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Put Your Data to Work: 5 Easy Ways To Start Personalizing Emails Today

Apr 23, 2018   |   4 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog

family-2923690_1920Personalization is vital for creating successful email marketing campaigns. Personalized marketing emails earn higher open rates, click-through rates and revenue compared to generic batch-and-blast messages.

Plus, brands that leverage their own data – as well as third-party data – to create relevant messages stand a fighting chance in a crowded inbox. They make a great first impression, and continue to wow customers across the buyer’s journey.

As a marketing pro, this might seem like a no-brainer. In fact, three out of four marketers agree: targeted personalization increases engagement.

But personalization can often feel too intimidating or seem too time consuming.

Remember: personalization doesn’t mean individualized messages. Personalization exists on a spectrum. At one end: mass emails. At the other: hyper-personal, one-to-one messages. Practically speaking, most brands will aim somewhere in the middle, depending on their size, skills, technology and data.

Effective marketing personalization means first gathering relevant customer data, and then filling in the gaps with additional third-party data. Then, it’s time to put that data to work.

Here are 5 easy, practical ways to use your data and begin personalizing your email marketing campaigns today.


Even simple demographic information – such as age and gender – can mean the difference between sending a relevant and completely useless offer.

When was the last time you were sent something that didn’t match, well, you?

As a millennial woman, it’s irrelevant if a department store sent me offers best suited for baby boomer men – even if I did briefly browse for a Father’s Day gift. Same goes for the message, art and copy: 40-something women don’t speak the same language as 20-something young men.

Knowing your customers’ demographic information could be as simple as asking upon signup, or sending an onboarding email with a survey. You could also fill in this information with data from outside providers.

Lifecycle Stage

Knowing where your customers are in the buyer’s journey – and understanding their needs and wants at each stage – is a powerful datapoint. This information can help you send messages that guide customers along the path to purchase, and nurture them into loyal customers or evangelists down the line.

For example, a new prospect or user should be greeted by your brand with onboarding emails, welcome coupons and other introductions. Allow them to warm up to your brand, and make a great first impression with helpful content.

Those who have shown a deep interest in your brand can be sent more aggressive sales emails or abandoned cart reminders. And customers can be nurtured with thank you emails, post-purchase surveys and recommended offers.

Transactional Emails

Transactional emails, or emails sent after a customer takes an action, aren’t just confirmation emails – they are an extremely valuable communication.

In fact, transactional emails are far more likely to be opened and drive higher revenue than non-transactional emails. They are a valuable way to continue nurturing a relationship with a customer who has shown a vested interest in your brand.

All the more reason to personalize.

Consider how you might use customer data to make these even more valuable. For example, an e-commerce brand might send recommended products based on their recent purchase and their demographic information. The brand might also actively seek feedback with a post-purchase survey.

Purchase Intent

Your customers, especially your most loyal customers or highly active users – have already shown you what they want to purchase. Much of a customer’s purchase intent is revealed in their actions – the behavioral data you collect in your CRM or marketing automation software.

Look at it from a customer’s perspective. A customer who has recently purchased a women’s coat is likely interested in other women’s apparel, such as a winter hat, boots, jeans or sweaters.

But your data is only part of the customer picture. Consider merging your first-party behavioral data with additional, third-party purchase intent behavior to understand what your customers are looking to buy across the web.

Lifestyle & Life Stage Data

Understanding your customers’ interests and needs can be key to crafting an offer that meets them where they are. That’s where lifestyle and life stage data come in.

First, let’s define these terms. A customer’s lifestyle includes their interests and passions, such as technology, sports, beauty and fitness. Life stage refers to their age and priorities, such as motherhood, new home buyer or millennial.

Imagine how an e-commerce brand or subscription service might use this data. A customer passionate about beauty could be wowed by an offer for free makeup samples. A new mom or expecting mother could be sent a guide to buying baby clothes.

The opportunities for email personalization are endless – but don’t fret. Armed with complete, clean and accurate data and a knowledge of your organization’s priorities, it’s simple to start personalizing your emails and delighting your customers.

Talk with an Email Expert