About 94% of companies believe that marketing personalization is critical to current and future success. Curiously, many marketers hardly know how to devise and execute an effective personalization strategy, with about 60% of content marketers admitting they struggle with real-time personalization.
When it comes to email personalization, having the proper knowledge and resources is key to achieving the best results. This guide lets you in on everything you need to know about email marketing personalization and how to increase your conversion rate exponentially.
What is email personalization?
Email personalization entails targeting marketing messages to specific subscribers or subscriber segments rather than sending generic messages to everyone. Segmenting emails leverages the data you have about subscribers and helps you make the most out of your email campaigns.
For most marketers, email personalization starts with using the individual's first name. However, it shouldn’t end there. Information like purchase history, geographical location, number of logins, cart content, and more can all be leveraged to send highly converting personalized messages to subscribers.
How email personalization drives growth
A report from Campaign Monitor revealed that email campaign segmentation - one of the earliest and easiest steps in personalization - can increase revenue by up to 760%. This shows that if you can devise an effective personalization strategy for your email marketing campaigns, you'll no doubt reap immense rewards.
Email campaign segmentation can increase revenue by up to 760%
Source: Campaign Monitor
Below are a few examples of how email personalization drives growth in ecommerce:
Relevant to the customer's needs
Ecommerce marketers send personalized messages based on insights drawn from onsite and offsite customer data. Thus, the messages are likely to be more relevant to the customer's needs. Little wonder personalized email campaigns generate up to 6 times more return on investment than bulk email campaigns.
Delivered at the right stage in the customer journey
Data gathering and segmentation are the foundations of email personalization. Thus, before you can effectively personalize your email campaigns, you must segment your customers into different groups based on their stages of the customer journey. When you do this, you can deliver the right content to the right audience and expect a higher click-through and conversion rate.
Recover abandoned carts
Ecommerce businesses have to grapple with the ever-increasing rate of abandoned carts - especially on mobile devices. However, since customers cannot be forced to complete their purchases, the best you can do is devise strategies that can motivate them to come back. Abandoned cart emails are a tested and trusted means of following up on customers who declared interest in a product by adding it to their cart but left without paying. These emails have an average success rate of 18% and could even go much higher with effective personalization.
Improve the post-purchase experience
Personalized emails further provide an avenue to improve your customers' post-purchase experience and ensure they have you in mind at all times. Naturally, you'll start with a "thank you for purchasing" email, but you shouldn't stop there. You can get customer feedback, send personalized recommendations of similar products, and also let your customers in on cross-sell and upsell offers.
Types of personalized emails for ecommerce businesses
Here are a few everyday use cases of email personalization for ecommerce businesses:
Personal milestones (anniversary of becoming a customer, birthday, Xth purchase, $X spent)
By recording your customers' special days and personal milestones, you can send automated congratulatory messages to them whenever the occasion warrants. This email marketing strategy reminds customers to engage with your brand and can lead to more ROI.
Browse abandonment (homepage, category page, product page)
A study conducted by Google revealed that 53% of shoppers usually do some research before arriving at a purchase decision. So, you shouldn't be surprised that many customers may spend hours browsing products on your store without even adding anything to their cart. It could just be that they lost track of the products they viewed or stores they visited. With browse abandonment emails, you can automatically send a reminder about the products they viewed and potentially get them to make a purchase.
Recommendations based on browse history, past purchases, and / or onsite search terms
Online retailers can integrate CRM software into their websites to keep track of their customers' activities. When you have customer behavior data such as onsite search terms, purchase history, and browsing history, you can send individualized recommendations that match their needs.
With the right automation tool, you can send timely replenishment emails to your regular customers. This strategy is particularly beneficial for online retailers that sell frequently replenished items such as groceries and pet food.
Once you know how often your customer comes back to buy, you can send purchase reminders to them around that time. Even if they're not conscious they need the item, your message could be the trigger that spurs them to buy.
VIP and customer appreciation
You can also leverage marketing automation tools to segment your customers based on their spending habits. Once a customer reaches a spending threshold, they could be granted access to exclusive promotions and special offers. You can still further segment your VIPs based on their level of engagement with your promotional offers. Perhaps the segment that frequently takes up your offers will have access to more perks within your loyalty program.
Brands can achieve as high as 40% conversion on their abandoned cart emails
Cart abandonment is arguably the leading cause of headaches for ecommerce retailers. Information from Statista puts the world's cart abandonment rate at 69.75%. To think of this stat another way, if every shopping cart was actually checked out, the world's ecommerce sales would more than triple. Cart abandonment emails help you remind your customers to come back and complete their purchases. And they can be very effective, too, with some brands achieving as high as 40% conversion on their abandoned cart emails.
Follow-ups and requests for feedback
Getting customer reviews could be an excellent way of improving your services and gathering some much-needed social proof. While there are numerous channels for requesting feedback, emails are the most personal. Rather than telling your customer to rate on a scale, you can ask in-depth questions that help you understand your customer's expectations. However, whatever you do, make sure your feedback request is concise and easy to answer.
Welcome (segment where, when, and how they signed up)
Welcome messages can be a great way of initiating an interaction with your site visitors or new members of your email list. However, it's not advisable to send the same message to everyone. Segment your customers based on the traffic source and draft appropriate messages for each customer segment.
For example, visitors that stumbled upon your site from a Facebook post may get a welcome message that won't appear overly salesy. However, you're allowed to take things up a notch for visitors coming in via Google Shopping ads because they probably have an intent to buy already.
Alerts (item on wish list on sale or low stock, sitewide flash sale)
You can also send personalized real-time alerts to your customers based on their previous activities. Perhaps they browsed an item a couple of times or even added it to their wishlist. You can let them know when there's a discount on the item or when you're running out of stock so they can consider making an instant purchase decision.
What can be personalized?
A solid email personalization strategy would address various elements of your marketing messages. Some of them include:
The "from" name is one of the elements your subscribers will see first when they receive your email. In fact, many email apps make this element larger and bolder than other texts in the email. Thus, personalizing the "from" name can be a great way to increase your campaign's open rate.
The common personalization strategy here is that different subscribers see different "from" names. For example, you can set up your email such that it appears to come from a customer service personnel.
The content of your marketing emails doesn't have to be the same for every user. If you have enough information about your subscribers, you can send messages relevant to their needs at that time. For example, grocery sellers can send replenishment emails to subscribers that regularly purchase household items from their stores based on their purchase frequency.
Personalizing the text in email campaigns is another common strategy brands use to increase their open rates. As always, it starts with leveraging relevant customer data, such as first name, gender, birthday, shoe size, and other data. You can then use this information to send personalized messages that will be relevant to their needs. The most common example is addressing recipients with their first names rather than using a generic 'hello there'.
Personalizing images to subscribers' locations increased click-through rates by 29%
Source: Campaign Monitor
Dynamically changing the imagery in your email marketing messages is a potentially effective marketing strategy many brands miss out on. A survey by Campaign Monitor revealed that personalizing images to subscribers' locations increased email click-through rates by 29%. Before you roll out your next set of emails, consider creating different images for different subscriber segments based on their culture or preferences.
Dynamic content offers
Personalizing promotional offers based on location or demographics is a personalization tactic that's fast gaining ground among email marketers. Instead of focusing on simple segmentation, marketers are personalizing email content based on a customer’s profile. For example, customers with a high LTV might receive better discount options than a customer who has only made one purchase from the brand.
Personalizing product recommendations is an advanced email personalization tactic that relies on tracking customers' purchases and browsing histories. With this information, marketers can send real-time, individualized recommendations that speak right to their recipients' needs. You can also send cross-sell and upsell offers since you already know what piques the customer's interest.
As mentioned earlier, cart abandonment is one of the leading causes of missed sales among online retailers. Sending cart abandonment emails can be an effective way of reminding or encouraging customers to complete their purchases. If you integrate your website with the right CRM platform, you'd know when they abandon their cart and can automatically send email reminders after a few hours or days. You could even add incentives such as free shipping or a discount on the cart value to stimulate them to complete the purchase.
Advanced software integrations can also help you track customer behavior and compile data from their email, social media platforms, browsing history, and more. With the information gathered, you can divide your customers into highly specific segments and send marketing emails based on their customer journey. With such a high level of segmentation, sending personalized messages based on customer behavior becomes easier.
How LimeSpot boosts email personalization & performance
As mentioned earlier, data gathering and analytics, as well as customer segmentation, are at the heart of any successful personalization strategy. LimeSpot makes it easy to automate what content is served to what segment, including recommendations, personalized content, and more.
Here’s why LimeSpot should be your eCommerce personalization platform.
AI-driven recommendations based on shopper preferences and intent
LimeSpot combines a brand’s product catalog with its fully automated AI algorithms to provide industry-leading product recommendations to your customers. Each customer segment can start enjoying relevant offers and recommendations right from the first day you integrate LimeSpot with your online store. Importantly, you can customize the recommendations you want your customers to see and when they should see them. Thus, you'll have as much control as you want, even when the process is fully automated.
A/B test and optimize recommendation types
LimeSpot understands that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to ecommerce marketing. Thus, a strategy that works perfectly for another store may not deliver the right results with your store. That's why the platform gives you the freedom to test as much as you want so you'd know the best approach for your business. And it doesn't stop there! LimeSpot learns from every interaction and continuously adjusts recommendations to suit changes in your product catalog and based on customers' responses to each campaign.
Start personalizing emails today
An effective email personalization strategy could be just the ticket to smashing your revenue goals. However, personalization would not be possible without extensive data collection and segmentation. By investing in an advanced AI-powered personalization platform like LimeSpot, you can easily track customer behavior, segment your customers, and send timely marketing messages to each customer.