The Power of Personalization: Standing Out in the Inbox

“Dear Occupant.”

That’s a greeting that usually destines a piece of direct mail for the trash. Why would email be any different? Personalizing email and inserting dynamic content are email marketing best practices because they show recipients you know who they are and what they’re interested in.

In a recent survey of education email marketers, MDR found that 21%-23% are using dynamic insertion and/or personalization in emails. MDR’s digital trends research verifies the positive impact of personalizing key email elements on Open and Click-Through rates. The results weren’t just interesting; they were impressive when compared to average rates for K-12 audiences with no personalization:

Getting Personal

There are two levels of personalization. The fundamentals are the simplest— involving only the To and From fields—and can be accomplished in most email programs, including via a Microsoft® Word mail merge. The advanced placement level involves the insertion of text fields, dates, or images into the body of the email based on criteria like district or subject taught.

Whether you are new to personalization, or looking for new ways to apply this best practice, MDR has some great ideas for you:

Level 1: The Fundamentals

Here are the most common uses of personalization:

  • Personalize the [To] line using recipient first and last names, adding a title, or suffix.
  • Personalize the [From] line by identifying the sender by name or with both sender’s name and company. Or, if you have the option to use a [Display From] field, instead of “ABC Textbook,” give the reader more reason to open with “Reading Solutions From ABC Textbook.”

Level 2: Advanced Placement

Dynamic insertion of content within the body of the email can make the educator feel that you appreciate their unique circumstances and concerns. With dynamic insertion you can:

  • Reference the name of their district
  • Insert the school name or the subject taught
  • Mention funding for which the school or district is eligible
  • Cite applicable state standards
  • Change an image to be appropriate to their geography
  • Cite a statistic appropriate to their district
  • Reference an important date, such as the start of their school year or their last purchase from you

Data Powers Personalization

Obviously, personalization only works well if you have the corresponding data about your target audience. MDR can help you get the right data to get started with personalization. MDR also offers dynamic content insertion to our clients at the individual level or for a group of emails based on demographics or interests.

Whatever level of personalization you use, remember that the point is to establish relevance so the recipient knows instantly that you’re speaking to them, not just “Occupant.” That’s what will make your emails stand out in the inbox.

Bringing Email Back to Life

Email best practices are a big topic, and every aspect of email marketing needs to be addressed to achieve the reinvigoration today’s marketers are looking for. Look to these related posts for deep dives into improving campaign performance with:

Want to dive even deeper? Take a minute to review our Email Best Practices webinar which has tons of tips for getting better email results!