Email Personalization: Let’s Get Personal, Not Scary

The written word is impersonal, and no amount of emoticons haphazardly thrown in an email will change that. However, you can keep your subscribers more engaged by personalizing your messages through a combination of recipient data and appropriate humor. Following our suggestions below, you can become more personal with your recipients without coming off as the creeper of email marketing.

email personalization

Let’s talk first about first name. This is one example of a little piece of specific recipient information that can make a huge impact. Including the recipient’s name in the message or subject line can make your subscribers feel valued. It can also be good for you: on average, including a name in the subject line can boost open rates by 29.3 percent.

Of course, your readers have probably received an email personalized with their name before, so name alone won’t necessarily win you bonus points. However, starting your message with a “generic” title that might not match up to your recipient at all can be truly terrifying. It may be flattering to some, but beginning every message with something like “hey sexy” can also raise your recipient’s level of unease and your unsubscription rates.

Email personalization doesn’t have to mean only calling your subscriber by name. With email platforms like PostUp you can personalize your message with pretty much any data you have on your recipient. Updating your marketing efforts to add their state or city, or referencing recipient actions such as date last clicked can improve engagement.

Still, personalization-for-personalization’s-sake won’t increase your email marketing success rates. You still need to keep it all in moderation and in line with your previous messaging. Adding their name to every other sentence, pulling in their full name frequently, or listing the date your recipient performed every single action imaginable, especially when you have never personalized an email much before, can make your recipients go from feeling appreciated to googling “how to file a restraining order."

Another easy way to make your messages feel more personalized is to add a bit of humor. Who do you normally joke around with? Most likely friends, family, or the coworkers you know won’t tell HR. This is why using humor, even when it’s more generic, feels special: it implies a close connection with the reader.

While the idea of being too funny and crossing a line may give you chills, the majority of email readers believe humor in emails is acceptable. Still, if your mailings have never included jokes before it’s probably not a great idea to open with a line of dry-humor that recipients may take completely out of context. This is where knowing your audience comes in handy. Before you hit “send," tap into the tiny stand-up comedian living in your funny bone and read the room.

Finally, whether you choose to personalize with recipient info, humor, or both, you won’t take a wrong turn by running some A/B split tests to see where it is most effectively used. Find what works best for your email campaign to create a personalized email campaign that’s truly worth screaming about – you know, in a good way.

Email Monetization Solution Guide

And don’t stop with personalization! For even more ways to turn a scary-good profit with your email program, download our monetization solution guide. Hopefully, you’re not scared of heights, because your email ROI is about to shoot through the roof.

This blog post was originally published on October 31, 2014. It has since been updated to include more recent email statistics.