The Power of Personalization

I know I write about email marketing a lot, but it is an important way of communicating with your fans. Even with the constant increase in social media usage, email marketing is still the most effective way to reach your customer base with targeted messaging. One way to make those messages stand out even more is to use personalization.

When I mention personalization, most people think about using the customer’s name, such as starting your email with “Dear Russell” or including the customer’s name in the subject line. Both of these can be effective options for increasing open and click-thru rates. However, sometimes the best way to personalize is to use other information you know about the individual receiving the email.

Take a look at this example from the NHL (viewed from my Gmail account):

The important think to note here is the subject line – ‘Vote for “THE CAPTAIN’S GUARANTEE” as the greatest Stanley Cup Playoffs moment in history.’ From my preferences, they know that I am a New York Rangers fan, and Mark Messier’s famous guarantee from the 1994 playoffs was an incredible moment for all Rangers fans. This subject line resonates with me in a very personal way, increasing the likelihood that I’m going to open the email and vote for this moment. I’m sure that Bruins, Canadiens and Penguins fans received a very different subject line to encourage them to vote the historic moment that they care most about.

Think of it this way – imagine you are a Rangers fan. Which email would you want to open?

– Subject 1: Vote for “THE CAPTAIN’S GUARANTEE” as the greatest Stanley Cup Playoffs moment in history
– Subject 2: Russell, vote for the greatest Stanley Cup Playoffs moment in history

In this case, personalizing with my name would seem flat. There’s nothing about adding my name that makes me more interested in opening the email and voting. On the other hand, referencing a historic moment that brings back wonderful memories as a Rangers fans drives much more interest in opening this email. In general, I believe that name-based personalization is a much better approach for customer service related communications, while interest-based personalization can have more impact on sales and marketing communications.

One thought on “The Power of Personalization

  • May 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. Automatic name insertion in marketing e-mails has become so “standard” that it no longer has an effect on me. Like you, I am far more likely to click on something that draws attention to my specific interests.

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