Email marketing and personalization are no longer mutually exclusive.

Simply including “Hi [First Name]” as the salutation of your email is not just expected, but only the tip of the personalization iceberg.

Today, we’re going to talk about how the two previously separate disciplines of email (been around for a long time) and personalization (still penetrating the market in new ways) are on a collision course, and look at how you can incorporate personalization WITHIN your emails.

Email personalization stats

Personalization is an integral part of a modern marketing approach yet 60% of marketers admit they’re challenged to personalize content in real-time.

Additionally, with personalized emails, you:

  • Will see better engagement. If you personalize emails, you’ll see about a 14% increase in click-through-rate a 10% boost in conversions (Source)
  • Have an opportunity. Only 39% of retail brands send personalized product recommendation emails (Source)
  • Will boost transactions. Personalized emails increase sales by a factor of six (Source)

So, how is it done? Let’s look at 5 techniques to personalize emails.

Automating Email Send Times and Using the Best Imagery

The technology that enables personalization across your email campaigns also automates elements like best send time for each individual, as well as the best images to get engagement.

Automating send times

Personalization is more than just customized creative, subject lines, names, and the like. It extends beyond content — true personalization means catering to how, what, and when customers want to hear from you. The when is crucial.

Which is more effective: sending an email to your database at an arbitrarily-chosen time for everyone, or using intelligence you have about each person to send at the time most likely to get each person to open the email?

The latter offers the ability to connect with customers exactly when they’re most likely to engage. AI technology can automate the best send times for each user.

Using the best imagery

Take the guesswork out of choosing which content to use in your email campaigns.

With AI marketing, you can actually upload a number of potential content images, and let the widget automatically test and use the best version.

In order to elevate the experience, you can also automatically overlay any variable related to individual recipients onto an image in your email content — from birthday cards to boarding passes.


Display Updated and Live Content Whenever Emails are Opened

Take your personalization to a whole new level by populating your email with up-to-the-minute content based on when the email is opened, not sent.

Tailoring content to your target audience in real time

You can supercharge the engagement potential of your email campaigns by integrating content blocks that populate in real-time, as each individual recipient opens an email.

For instance, you can literally transform your emails into live feeds that keep recipients updated with information such as stock availability, hotel and flight pricing, or shipping information.

With shipping tracking emails, for example, whether the email is opened as the package is in transit, just arriving, or delivered, the email will always contain the right status.

email personalization
A retailer sends customers shipping tracking emails that populate live details based on whenever the content is opened and viewed.

Using this capability, you can turn website, product, and social data into building blocks that can generate live images, complete with individually tailored text on the fly.

Contextual rules for content types using factors including weather, device, date, time, and location add another layer of personalization to these emails. Then, it’s just a matter of letting the algorithm within the machine learning system take actions that ensure relevant content is displayed at the right time.

Send Event-Based Triggered Emails Per Individuals

Event-based email messaging, such as password reset or purchase confirmation with attached invoices, improves your customers’ experience with relevance, timeliness, and “completeness” to whatever action they’ve just taken.

In other words, trigger-based messages complete (or continue) the customer lifecycle journey, leveraging the same powerful personalization capabilities and customizable templates you already use for your marketing emails.

Two of the most effective trigger-based emails include browse abandonment and abandoned cart emails.

Browse abandonment emails

Browse abandonment emails allow you to use website data to identify which items a specific contact was viewing, and then send them an email containing those items.

These are usually masqueraded as classic ‘recommended especially for you’ widgets, based on browsing history.

Typical use cases include the ability to:

  • Drive website traffic and conversions by dramatically improving click-through-rates from emails.
  • Enhance the experience by letting customers discover new products they never knew they wanted.
  • Reduce clicks to purchase: from email straight to the product page and then to check-out.

Browse abandonment emails are most commonly used in e-newsletters, “browse abandonment follow-ups” (e.g., ‘personally selected for you’), and welcome emails

Abandoned shopping cart (cart recovery) emails

Abandon cart campaigns allow you to re-engage would-be customers who’ve built an online shopping cart, but decided to X-out for whatever reason.

With abandoned cart campaigns, you can send emails with widgets that will showcase the products left in the cart, and other relevant product recommendations to help the up- and cross-sales.

email personalization

These personalized emails:

  • Enable revenue recovery by bringing the customer back to complete the purchase.
  • Are fully automated – there’s no need to think about it once it is active.
  • Offer dynamic incentives based on the value of the cart.

Send Personalized Incentives

You can deliver individually tailored incentives most likely to convert individual users.

Most marketers struggle to find the perfect incentive balance to meet goals — either using too many offers, discounting more than needed, or not using them at all.

Personalize incentives at scale

Powered by AI, personalized incentives improve targeting performance with customized deals and offers.

AI marketing technology makes data-driven decisions that transform every campaign into a smart win-back program. You can expand content personalization to include tailored discounts for each individual customer based on their importance to your business, and your defined strategy.

The algorithm continually learns from the effects of different incentives and adapts to user behavior to offer the best deal for each person.


Use Email for Product Recommendations

You’re likely using your website to offer product recommendations… but are you using email as a real-time product recommendation engine?

One of the best ways to incorporate personalization within emails is to send personalized product recommendations to each individual customer (at the right time). Relevant recommendations will attract, engage, and convert users — especially when paired with today’s most effective digital channel for ROI in email.

Email recommendation

You can insert recommendations into your email campaigns to connect each of your customers with products they’ll love.

Recommendation engines can even update in real time according to customer behavior (when the email is opened, and based on other factors like what’s been purchased before) to ensure maximum engagement.

There will likely be and should be overlap here with personalized incentives. Great emails incorporate both personalized deals AND personalized recommendations.


Personalization and email are no longer separate and discrete functions — they go together like peas and carrots.

Today, there are numerous ways you can integrate elements of personalization within your email campaigns, including automating numerous elements like send time, imagery, incentives, and product recommendations across your database.

Personalized emails offer the best of both worlds — the ability to elevate the customer experience and to do so across the most valuable digital marketing medium available.

Marketing is in a constant state of change. Are you keeping up? No sweat — we’ve got you covered. We’re revealing 5 big predictions for the next 5 years, straight from the desk of the CMO: “5X5: 5 Marketing Predictions for the Next 5 Years.”

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