Personalized email marketing for repeat sales and happier customers

Find out all you need to learn about personalized email marketing; definition, features, techniques, benefits along with inspiring examples from eCommerce.

Contents

What does personalized email marketing stand for?

Before talking about email personalization, let’s remember the importance of email marketing in today’s digital marketing scene. Email takes its roots from a very basic form of consumer communication, which is traditional mailing. The growth of email is in positive correlation with that of the Internet itself, thus we still see that most of the online sessions involve the usage of email. Despite its popularity, email – as a medium – had its own pitfalls until the introduction of personalized email marketing. With the help of state-of-the-art software technology, we are now able to use consumer data to send personalized emails. So in that sense, personalized email marketing defines all the practices that are being carried out to provide users a personalized email experience.

Are you able to fully execute personalized email marketing practices in your eCommerce business? To personalize and automate the email journey on your webshop, install Perzonalization and start your 14 day free trial.

Features of a personalized email campaign

If you’d like to create a personalized email campaign for an eCommerce business, there are different personalization elements that you can use.

Some examples of the personalization elements:

  • User’s name: “Hey Sally, this is our latest winter collection”
  • User’s location (country/city etc.): “Trending shoes in Houston,TX
  • The weather: “Today is sunny in NYC, do not forget to take your sunglasses”
  • An item the user has left in his/her cart: “Come back for this gorgeous t-shirt in your cart”
  • An item/category the user visited: “We thought you’d like these hats
  • Purchase history: “These socks go well with the sweatpants you’ve just bought”
  • Items among his/her favorites: “10% on your favorite jeans

A personalized email campaign may have either or all of the above elements. In email newsletters that are sent out en masse, using personalized elements increases the likelihood of being opened. According to a survey by Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.

A personalized email campaign may have at least one of the personalization elements such as user name, location, weather, purchase history.

Triggering events in personalization:

Another important identifier of a personalized email campaign is the presence of triggering events in the creation of the personalized email. A trigger is an action that yields in an email to be sent in an automated fashion. A triggered email, which is sent in this fashion and which also includes personalized elements is called an automated personalized email.

The triggers work in an “if this, then that” manner. Firstly, IF is the triggering event itself. Secondly, THAT is the content that needs to be included in the email. For instance, if an online visitor views 3 consecutive product pages from the same category, then an automated email can be triggered and sent out to this particular visitor’s email address.

Automated and personalized emails:

Automated personalised emails are not usually regarded as campaigns because these emails are continuously being sent out. If the personalization engine that feeds the data here is working in real-time, then the content of those automated emails will also be dynamic in the sense that the products displayed inside the emails will change. So in that sense, this approach is also defined as “dynamic email personalization”.

To make this clear, let’s think about a hypothetical consumer named Betty and list the steps of activities that trigger personalized email marketing actions:

  1. She visits abc.com – a website she frequently shops from.
  2. Betty has already logged in to the website, which makes her a perfect target for automated personalized emails.
  3. She browses through the category page in which sneakers are being showcased.
  4. Betty does not land on any product page. On the other hand, she spends a considerably good amount of time on this category page.
  5. She then closes her browser without any other behaviour.
  6. Betty receives an email within an hour of her last visit. The title of the email is quite enticing; “We thought you’d like these sneakers” and the email body includes a few product recommendations – all of them in her favorite color and acceptable price range.

This is one of the best examples of what personalized email marketing is capable of. As Betty’s purchase history is already present in the database of the personalization software, it is possible to trigger an automated email and showcase personalized product recommendations based on her tastes and preferences.

Some examples for personalization triggers:

  • Cart abandonment
  • Product views
  • Category views
  • Adding an item in favorites
  • Inactivity/passive usage on the web store
  • Frequent usage
  • High value purchases

Some examples for events that trigger automated personalized emails are cart abandonment, product/category views and inactivity. –   Tweet This!

Benefits of personalized email marketing

Although there are still challenges that come along with email marketing personalization activities, email personalization is helping both online retailers and the online shoppers. Some of the benefits include:

  • Improvement in  open rates: GetResponse finds out that personalization in the email body has an open rate of 29.95%. The survey also reveals a click-through rate of 5.03%.
  • Higher conversion rates: Aberdeen Group’s survey reveals that personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14%, and conversion rates by 10%.
  • More transactions and higher transaction rates: According to a survey by Experian Marketing Services, personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates.
  • Better response to users’ needs: According to Monetate, 61% of consumers prefer offers even if this results in less privacy.

Email personalization stats

Every month, consultancy firms and software companies are announcing new surveys on email marketing. The respondents are usually CMOs of large enterprises. Most of these surveys reveal that – although seen as an imperative form of email marketing – email personalization is still not widely adopted by the eCommerce businesses.

Let’s have a look at some of the interesting stats on email personalization;

  • A survey by The Forbes Insights and Arm Treasure Data finds that mobile apps and email are the most prominent channels through which data is collected for purposes of personalization.
  • An academic experiment proves that adding the name of the message recipient to the email’s subject line increased the probability of the recipient opening it by 20% (from 9.05% to 10.80%). This translated to an increase in sales’ leads by 31% (from 0.39% to 0.51%). The experiment also proves a reduction in the number of individuals unsubscribing from the email campaign by 17% (from 1.2% to 1.0%).
  • MyBuys found out that 40% of consumers buy more from retailers that personalize the shopping experience across channels.
  • Segment’s survey reveals that 40% of U.S. consumers say they have purchased something more expensive than they originally planned because their experience was personalized.

@Segment survey reveals a fact that can serve as a strong argument for upsell: 40% of U.S. consumers have purchased something more expensive than they originally planned because their experience was personalized. –   Tweet This!

Email personalization techniques

Email personalization usually requires that engine based and rule based approaches come together to form a coherent strategy. In summary, we can say that engine based tech enables the formation of personalized product recommendations whereas rule based tech processes the trigger events.

How to send personalized emails to multiple recipients

If a company decides to send personalized emails en masse, then it needs to use two different tools. The first one is a personalization engine and the second one is an email service provider (ESP). The personalized email templates are being created on the ESP’s customer interface and then used to send email newsletters. The personalization engine populates the email newsletter with the personalization elements i.e. personalization strings and the personalized product recommendations. If the ESP sends out 1000 emails, ideally 1000 different set of emails should be formed. In conclusion, these emails should carry personalized elements both inside the subject line and the email body.

Automated personalized emails

These emails have started to become popular among CRM and eCommerce professionals who are keen on carrying out personalized email marketing practices in their companies. Automated emails are the ones that are being sent out each time a user triggers an event on the web store’s frontend. Abandoned cart reminders are the most well-known type of automated emails whereas the other types such as product/category reminders are also becoming popular.

Dynamic email personalization

The practice of using personalization elements in email marketing in a dynamic way is called “dynamic email personalization”. Thus, personalizing the subject and the email copy is critical in adding dynamism to a personalized email marketing campaign.

According to VentureBeat’s study about the data points most widely used for email personalization, most email marketers include demographics and previous email engagements for email copy personalization.

That being said, the most effective method in dynamic email personalization is to use a real-time personalization engine – like the one we have here at Perzonalization – that can perform those tasks in an automated fashion.

The placeholders and personalization strings that are placed inside the email templates help personalization engines provide dynamic data each time the email is opened by the end-user. When the customer is met with personalized email elements, he/she is more likely to convert.

The placeholders and personalization strings that are placed inside the email templates help personalization engines provide dynamic data each time the email is opened by the end-user.

Examples of personalized email templates

A personalized email template should – ideally – enable all fields to be personalized. Starting from the subject to each element on the email body, the template should include personalized elements.

Below, you may find one of the personalized email templates we use here at Perzonalization. In this template, the user can easily define the text elements in the string format in order to include personalized placeholders. Moreover, the scenario product block includes the personalization trigger events in the automated email scenario and the recommendation block displays the personalized recommendations.

What is an email personalization software?

An email personalization software enables personalization on emails. As a matter of fact, some people may confuse email service providers (ESP) with email personalization softwares however these two have certain differences. Some ESPs also provide features that enable their clients to personalize their emails however these features are usually restricted to a few personalization elements. On the other side, an email personalization software like the one we have here at Perzonalization provides a full-fledged personalization platform that is capable of performing real-time personalization tasks on the email environment.

Personalisation in email marketing has got two main pillars; sending the email and then personalizing the email. Whereas an ESP can perform both of these tasks, the best way to reach a good result is to let everyone do its own work. Thus, the best formula is to use an ESP for sending out the emails and an email personalization software for personalizing the email marketing customer journey.

Email personalization examples and best practices

Netflix

Netflix has always been a great player in the field of personalization. With their consistent focus on personalizing content, the company is able to continously track what the users are watching. In addition, when you upvote some TV series, this information is being recorded and you are being notified each time a new season from your favorite shows are added to Netflix.

For example, the users get individual automated emails including information about the availability of a new season. For instance, the below notification email featuring “La casa de papel” is a good example of personalized email marketing.

Gfore

The golf-inspired sportswear and accessories brand by veteran fashion innovator Mossimo Giannulli keeps track of its passive customers and sends out personalized “come back” emails. For instance, in this below email, as the recipient is male, Gfore’s personalization engine obviously chose the content to fit this guy’s needs.

 

Pretty Little Thing

UK-based fashion retailer is targetting style envy 14–24 year old women thus the brand always has a need to be pushing the fashion boundaries. As a matter of fact, making the best of its automated emails seems to be a focus for the company. For instance, PLT is using a series of cart reminder emails, the first of which also includes popular product recommendations. PTL’s personalization engine chose recommended products from related and cross sell categories that match the abandoned product in the basket. In the second email, the main personalization element was the subject line that includes the name of the item abandoned in the cart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mavi.com

Personalizing the email journey was a challange for Mavi, a global lifestyle brand with strong denim roots, when we first met them. After a few months of hard-work, we introduced personalized email marketing on Mavi.com. Today, Mavi.com sees 31% open rate along with a whopping 7% CTR on its product reminder emails. 1% of those emails are in fact converted into sales.

This guide will help you understand the concepts and tactics around eCommerce personalization and learn how to apply it on your website.

Email personalization ROI

There are 3 main objectives of email marketers:

  1. Reduce cart abandonment
  2. Create repeat sales
  3. Increase loyalty

Email personalization perfectly serves all of these objectives. As an illustration, we can talk about our own email personalization results and the ones that are announced in Klaviyo’s industry benchmark report.  Both of these surveys reveal great numbers proving eCommerce email marketers that it is wise to invest on automated personalized emails. Moreover, email personalization ROI is always higher than 3X and in some cases it can go up to 10X.

Key takeaways

Personalized email marketing is still a new type of marketing and sales channel for most of the online retailers. Yet, there is still room for creativity. One thing for sure is that, a good personalization platform like the one we have here at Perzonalization can work hand-in-hand with your email service provider and help you achieve outstanding results while yielding high return on your investment. Schedule your call with one of our personalization experts to see how we can help you personalize your emails!

Curious to learn more? Take a look at related posts!

 

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İlke Karaboğalı

Co-founder @perzonalization, SaaS marketing enthusiast, ex fmcg marketer, ex Nokian