How Marketers can Capitalize on Email Marketing Personalization 

Email marketing personalization has proven to be one of the best ways to increase email engagement among subscribers. According to Monetate, “Marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences.” Although Marketers understand the value personalization brings, not enough marketers are utilizing it. Why is this?

In this post, we’ll take a look at a few past articles regarding the use of email marketing personalization and its positive outcomes, review a few reasons that may be preventing marketing departments from using these methods, and discuss how to start your email personalization journey.

The Power of Email Marketing Personalizations  

We’ve been talking about email marketing personalization for over a decade now. Email experts have given the same advice through the years and the data seems to all point in the same direction: email personalization works. Let’s go back and take a look at some articles about email marketing personalization that have been published over time.

  • Personalization Drives Higher Open & Conversion Rates 

Demand Gen Report, August 25, 2008

Starting back in 2008, an article published by Demand Gen Report discusses a study done with Aberdeen and how email personalization was shown to drive higher conversion rates. The article states, “It's five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to encourage repeat purchases from an existing customer,” says Michiels, The Senior Analyst of Aberdeen Group. “It's absolutely essential to isolate high-value customers to maximize retention.” 

Michiels goes on to explain why identifying high-value, highly interactive customers is critical and how to uniquely market to them.

After personalization measures were taken, results showed the following: 

“Click-through rates improved 14%, Open rates improved 6%, Conversion rates improved 11%, Customer retention rates improved 8%, Opt-in rates improved 5%.”

Since then, there have been a plethora of studies to demonstrate that personalization works.

  • Personalization Sees Payoffs in Marketing Emails

eMarketer, January 28, 2014

Back in 2014, eMarketer published an article discussing how personalization is finally being used in email marketing to reach subscribers’ inboxes. The article states, “ A December 2013 survey of US digital shoppers found that the majority of recipients of emails containing personalization drawing from previous shopping behaviors and preferences would be more likely to increase their purchase results. In fact, 81% of respondents said they were at least somewhat likely to make additional purchases, either online or in-store, as a result of targeted emails.”

Consumers are not shy about sharing information with shoppers to improve the message accuracy that they want to receive. 

  • Essential Marketing Trends for 2021: Proven Essentials

Oracle Modern Marketing Blog, March 21, 2021

Oracle Modern Marketing Blog has published its “Essential Marketing Trends for 2021: Proven Essentials” report.

This post dives deep into various email practices, but yet again, personalization is one of the aspects mentioned. Oracle marketing experts rated email personalization as a high-impact / average adoption practice. Also emphasized in the piece is the effect of COVID-19. The article states, “During the pandemic, personalization has become even more imperative as marketers struggle to stay relevant while consumer behaviors and desires change rapidly.” 

With the vast changes the marketing industry has undergone in the past year, Oracle notes that personalization is as important as ever. Oracle urges marketers to take advantage of email personalization tools that make personalization easy to implement and manage. 

Download our new report: 2021 Email Hygiene and Verification Trends and Benchmarks

What’s Stopping Marketers From Using Personalization’s Potential?

There is a reason we continue to talk about email personalization. Marketers still aren't taking full advantage of it. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest reasons why marketers might not be utilizing personalization tactics in their email programs. 

  • Lack of strategy

The email database segmentation required to build effective personalized email campaigns can be overwhelming.  If programs do not already have some kind of plan in place, it can seem almost impossible to know where to start. For those who already have a large customer base and many audience segments, it can be tough to navigate how to create accurate personalized messages for subscribers. 

  • Lack of quality data

The use of data and technology has given us the ability to connect businesses, and customers like never before. However, many marketers report that data quality is one of the biggest obstacles preventing effective personalization. 

The poor integration of IT systems often causes this issue. IT management and database maintenance can be challenging to keep up with. Customers will either ignore your messages or ditch your brand altogether. 

  • Resources are limited

Along with the lack of resources for data management, companies may have limited financial resources. Often marketing departments do not have enough money allocated to their budget to purchase and sustain crucial automation and personalization tools. Many marketers need to prioritize funds for their department and sometimes personalization tools just don’t make the cut. 

  • Teams are smaller

Just as organizations do not have the means to manage their databases significantly, many smaller marketing departments do not have enough hands on deck to manage such tedious activities like targeted personalization, especially if they don’t have the proper tools in place. This may put smaller organizations at a disadvantage by taking away the opportunity to grow and maintain their brand and subscriber list.


How to start Email Personalizing

1. Analyze the data you already have and understand the different types 


  • Reported Data is the type of data that your subscribers or customers provide to you when they sign up for an email newsletter, download content, or purchase a product or service. This data could be their full name, email address, job title (B2B), or anything else you ask them for. 

  • Observed Data is data based on what you’ve seen a subscriber do either on your website or within your emails. For example, which pages have they browsed, which links have they clicked on in email messages. 

  • Appended Data is third-party data that enhances your existing database records, sourced from a data append service. By providing a piece of information such as a name, email address, phone number, or mailing address to a data appends provider, you can append more information to that contact that you may have been missing. 

  • Extrapolated Data is created by merging two pieces of data to get a third. For example, if you’re advertising a special program available at different local library branches, you could review email subscribers’ zip code information to refer them to the branch location nearest their mailing or home address.   

2. Cleanse your data with email hygiene and verification

After analyzing the data you have and understanding the different types, the next step is to ensure your data is clean and accurate by running your email lists through an email hygiene and verification provider. 

As marketers, we understand that data often changes due to life-changing events. To personalize effectively, we need to capture accurate data. Not only will you find old, no longer used emails and typos, but you will also find that bots, spam traps, honeypots, and disposable domains will find their way on your email lists through forms that are not protected by a double opt-in, or a simple verification cleanse. 

You need both hygiene and verification, not only to identify valid or invalid email addresses but also to flag malicious threats that are hurting your sender reputation and deliverability. A bonus, cleaning your list also helps lower your bounce rate, increase conversion rates, save you money, and increase your email ROI.

3. Determine what kind of value you can bring to your customers with the data you already have

Having a comprehensive understanding of your subscribers is key to reaching your business goals. Review all of the data at your disposal, including reported, observed, appended, and extrapolated. 

Ask yourself:

  • How can I use the data I have to personalize email messages I send on a regular basis? 
  • What new types of email messages can I create based on the data I have?
  • What additional date might I collect to expand my personalization program? 

4. Test to see if your personalization efforts are working

The last step to ensure your personalization efforts are working is to test! Split your list in two, send personalized emails to one group and the same email message without personalization to the second group. See which one generates a higher response rate. .

Contact Webbula’s data solutions experts to verify, cleanse and/or append to your email lists so you can get personalizing ASAP. 


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