3 Types of Personalized Emails That Get Our Attention



Know why email is still the killer app? ‘Cause it evolves. And while there have been plenty of evolutions over email marketing over the last decade or so, none of them has as much potential as personalization.

When I say “personalization”, I don’t mean just dropping a first name in here and there. I’m talking about highfalutin’ stuff: Personalized dynamic content, email messages that change based on a subscriber’s location, and more.

Trouble is, many of us email marketers are still holding back. Sure, we’ve got the first name personalization down. But that’s only personalization 1.0. And while it can be expensive and complicated to do other types of personalization, there are some really cool things that can be done. You don’t have to break the bank or spend five months on one campaign to do them, either.

Here are a few examples:

  1. The weekly report.

If you’re a SAAS company, take note: These are the type of emails you should be sending. They’re weekly reports of how a subscriber has used the tool or service, complete with a comparison of what they did the prior week.

Here’s one from the productivity tool RescueTime.com:



Here’s another example. This one’s from the online editing tool Grammarly:



Know what’s especially compelling about this example?  It shows how I compare to other users. The spirit of competition is a powerful motivator – use it to get more engagement from your emails.

  1. Emails personalized based on a subscriber’s location.

All you need to do this is to get someone’s zip code. And if you don’t have that information now, and don’t want to ask for it, you can get it from data enhancement services. They sell “data overlays” that will pair up each email address you have with a zip code.

And then, voila: You can send emails personalized based on location. Like this one from OfficeMax:


If you’ve got multiple store locations or location-based events, clearly this is worth looking into. When Spartan Race sent an email personalized based on subscribers’ locations, they got a 50% lift in website traffic, a 25% lift in new users, and a 13% lift in conversions. Nyce!



  1. Emails personalized based on a recommendation engine.

All you retailers and publishers should be interested in this one. Odds are good you’ve already got some sort of recommendation engine working on your site – either to recommend related products or to recommend related content.

And even if you don’t have a recommendation engine, we’re about to give you a compelling reason to get one: 10x improvement.

That’s the lift GlobalGiving got when they sent out personalized emails based on their site’s recommendation engine. The emails used dynamic content blocks to promote the related projects.

And boy, did it work. The new emails got ten times more engagement than the old, non-personalized messages.




Sometimes it’s hard to try new things. Email personalization campaigns can be like that. But when you keep hearing stories of 10X improvements, 50% more website traffic, and other incredible results, it begs the question…. how long are you going to hold back on this while your competition gets ahead?


What do you think?

What’s your favorite type of personalized email, or favorite way to personalize your emails? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.


AuthoPamNeely.pngr:  Pam Neely has been marketing online for 18 years. She has a background in publishing and journalism, including a New York Press Award and a Hermes Creative Award for blog writing. Pam holds a Master’s Degree in Direct and Interactive Marketing from New York University and is the author of a bestselling Amazon Kindle book “50 Ways to Build Your Email Marketing List.” Follow her on Twitter @pamellaneely.


2 comments on “3 Types of Personalized Emails That Get Our Attention”

  1. You are correct, but there are also some simple ways to personalize even if you don’t have a ton of information. For instance having someone’s email signup date and their email address can still allow you to do some eye popping things.

    Like an animated timer that starts from their signup date and last 7 days. This could be used in your welcome email series or the users’ account on your site.

    Even personalizing images with the users Email Address actually in the image can draw their attention more then a generic image.


    Lots of clever things can be done with the right tools and creativity!

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