What are some ways you can make your emails more personalized?

I am a staff editor and contributor to a small community newsletter. I want to integrate the community aspect more into our writing to make our readers feel a part of it. One way to do this is to start by personalizing our emails. What are some email personalization techniques you can share?

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8

1. If you have the person's first name, don't use it early in the email newsletter. Surprise them by including it somewhere in the second or third paragraph.
2. Write like you talk. Use short, simple words and local terminology. People will be drawn to your unfettered and relaxed style. Far too many lose all intimacy with their email subscribers by using a cold, corporate style which is most unlike their real self.
3. Be interesting! Tell stories. Delve into local legends and rumors. People are interested in other people - share your experiences freely. Had a great experience at your local coffee shop? Tell everyone about it! Had a unpleasant experience with some dog mess left by a thoughtless resident or visitor? Share that too!

For more resource I recommend looking up Michael Katz of Blue Penguin Development and signing up for his free email newsletters.

5

This is a great question, Kelly.

Personalization can be as simple as giving name in the subject line and twice in the email body at appropriate places where you expect a special action, attention or answer from the receiver.

Going beyond, you can segregate your email list into location (if it is applicable in your case) and ask specific questions. They feel connected and special.

Lastly, you can try behavior triggered emails. Facebook does it very well when you're off FB for over 5 days. You can email your community members whenever see an opportunity of reward, alert or inform.

Hope this helps.
All the best

4

Continuing on what others said, you want to use the person's name whenever possible in the email subject line and in the opening (Hi ,name). With some email newsletter tools you can also insert the person's name throughout the body text and make your newsletter more personal and interactive by asking questions, such as, "name, what do you think about this?"

Also, as with all marketing communicatoins, everybody cares mostly about themselves, so use the word "You" a lot instead of "me", "us", etc.

And, talk in a friendly, simple, conversational style. Don't write cold and corporate and stuffy. People hate reading stuff that sounds like it was written by an attorney...except for maybe attorneys.

I hope this helps!

Peter Geisheker

4

I would suggest creating content about your community members. Highlight individuals or businesses in your community and create content about them and their story.

In addition to what the others have said in terms of personalizing subject lines and salutations if you have the right technology and you have segmented your email list there are many other options for personalization.

Here are 27 ways to segment your subscribers
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33083/27-Ways-to-Slice-Dice-Your-Email-List-for-Better-Segmentation.aspx

Keep in mind, there's a fine line between personalization and perceived privacy infringement.

Here's some relevant info on the subject. http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-personalize-creepy

Hope this helps.

4

Concurring with the others, in conjunction with those approaches, I know of 2 wildly successful CEOs who go so far as to write in all lowercase letters to convey their personal touch. And while it may seem awkward to read at 1st, after a while, the readers (myself included) begin to feel more and more comfortable in our correspondences. Some brands use lowercase altogether in everything, unless it's a legally binding document. Hope this helps.

4

Hi Kelly - One can't personalize email communications when all you have is an email address. Can anyone argue that point? Therefore, we have to ask at least a few questions in our sign-up forms like name, location, demographics, and interests. Why did they sign up, for example? That is valuable information for personalization. You may need to rethink your entire email strategy if you want true personalization. You can then use these unique subscriber identifiers to segment your email list. For example, if 8:00 am is the best time for opening email, you'll need to send out emails based on timezone / location. Does where I'm headed make sense? As difficult as it may seem at first, the only way to personalize is to get added info up front from your subscribers. Obtaining that added information from existing subscribers is another hurdle, but one that must be addressed in order to personalize. Yet another way to personalize is to track email behaviors. One of the easiest is to segment your list based on what links subscribers click on in your emails. A good email provider will allow you to obtain insights into what actions subscribers take - like clicking on particular links. Good luck!!

3

To add to what Sunita already mentioned:
In general keep your sentences short. Avoid using comma's too much and also keep your word choice simple and on the casual side.
What definitely works is writing in a personal form. So use words like "I", "me", "my" instead of "us", "we", "the company".
If appropriate write about interactions you had with members of the community.

2

First name in the subject line and also using a personal greeting in the body, such as "Hi Joe".

2

As part of our Cloudia Assistant training (for our CRM Users) we stress the importance of personalizing emails because anything looking like an ad has a much greater chance of getting deleted before it gets read.
Our drip marketing (automated emails) system allows variables for first name, last name, city, state... and so forth. Therefore the more variables you utilize the more customized your email can appear. So I may write something like:
"Hi [FirstName],

Here is a brief brochure highlighting the primary reasons people in [CustomerAddressCity] are buying Cloudia Assistant. I will try to contact you again but if you would like additional information, demo or even a trial run, feel free to get in touch at your leisure.

All the best,

Scott Taylor
Authorized agent for [CustomerAddressCity], [CustomerAddressState]
Cloudia Assistant
817 x 778 x 4515
scott.taylor/@/cloudiaassistant.com" (for actual email remove the 2 "/"

With all the variables, this person could be from Los Angeles to New York City and they will think I am writing to them personally, in their area, and I am the authorized representative for their home town. I have dozens of such emails going out on a regular basis. This last November a person who told me they could not use our product 2 years ago just contacted me praising me for the best followup he had ever received and although he still couldn't use it he had a friend he recommended it to, but wouldn't have even thought about me if I didn't try to keep in touch. I had to look him up because I didn't remember him. I just put him in a folder where personalized emails were being sent to him every month. All of my emails look like I was talking to them personally and do not look like and ad.

1

Try conducting a survey to determine where your readers are in their life stage. Are they single? Young marrieds? Small children? Teenagers? Empty nesters?

Once you know that information, you can create email content that is more relevant to them based on their life stage. Those with small children will care about safety issues, local entertainment, school, and generally things to do, while empty nesters want to know about potential classes, real estate issues, taxes etc. When your readers understand that if they answer the survey the content they receive will be more relevant, they'll happily answer your survey questions, and it will increase open rates and click through rates.

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