Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all the posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Email marketing is about nurturing a connection with your audience. Personalising your emails gives you a cracking shortcut. How? Well, think about your own email habits. Given the choice between a generic email sent to every subscriber and an email that has been curated for your specific interests, which would you rather read?

The stats fuel the case for personalisation. 56 percent of consumers say they would be more inclined to use a retailer if it offered a good personalised experience, according to O2’s Rise of Me-tail study. And Experian’s transactional email report states that personalised emails are six times more effective at lifting transaction rates and revenue than bulk email.

So what is email personalisation? And how can small businesses like yours get the best out of it?

Ask the right questions

Personalisation goes beyond just knowing the names of your email subscribers. It’s about tailoring your email content based on what you know about your subscribers’ interests, buying habits, gender, location and more. In fact the more you know about each of your subscribers, the better. So don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Every time someone registers with your service or subscribes to your newsletter, you have an opportunity to begin building a profile of your users. What are their reasons for registering? Why have they subscribed to your newsletter? What products are they looking for? How frequently would they prefer their emails? Don’t ask, don’t get.


Asking the right type of questions is a great start. But you also need to observe how your email subscribers are interacting with your website. That means diving into email reports and analytics. Pay attention to the links your subscribers click in your emails. It will give you a better idea of the types of content that each of your subscribers prefer, allowing you to send more targeted emails in the future.

Okay, so you’ve got some of the theory about email personalisation. Let’s look at how it works in practice.

Here are five ideas.

Personalised discounts

Online shoppers love a personalised experience. Amazon reckon personalised product recommendations account for a whopping 35 percent of conversions. Sending a time-limited discount for a product that you know a particular segment of your subscribers has been looking at is likely to bump conversions.

But you don’t have to be an online retailer to benefit. Let’s say you’ve noticed one of your subscribers has been spending a lot of time on one of your service pages. It’s likely they are interested in your skills in that particular niche. Offering an introductory discount on your fees may give them the incentive they need to convert.

Show you are an expert by recommending new content

You run a garden centre and send a weekly email with news, offers, and links to the latest gardening tips on your blog. After looking at your email reports, you notice patterns in the types of content that different subscribers are clicking through to. One user, for example, always clicks through to articles about healthy lawns.

This is your opportunity to send that reader an email with links to your best lawn-related content. You already know they are interested — and for bonus points you could throw in a discount on a bottle of weed killer. Perfect.

Not producing your own content yet? No problem. Perhaps you could put together a small list of books that will allow your subscribers to bone up on the topics they are interested in. It cements your credibility and deepens the relationship you have with your subscribers on a one-to-one level.

Location-based personalisation

When you know where your audience is based, you can use segmentation to get more creative with your email content. For example, you could tie in with the latest regional news. Or, if you are running a regional event, you could invite local subscribers without cluttering the inboxes of people who live elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to ask for your readers location at the signup stage!

Time of day

You may have subscribers in different time zones. Worth keeping in mind if you publish email content that is time dependent — a morning bulletin, for example.

Automated behaviour-triggered emails

Automated behaviour-triggered emails are pre-designed emails that are automatically sent once a certain action is completed. The most obvious example is a thank you email sent after an online purchase. But with the right email software you can design automated emails for almost any kind of action. And it’s worth the creative thought. Triggered emails tend to perform exceptionally well, with 152 percent higher open rates than traditional emails. 

Ready to get started?

The more you know about your subscribers, the easier it will be to use segmentation and automation to create emails that resonate with your audience on a personal level. Whether it’s tapping in to local news stories, signposting content based on your reader’s interests or simply offering a discount on a product that your prospect has been lingering on, making it personal has never been more rewarding.