Bigger Impact with Better Personalization

It is nowadays common to receive a personalized message with our name on it. The problem with everyone using this technique is that it becomes very redundant for consumers.
Sophie Lamarche
1 October 2013
7 min 50
creez plus dimpact avec une meilleure personnalisation

UPDATED: 2019, February 8

Customization in email marketing campaigns has become a standard. Mass e-mails are now a blatant sign of lack of creativity and strategy. The majority of marketers understand that email personalization increases performance. Nowadays, it is common to receive an email with our name and surname. The problem when everyone uses this same technique is that it becomes very redundant for consumers. To get a better opening and clicking rates, you should not be limited by this simple technique of demographic customization. Several other techniques can help you make your content more relevant to your customer. Here are a few…

How to stand out?

The customization passes first by the data acquisition. With this data, you will be able to use the great possibilities of customization in order to make your messages more relevant and meaningful to your audience. If you do not have enough, start by thinking of some techniques you can use to collect it. Whether it’s a contest, a survey or an online form, make sure you know as much as you can about each client. The technique that is most often used is the preference form that is inserted into the email, and where people can edit it at any time. Once you have maximum data on your customers and prospects, it’s time to use them to your advantage.

The subject line

The email subject is the element that most influences the open rate. It is therefore important to put the maximum effort into it because if your contacts do not open your emails, the relationship you have with your customers stops there. No other form of engagement is possible at this point. So take the time to make the best e-mail subject line possible, it will definitely be positive for you. The email subject can be customized in a variety of ways. The most popular is to add the recipient’s first name. On the other hand, it is possible to be a little more original and to use other kinds of data like:

  1. Birthday
  2. Location
  3. Sex
  4. Age

The possibilities are not huge for the email subject since its ideal length should be about 50 characters. However, you could write several objects for the same message. For example, if it’s a man, refer to his strength and if it’s a girl, refer to her sensitivity.

The content

Personalization in the email content can go so much further than a simple greeting. Several options are available to you when it comes to content:

1. Bet on the prospect location

The first method is to use the location of the prospect to display offers based on where he is. For example, TripAdvisor company uses the location of their contacts to suggest activities, hotels or other, depending on where they are in the world. This is based, in part, on the searches you perform on the application itself. As a result, they can even suggest activities to do for a trip you plan to do in the future. Another simpler example would be to include the contact information for the branch closest to your contact’s residence in your message.

2. Products recommendation

One of the best personalization methods is the product recommendation. When you are able to collect a customer’s navigation history from your online store, you know what they are interested in. Add their purchase history to that data and you will be able to always present relevant product suggestions according to their tastes and interests. You can also present the most popular items like eBay does, to perhaps inspire others by the trendsetters.

If you do not have access to this kind of data, you can start by filter your recommendations based on the person’s gender, income, or age. Here is an example of an email that I received this morning that shows a big lack of customization given that I am a woman who has never bought clothes in the men section of this store.

The impact of a poorly targeted email creates a total disinterest of the recipient and a high risk of unsubscription. Especially since the customization according to the sex is quite simple to execute. So put the odds on your side to avoid unnecessary loss of subscriptions.

3. Adapt the message according to the context

Another technique you should use is to adapt your messages. Some situations are more delicate and the data more difficult to collect, but it is possible to adapt your messages to a certain level. For example, Father’s Day is coming and you want to take the opportunity to sell your brand new men’s shaver. You need to tailor your content to the person you’re sending it to: for men, you’re encouraging them to buy your razor for themselves with a message like: You deserve it!

On the contrary, for your female contacts, you encourage them to buy your new razor to spoil their father or spouse for this special day. Of course, if you have more specific information, you can go further in adapting your message. For example, on Valentine’s Day, you send a message to sell a hotel, spa and meal package for two people to your contacts who are in a relationship. For singles, you offer them a chalet, ski and relaxation package for 4 people.

4. Detect the user’s consumption evolution

This may seem more complex because you need interconnectivity between all your platforms to get there, but once installed, it’s worth it! This technique makes it possible to get closer to personalization 1 to 1, which leads to a privileged relationship with each of your customers. Indeed, some companies use this technique at a high level, for example, the company Lyft sending your annual report of their service use or Spotify which gives you a summary of your last month in music.

You can also use the same concept with your loyalty program by indicating in each email the number of points your customer has accumulated. Thus, either he will be tempted to consume to obtain more points, or he will want to use them by making a purchase. Make sure your customers do not feel like strangers who have never bought your products or services. It insults them and does not encourage them to buy from you.

Dynamic content

Adapt your images in real time

Dynamic content is a technique that allows you to use customization at a higher level. For example, you can change the visual template for age or sex: use more feminine images when it is a woman and more masculine images when it is a man. You can also model your images to fit the age range of your audience. Your readers will be able to identify more easily with your products or services and will be more conducive to the purchase.

At a higher level, it is possible to do real-time customization. In this case, it is the opening moment of the email that determines which images (and contents) will be displayed. For example, use the local weather as a variable to display a sunnier or rainier image, depending on the weather at the moment. You can use specific data such as geolocation, the device type used to open the email, the opening date and the opening time … Be original, you will attract even more attention of your readers.


If you’re making limited time special offers, adding a countdown timer is great for making your content dynamic in real time. This tool allows you to create an even greater sense of urgency as the meter is updated in real time. The Dialog Insight platform gives you this tool to add to your email so you can create a real impact during your limited time promotions. The integration of this tool is also very simple. You can use it in several ways, here are some of them:

  • Time left before launching a new product, collection or service
  • Time remaining before your next event, webinar or training
  • Countdown to announce the end of an exclusive product
  • Countdown to remind the expiration of an abandoned basket
  • Tell people for how long they have been doing a specific action (from a date)

RSS feeds

You can also make sure you always send the most relevant contents of your index using an RSS feed. An RSS feed automatically updates each shipment with the most appropriate elements according to your criteria. For example, if you are doing e-commerce, an RSS feed could ensure that you always offer products available in stock. You can also use this tool to send your latest blog posts or the opinions of the most important customers in your communications.

Combining techniques

A combination of several of these techniques in the same email allows you to build closer links with your audience. Go anyway sparingly as to the number of techniques used in the same message, it could affect the relevance of it.

In addition, do not just customize the elements of the email, but personalize the elements surrounding the email. You can, among other things, customize the sending frequency or the sending time for each customer. The engagement of your contacts will be strengthened.

Pitfalls to avoid

When you start in behavioral customization, it’s very important to take into consideration the unique purchases based on timing and frequency. Imagine that you’re shopping right now for a gift for a friend who’s an amateur photographer. You do research on the lens and you buy a model. Will you find it relevant that all future emails you receive offer photography equipment? I doubt it. You’ll find it inappropriate and uninteresting.
The same principle applies to the value of a product over time. If you currently do renovations in your bathroom, it is normal that you are looking for and purchasing several related articles. In six months from now, your bathroom will definitely be completed and you will not have any interest in these products anymore. Therefore it is important that product recommendations take this into account. Scoring is the technique used to achieve this kind of high-level customization. It is in your best interest to work with experts in the field in order to put a well-implemented strategy in place, tailored to your needs and unique business processes.
Feel free to contact our team to assess the options that are available to you. You can also read more about scoring in ‘How to turn your data into lead scores?’. Here’s to good customization!

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