How Personalized Emails Will Increase Your Profit

Picture this. 

You’re at a networking event. You go up and talk to the first person you see.

You shake hands, introduce yourself and begin talking.

In no time at all, the conversation is going great.

You’re really hitting it off with this stranger, but you soon realise that you have to go.

 You’d  like to see this person again, so you decide to grab their phone number.


Oh – you just forgot their name. Silence…

Remember how that feels?

awkward face gif

Luckily for you, they were thinking the exact same thing.

“Hey Jim, let me grab your number.”

By some miracle, they’ve remembered your name! And it makes you feel happy.


Ace Ventura pet detective smiling

This is the psychology of personalization.

Believe it or not, your own name is one of the sweetest sounds you will ever hear – which makes remembering it a powerful act.

As people, we crave this kind of experience.

As email marketers, we should be taking advantage of this simple truth, and using it in our favour.

Why a personalized email is so effective

Including a personal touch will dramatically improve various email marketing metrics. A study done by Experian found that when compared to non-personalized emails, personalization achieved the following:

  • 6x increase in transaction rates and revenue 
  • 29% higher open rates
  • 41% higher click-through rates
  • 2x increase in conversion rates for triggered emails

By looking at user’s behaviour, needs and interests, we can target them via a more one-to-one dialogue. This delivers a better customer experience during any interaction they have with our brand.

Why aren’t marketers using personalized emails?

Even though we know that personalized emails are epic, 70% of brands don’t use them.

Marketers don’t know how to implement effective personalization in their email campaigns. From segmenting their email list to using the right tools, all the way to incorporating it into their strategy. Most think they will have to re-organize their entire email database. However, a small change can drive big results.

Let’s look at some of the ways we can personalize our emails.

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Capture their data

Personalization is only possible if you have customer data. This shouldn’t be a problem as you would have captured it through the following:

  • Email opt-in forms
  • Abandoned carts
  • Content downloads
  • Website interactions (products and pages viewed)
  • Mobile app interactions
  • Location
  • Purchase history

Here’s a post-purchase email by Prezzybox showing how they used the signup form (for the name) and purchase history (for the products) to craft this winning email:

Thank you for your purchase email by prezzybox


Correct sign-up forms

As mentioned above, capturing customer data is key to a successfully personalized email campaign. However, you don’t want to capture data if you’re not gonna use it.

Your sign-up form is the most important tool you have to capture customer information, as you can tailor this to ask unique questions.

Here is Snapchat’s sign-up form. They include a birthday box as they believe it to be important personalized information.

Sign up form by snapchat

Check out Bombfell’s advanced signup form. A lot more information is required so their stylists can pick the right clothes for their customers. From height, weight, preferred style and much more.

Sign up form by Bombfell

Segment your list

Since we have a lot of data on our customers, we should segment our email list for further personalization.

Here’s why:

  • Segmented campaigns were opened 14.64% more than non-segmented and experienced 59.99% more clicks based on MailChimp’s latest user data
  • 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns according to DMA

Email segmentation is the art of splitting your list into groups. Your email list consists of different types of people, with different behavior, profiles, and interests.

For example, we can look at customers who have spent a total of $100 in the past 6 months. A majority of these customers will most likely be one-time purchase customers. We could send them a 40% discount offer to make them repurchase again. Customers who have purchased more than once are likely repurchase again as they will be more familiar with the brand.

Aside from purchase history, we could look at their geographic location. For example, Australian customers might be interested in exclusive promotional deals on their national holiday, Australia Day.

Here’s a great visual representation of a well segmented list from Email Monday:

list segmentation by email monday

There are many ways you can segment your list. Here are some categories you might use:

  • Gender
  • Location
  • Purchase history
  • Behavioral data from website interaction
  • Age
  • Job title

What does your customer want?

Sometimes if you don’t have enough data on your customers, you can go the direct approach and ask them what they’re looking for on your site. Not everyone is joining your site for the same reason.

Paper Style, a company that creates custom wedding invitations, analyzed customer’s behavioral data on their site. They uncovered two separate audiences: brides, and friends of the bride who are helping with the wedding planning. Instead of guessing what kind of customers they were, they sent the following email:

custom wedding invitations email by paperstyle


By segmenting their audience into the categories “your wedding” or “friend’s wedding”, and sending separate emails to each group, the following happened:

  • 244% increase in open rate
  • 161% increase in clickthrough
  • 330% increase in revenue per mail-out

Not a bad a result for asking one simple question.

Behaviour triggered emails

It’s a fact that triggered emails achieve superior results than traditional emails.

Triggered emails are emails initiated by a customer’s actions, profile or preferences. This is different to bulk emails where marketers will send emails to their whole list all at the same time.

Yes Lifecycle Marketing’s Q1 2017 report showed that average order value for triggered emails was $61.54 compared to$56.34 for non-triggered emails. Open rates, click-through rates, and clicks rates were also significantly greater than typical bulk emails (“Business as Usual” emails).

Yes Lifecycle Marketing’s Q1 2017 report showed that average order value for triggered emails was $61.54 compared to$56.34 for non-triggered emails.


Given they have a higher open rate than traditional emails, we should be able to take advantage of this and tailor our emails to convert them into lifelong customers.

Abandoned cart emails are a common behavior triggered email marketers use. When a customer adds an item to their online shopping cart but exits before completing the purchase, an email is automatically sent. Here’s an example by doggyloot:abandoned cart email by Doggyloot


Here’s another behaviour triggered email by Dropbox where they target customers who haven’t downloaded their app onto their computer yet. Most likely the email is sent a number of days or months after signing up. Notice in their unique copy:

  • The customer’s first name
  • Pronouns throughout the copy such as “you” and “your”
  • Re-stating the benefits of downloading the app

winback email by dropbox

Source: crazyegg

Personalized sender

Since we only have  a few seconds to capture readers attention with a subject line, creating an effective subject line is extremely important. Here are some great subject line examples from Digital Marketer :

Personalized email subject lines example

You can even personalize it further by adding their first name. For example:

Bob, you’re about to miss out…

Besides email subject lines, we can also personalize the sender of the email. Hubspot ran an experiment back in 2011 comparing generic sender names to personal names.

The change lead to an increase in click-through rate from 0.73% to 0.96%. Even though this difference may be small, a small difference can make a huge impact on a big list. In the case below, 292 more clicks.

graph of a case study by hubspot graph analyzing personalized sender name and a generic name

Source: Hubspot

UserVoice’s welcome message is from CEO Richard White. This personal welcome from the CEO helped to establish trust with customer from the start. People like to connect with real people – not just a generic bot.

UserVoice’s welcome message is from CEO Richard White.

Source: Betaout

Skim your data before using their name

Using your customer’s name when personalizing your emails is one of the easiest strategies to implement.

Experian’s study proves that using someone’s name in a subject line results in a 26% open rate increase.

Contradicting this result however is Temple University’s study showing a negative impact when including the user’s name.

All in all, it’s best to split test this if you do choose to personalize your emails using first names.

If you do decide to go ahead, be sure to take a few minutes to manually skim through your data to ensure that nothing “odd” stands out.

For example, if someone’s first name is “fgdge4353” or “namezzzzz”, we know that this is not their real name. In this case it’s better to delete them from your list.

However, if you do decide to keep them, use a generic pronoun in your emails, e.g. “Hey friend”.

When filling in opt-in details, customers are often lazy and won’t capitalize the first letter of their name. Take time to fix this up as it will look “unprofessional” when emailing out. E.g. “Hey donald” vs. “Hey Donald”.

Here’s an example of what not taking time to skim through the data looks like by Air New Zealand. The customer seemed to have misspelled their name, “Anthony”, which has lead to the mistake being repeated in the email, “Hello Anyhony”.

newsletter by air new zealand of a promotion of 4x airpoints at new world

Spending time to go through your list and apply common sense to any dubious details will ensure your email list is reliable and up-to-date.

One last thing

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to email marketing. That is why personalization is a must.

However, personalization is all about taking baby steps and testing as you go too.

It could be that some people enjoy having their name on the subject line, or maybe they don’t. There’s no point changing several variables at once without knowing which one is working.

Good luck testing!

Are you implementing any great personalization strategy that you want to share? Leave it in the comments below!

Like what you're reading?

Download our FREE PDF with our 15 of the best email personalization examples!

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