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This Time it’s Personal…isation: Email Personalisation for Beginners

One of the easiest ways to alienate your customers is by badly using email automation.

Plenty of companies out there don’t feel they need to spend the additional time or effort to personalise an email and would rather send out a basic template to all customers. It’s so off-putting to customers because it makes it obvious that it’s a bulk email. The real crime is that it takes hardly any time at all to personalise an email with CRM software these days!

So then: now that we really get how important it is to personalise your emails, how do you do it? And what do you avoid doing? Here’s everything you need to know.

This Time it’s Personal…isation: Email Personalisation for Beginners LG

What is Email Personalisation?

So before we get down to explaining exactly what to do and what not to do, we have to be really clear on what personalisation is and what kinds there are. Basically, you’ll be using all the subscriber data you already have to make your emails feel more tailor-made to each customer. One of the basic building blocks of success when it comes to building relationships with customers is to use their names, whether you’re selling used cars on a lot or marketing through email. You can also choose to send different emails to different cohorts, so one email to men and one email to women, or an email specifically for anyone between 18 and 25. You can then use email split testing to determine whether you’re on the right track or not.

If you want to move beyond basic personalisation like age and name, you’re going to want to do two things: start asking more questions and start analysing all the site data you can relate to each customer to get an idea of what they’re into. Ask your customers why they visited your site, subscribed to your newsletter or bought a particular product—far from everyone will answer, but over time you’ll build a fuller picture of your audience.

What to do…

Knowing that email personalisation can greatly improve customer relationships and increase sales in the long run, how can you start doing it better?

The first and most simple way to improve email personalisation, as we mentioned above, is to use sales data to segment your customers. There may be a particular target audience that you want to reach for a product or service, and you can do that by breaking down your customer base into segments such as age, location, and gender. Even better, you can use sales data based on their past purchases to gather intel about your customers without having to ask: are they browsing football shirts? List them in your sports fans segment. If they’re looking at RAM and all kinds of cables, maybe you could list them as computer shoppers—you get the idea. You’ll learn who’s getting married, who’s going on holiday, who has children and more.

You can use all this info to create new audience segments. If you keep sending customers products that have no relevance to them, you can expect that they will be turned off by the company as a whole, and the best way to counteract this is by sending relevant emails through segmenting.

…What not to do

With that being said, however, there is such a thing as overkill when it comes to email personalisation. The main problem? When you get to the point where you have dozens and dozens of segments for a relatively short list. You’re going to be spending more time on creating and editing your email templates, and even if it’s easy in your CRM software to do just that, it’s still more time than you need to spend if a segment is only made up of literally a dozen people.

There’s also overkill in terms of how the customer feels with you being too friendly. Older audiences don’t necessarily like you using their given name because it’s a little too personal, and many users—especially those concerned with their privacy—don’t like you processing and using so much data (or at least, they don’t like you making it obvious to them that you do!)

What to start doing TODAY!

So knowing that you should use customer data is one thing, but what if you’re just starting out? What if you don’t have any? Here’s what you can start doing today to get on top of your personalisation game.

  • Ask for reviews
    Sending a simple, automated, personalised email asking about a recent product or service used can work wonders for any company. Not only does it help provide a sense of authenticity to your website with homegrown reviews, but their responses also give you information about their preferences so that you can recommend similar ones to upsell. It’s a win-win.
  • Dates
    Whether it is a birthday or anniversary, dates are a great way to personalise emails and show that you care about the customer and their business using data that you should have already. For example, give a birthday shout-out with a 5% off discount for a product or service. It not only shows that you remembered them but also gives an incentive to continue to do business and build a closer relationship. The best thing? You can set your CRM software to send it out automatically, and all you need is one template.
  • Suggestions
    Sending an email offering suggestions can provide another win-win scenario for your company, especially if you can find a way to make them relevant to the customers. When they click on your email and find relevant suggestions that they can use they are much more likely to click on future emails from you, which will lead to higher conversion rates and potential sales as well.

If you’re not sure how much to personalise, keep one golden rule in mind: it’s not a one-size-fits-all game, so how do you think your audience would react to a super-personal email? We don’t know your audience as well as you do, and hey, if you get it wrong… Scratch it up to testing!