via your control. Or, perhaps you need to build a few more behavior trigger-based programs to create a personalized experience. I would love to hear what you found in the comments – and send any questions you have my way, as always.

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