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5 Tips for Better Email Personalization

Andrew Jurek

Marketing Demand Generation Specialist, Forum One

People are unique individuals, so it’s important that your email personalization matches their uniqueness. Email personalization helps ensure your emails stand out as relevant and worth engaging with. To ensure you are sending the right content at the right time to your target audiences, check out the following 5 tips for better email personalization to incorporate in your email marketing strategy.

Email marketing isn’t new for mission-driven organizations, but more recently it has become a more critical piece. According to Oberlo, 293.6 billion emails were sent and received worldwide each day in 2019, and that number expects to grow to over 347.3 billion in 2022. With your key audiences’ inboxes receiving more and more emails, it is important for you to make sure your organization’s emails stand out. Let’s explore key ways to achieve this.

1. Leverage your marketing automation platform

Marketing automation platforms, when properly integrated within your larger digital ecosystem, provide a wealth of data that allow you to segment your audiences in order to develop a  personalized email approach. You can also use them to set up automated drip campaigns and trigger actions based on milestones or specific engagement activities that will deliver further personalized content. This makes your emails more relevant and timely. Common marketing automation platforms that are well-suited to the mission-driven sector include Pardot, Marketo, and HubSpot.

2. Develop audience personas and segmentation 

Audience personas are individual profiles that represent specific people within your broader target audience. For example, a health-focused association’s broad target audience could be anyone associated with X illness or condition, while audience personas would identify specific profiles such as researchers studying the disease, caregivers, or patients. Audience personas help you to identify the individual journeys that specific people may take to find the content they need. 

In addition to being essential to your larger communications strategy, personas inform your email marketing strategy in terms of what messaging to prioritize to better reach and engage with target audiences. Audience personas also help you to create more integrated automated email campaigns where you can identify specific action triggers a person may take, and tailor your email content to those behaviors.

3. A/B test different parts of your emails

As part of personalizing your email strategy, always look for ways to increase engagement. A/B testing is an opportunity to see how small changes can affect engagement, such as which subject lines get better open rates, and what calls-to-action (CTAs) result in better click-through rates (CTRs).

Most marketing automation platforms now have A/B testing built-in so it’s easier than ever to include in your routine. But remember: only A/B test one thing at a time in a particular email so that you can attribute a specific change to better results, i.e., only change the subject line or the particular CTA, but not both.

4. Make the sender a person

This may seem too simple but it makes a big difference: always send emails from an individual, not a group. For example, send emails from Jane at X Company, not The Marketing Team at X Company. 

The goal of personalization is to develop a better connection with your audiences to gain better results. Sending emails from a general email account is counterintuitive to developing that connection.

5. Incorporate audience appreciation for brand loyalty

Whether you are a membership organization with paying members, or a large foundation working with grantees, support from your audiences is a large part of how you continue to drive your mission forward. Showing your appreciation for your audiences can go a long way in retaining their support.

You can use data, such as birthdays, join dates, first donation dates, etc., gathered from your systems to personalize audience appreciation emails that show you care for your audiences. These types of emails create a real one-to-one interaction from your brand to help develop a personal connection that hopefully grows into long-lasting brand loyalty.

Bonus tip: Use AI to adapt and optimize your email strategy

For a more advanced personalization strategy, you can adopt artificial intelligence (AI) as a means to streamline and optimize your email marketing. AI can be used to predict outcomes, process large amounts of audience data, write personalized subject lines for you, optimize send times, clean up your segmented lists, and optimize and restructure your campaigns based on data and analytics. AI can perform some of the tasks that take up most of your time so that you can focus on developing new personalized campaigns.

As inboxes only grow in size, it is imperative that you work to make your emails stand out. Using personalization techniques like the ones described above can help you reach above the noise and more effectively get in front of the people you are targeting and build a deeper relationship with them.

Written By

Andrew Jurek

Marketing Demand Generation Specialist, Forum One

Don't go it alone. We're here to help.

Forum One works with mission-driven organizations to develop and execute email personalization strategies that engage and create impact. Get in touch today – we’d love to see how we can personalize your approach to your most important audiences.

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