If you want to improve email opens, click rates and overall campaign performance, I have one word for you: personalize.
According to a 2015 study by Experian Marketing Services, personalized emails – in which the sender merges the recipient’s first name in the subject line – boosted open rates by up to 40 percent. Transaction rates were increased 49 percent (0.09 compared with 0.06 percent) and revenue per email increased 87.5 percent (15 cents compared with 8 cents) with personalization, according to the study. That jibes with countless similar studies we’ve seen.
Personalization should not end with the subject line though. Here are three additional ways to personalize your emails to boost response rates, increase future opens and clicks, and reduce opt-outs and spam complaints.
1) Start with a personalized salutation: Dear <First Name>:
Most email marketing software allows you to merge recipient data into the subject line and body of your email. Choose software that enables you to set alternatives for empty fields. If you have a recipient record for which you have no first name, you don’t want your email to say, “Dear <blank-space>:” Set the software to insert the first name or some alternative – such as “Dear Friend” – when there is no first name value for a given record.
2) Personalize the content of your emails.
I once signed up for emails from a sporting goods store where I had purchased fishing equipment. I was interested in anything they sent me about fishing. But I had no interest in hunting. They could have known this by watching my click patterns or conducting a short survey. Instead, they filled my inbox with countless promotions for hunting equipment. I stopped reading and eventually opted out.
Segment your recipients according to their interests, geography and status (i.e., customers versus prospects) and deliver different messages to different segments.
Some email software can automate this so you can accomplish such personalization without headache or hassle. Be sure to ask for such functionality when you shop email software.
3) Personalize the from-name and reply address.
In many businesses, customers and prospects have a one-to-one relationship with a certain sales representative or other employee of the business. If this is the case in your business, customize your email database to include the first name, last name and email address of the company representative for each recipient. Then, when you send your emails, have them come from the name of that representative (with that representative’s reply email address) rather than from just your company name and some generic company email address.
When we began to employ this tactic for our business and our clients, we saw open rates increase by as much as 30 percent.