Email best practices

Personalized emails and customer relationships: A holiday tale

For years, personalization has been a goal for marketers. Though, it's still not that much used. So why not go with personalized emails for the holidays?

Zeus and a Goddess decorate a Christmas tree



You’ve probably noticed that, for some weeks now, our posts have a holiday flavor, a whole bunch of emailing tips with a pinch of nutmeg, ready to help you prepare for what is the busiest period of the year for email marketers. This post is no exception. So… let’s talk about personalization. "Again?" some might say. Yes, again. Why? Because more than half the marketers still don’t personalize their content, despite the fact that 70% of them admit it’s something they should definitely be doing (and which they’d actually like to implement in the next 12 months). Why not benefit from the upcoming Holiday Season to turbo boost your emailing ROI using personalization?

Want to define your email strategy to win customers over this holiday season? Check out these 14 responsive email templates for your holiday campaigns. Then, read Mailjet's Ultimate guide to holiday emailing and discover great tips, from creating jaw-dropping designs, to crafting original content, and working with our unique checklist.

Check out toolkit

Your one-stop shop for all your holiday email needs

Get free holiday email templates, download our extensive Guide to Holiday Emailing and access all our festive content.

OK, so why should I personalize my emails?

Since personalization is not as common as we’d expect it be, even though it’s now well-known, here are a few key points you have to keep in mind if you’re considering whether or not to personalize your content.

As the father of direct marketing, Lester Wunderman, said, people are an end, never a means, and direct marketing (including email) is data driven. Meaning: know your subscribers’ needs and address them by sending them the right offer at the right time. In any case, don’t force a global and irrelevant product or service on them. This is the definition Wunderman gave of personalization, in 1996, and it’s still valid today.

This idea is actually backed by figures. In a nutshell, personalized emails have a 30% higher open rate and more than 40% higher click rate than non-personalized emails. From the subject line to the content of the email itself, including offers, colors or CTAs, anything in both marketing and transactional emails can be personalized.

The use of first names gives ThamesLink’ newsletter a warmer feeling.

 Ryanair uses the location to send its contacts personalized automated emails. 

Note that it works with transactional emails too. Check out PayPal's confirmation message. 

...And in subject lines, like in PhotoBox’s promotional campaign. 

So if our word is not enough, trust the figures: you should definitely be making the most of personalization during the Holiday Season (and hopefully after too).

What should I expect this Holiday Season?

This year, the fight for your recipients’ inboxes will be harsh again and only the smartest and most original marketers will be able to make an impact. Here’s what we learnt from last year’s Holiday Season:

  • Compared to the other, less busy periods of the year, the Holiday Season 2015 saw a

    huge, 23% increase in email volume. However, less campaigns were sent, which could indicate larger contact lists or a broader segmentation.

  • Overall, recipients engaged more with emails sent during the Holiday Season: click rate, session per clicker and, most importantly, revenue per email increased during Q4 2015.

  • Special offers were more impactful than ever, especially when it came to free shipping and flash sales.

So, how do I personalize effectively during the Holiday Season?

Regardless of whether you send campaigns for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Hannukah, Kwanzaa or Christmas, you should always be prepared. Personalization is not something you can do in a snap. You’ll first need data. But worry not - you probably have loads of it already. First, through your subscription or registration process, you’ve probably already gathered first and last names, location, gender… All of those are a good start for your email personalization. You can address people by their first names, making them feel like you’re speaking directly to them, and start personalizing the subject lines and the content of your messages.

Our Templating Language allows you to add specific blocks to your email template, and tailor the content based on different conditions or segments. You can also start segmenting your sendings, targeting specific demographics with different campaigns, like the over 55s or your younger audience, or sending specific content to men and women. Segmentation and personalization really go hand in hand when it comes to email.

Going one step further...

But what your customers really want during this festive period are specific offers, things that they don’t yet know they want, but they are subconsciously dreaming about. And, unless you have some awesome psychic powers (if you do, please tweet us all about them), you can’t just guess randomly.

So we’ve come up with some solutions. One of them is using the services of predictive marketing solutions, just like Boomtrain. This way, after analyzing the purchase history and the behavior of your users, the system is able to automatically recommend products that your customers might be interested in. Yeah, just like Netflix does.

All kinds of personalization here. It can’t get better than Netflix. 

Another option is to send a survey out before the holiday season, asking customers about that extra information you didn’t get during the signup process (maybe you missed out on asking about their location and now want to promote your stores in different cities?) or allowing them to choose the kind of offers they wish to receive (will they be shopping for children this Christmas?). This will enable you to tailor the content you send to them better, and to segment your list based on demographical data and preferences.

We also love automation as a way to send one-to-one emails, at a mass scale. With automation, you can target your VIP and loyal customers to send them special offers when they make a certain number of purchases, or target inactive contacts with re-engagement campaigns. Instead of emailing mass campaigns, automation enables you to speak to your clients as individuals.

We know you want to showcase your seasonal items, what’s new and what you think will be trendy on your customers’ wishlist, but personalization is not just something to use during the Holiday Season. It’s something you can apply anytime. After all, purchases and temptations are not limited to this time of the year…

Do you already personalize your campaigns? Have you tried any of our ideas? Tell us all about your experience or let us know what you’re planning for this Holiday Season on Twitter, using the hasthag #MailjetGetsPersonal.

Want to define your email strategy to win customers over this holiday season? Check out Mailjet's Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing.


The ultimate guide to holiday email marketing

Check out our ultimate guide to holiday email marketing and win the battle of the inbox this holiday season.

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