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Personalized Emails for eCommerce Sites

email personalization

Dear Homeowner. Attn: Pet Lovers. To Whom It May Concern. Dear Sir or Madam. Hello.

Ever received an email or snail mail addressed that way? Of course. We all have. And we’ve universally deleted or tossed it without so much as a second glance.

If it’s not immediately relevant to us, we don’t want it. In the lightning-fast, instant gratification digital world we call home, no one has time for anything other than a personalized experience.

Consumers want it, expect it, and will quickly move on to the next platform if you can’t or won’t provide it.

Email marketing remains your most cost-effective and powerful channel for connecting with prospects, customers, and fans. Do it.

Automate those emails, and you’ll never miss a chance to reach out and engage at the perfect moment.

Automate and personalize those emails, and you’re supercharging an already robust and dynamic system. It’s almost not fair:

  • Email with a personalized subject line has a 26% better chance of being opened, and personalized, segmented campaigns generate 760% more email revenue (source).
  • Just under three-quarters of users get frustrated and annoyed with content that has little or nothing to do with them (source).
  • 45% of consumers say they are more likely to shop on an eCommerce site that offers personalized recommendations, and 80% of digital marketers believe that personalized emails are “very important” (source).
  • Segmented and personalized email campaigns have a 14.31% higher open rate, 10.64% higher unique open rate, and 100.95% higher clicks than non-segmented ones (source).
  • Emails with no personalization had a 13.1% open rate and 1.9% CTR, while those with a personalized message had an open rate of 18.8% with a 2.1% CTR (source).
  • Personalized email marketing generates 27% higher unique click rates and 11% higher open rates (source).
  • Nearly 90% of consumers enjoying receiving promotional emails at least monthly, 61% at least weekly, and 15% daily (source).

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  • Email personalization produces transaction rates that are 6x higher (source).
  • 56% of shoppers are more likely to buy again when a merchant recognizes them by name, 58% when they receive personalized recommendations based on purchase history, and 65% when the retailer knows their purchase history (source).
  • Over three-quarters of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized experience (source).

To state the obvious, consumers want to receive email from you – promotional or otherwise – but they want it to be personalized. Give them that, and they’re going to open, read, click…

And convert.

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Personalized Emails: Beyond the First Name

Email personalization has come a long way in the past few years. You can’t use a simple “Hi [first name]” greeting and then call it a day. The first name is a given. Everyone’s already doing that. Personalized email marketing in the 21st century goes much, much deeper.  

Beyond using their name, it’s about providing personalized content, messaging, intent, visuals, and more. A message that starts with “Hi Lucia” but then presents all the men’s suits on sale is not a personalized email.

Unless Lucia has an established history of buying men’s suits, she’s not going to care. What’s worse, she’ll be that much more unlikely to open your next email because you wasted her time. Email marketing is a matter of trust and relationship. Make it worth their while. Earn and keep their trust.

Everything in that message has to be about Lucia. It all has to resonate with her. Her name. Her favorite items and categories. Upsells and cross-sells that complement her past purchases.

In fact, you can increase click-through rates (CTR) by well over 300% with personalized product recommendations. If you’re not including those in your personalized email campaigns, you’re missing arguably the most important part. It’s a ship without a sail. There’s no forward momentum.

Incorporate direct links to their account page, or wish list, or recent orders. It’s an easy way to instantly make each email more personal and more relevant to each individual receiving it.

Be mobile-friendly. More than half of all emails are opened on mobile devices these days (the precise figure was 54% for 2016). That may not seem like personalization, but when your customers are checking email on their smartphone and you’re not mobile-friendly, their personal user experience is going to suffer.

Email personalization is easier to do now than ever before with all-in-one email marketing solutions like SmartMail. Find the personalization tactics that work best for you, your brand, and your customers.

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Personalized Emails: Getting Started

Personalization is built upon data. It’s the foundation. Combine your sources – signup forms, accounts, CRMs, eCommerce platform, website analytics, surveys and polls (ask questions!), and whatever other streams you have delivering data to you – with your email solution.

Determine what data you need for the personalization you want. If you don’t have it, add it to your forms, or account creation fields.

A straightforward place to start? Segment your email list. By demographics, behavior, geography, preferences, purchase history, and more. An email that goes out to everyone at 5pm on Friday regardless of their time zone is personalized. You don’t want your email to start with “Good morning, [name]” if it’s hitting their inbox at 3 o’clock.  

Or begin with buyer personas. Create 2-3, assign each customer to the persona that most closely resembles them, and build campaigns around each persona’s unique pain points, wants, likes, and objections.

Behavioral and triggered emails are personalized by default. Use them.

Match personalized emails with personalized landing pages whenever possible. This is an often overlooked and forgotten step.

Types of Personalized Emails

Personalizing emails requires reacting to what your customers do – behavioral and triggered emails – and what they have done – responding to past purchases, search terms on site, cart browsing history, incomplete checkouts, and more.

  • Personal milestones (anniversary of becoming a customer, birthday, Xth purchase, $X spent)
  • Browse abandonment (homepage, category page, product page)
  • Recommendations based on browse history, past purchases, and/or onsite search terms
  • Replenishment
  • VIP and customer appreciation
  • Cart abandonment
  • Follow-ups and requests for feedback
  • Account reports/activity
  • Welcome (segment where, when, and how they signed up)
  • Alerts (item on wish list on sale or low stock, sitewide flash sale)

If you take the time to collect and analyze data on their behavior, and set up automated triggers in response to their online activity, your emails will be personalized. You won’t be able to stop it.

Personalized Emails: A Few Subject Lines

They’re important. You know that. Keep them short, straightforward, and personal.

  1. Set Your Preferences, [Name]
  2. Running Low on [Product]?
  3. Your Weekly/Monthly [Brand] Report
  4. Take Another Look, [Name]
  5. Welcome to [Brand], [Name]
  6. Penny for Your Thoughts, [Name]
  7. What Do You Think of [Product]?
  8. We Thought You’d Also Like This/These
  9. Still Looking for [Product]?
  10. Treat Yourself, [Name]. It’s On Sale!

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Email marketing works. Personalized email marketing bumps it to the next level. With SmartMail, you can personalize every email you ever send. It’s just that easy.