There is no denying the necessity of personalization in email marketing. Personalization increases open rates, and it shows your audience that you acknowledge and understand their wants and needs. It leads to more engaged readers driven toward action, and it’s pretty central to an effective lead nurture strategy.

According to Epsilon’s research, 80 percent of consumers say that they’re more willing to make a purchase when they’re provided with a personalized experience. As for where and how that personalization happens, half of marketing influencers cite email segmentation and individualized email messaging as their most effective personalization tactics. If you’re not personalizing your emails, you’re almost certainly losing customers to brands that do.

Personalization will make all of the difference when it comes to the success of your email outreach. Below, we’ll go over how to do it, as well as some of the benefits you can expect from putting in the effort.

How to Personalize Emails

Personalized email marketing doesn’t mean writing out a separate email for each of your thousands of subscribers (thank goodness). However, what it does require is careful attention to who you’re messaging and what you’re messaging them about, with data at the center of how you make those designations. Here’s how to do it right.

1. Know Your Audience

You can’t personalize emails if you don’t know who you’re personalizing them for. Use a small business CRM to help you best understand your audience, including their actions and behaviors, pain points, needs, and so on. The fuller picture you can get of who your email recipients are, the better you can segment your messaging and ensure that the right people get the right content for moving further down the funnel.

Another integral part of knowing your audience is working with your sales team. Both sales and marketing have unique perspectives on what prospects and leads are looking for. By working together, you learn more about what matters and prevent the type of silo-ing that so often stands in the way of effective outreach. From there, your marketing team can create sales-enablement content and use it to fuel your personalized email marketing efforts.

2. Optimize Your Content

Think of your content as part of a larger personalization cycle. Your audience informs what content you create, and then your content goes on to inform your audience. You need to understand what kinds of content your email recipients are looking for, as well as what specific information they need to become a first time or repeat customer. This is another area where it’s key to work hand-in-hand with sales. The more you know about the content gaps preventing your sales team from closing a deal, the more you can create content that fills the gaps and makes it easier to lead a sale to completion.

3. Personalize Your Email Features

Segmentation and content are perhaps the two biggest factors involved in personalized email marketing, but they’re not the only ones. The devil is in the details too, which means you also need to be personalizing things like your “to” lines and subject lines. Address your contacts by name, and use unique subject lines that are designed to appeal to your specific audience.

A great way to take the guesswork out of personalization is through marketing automation software. A great automation platform will help you determine need-to-know factors like what pages your prospects visit, what content they download, and what actions they take on your site. All of that can help you determine how much they know about your product and what they still need to learn.

To distill it down: personalized email marketing means segmenting leads based on where they are in the buyer’s journey and then sending each list content that directly addresses their pain points. And both a CRM and marketing automation software can make those tasks a whole lot easier and more effective.

The Benefits of Email Personalization

The reason you’re emailing in the first place is to get more conversions, and personalization is the way to do it. When your prospects feel like you understand them, you build trust with them over time, making them more likely to take the next steps with your product. Personalization helps them feel secure and know what they need to know to make a smart purchase. It also gives them confidence that your product will actually solve their problem.

You don’t sign up for a company’s emails unless you think there’s going to be value there. So give your audience what they’re looking for with high-quality content personalized to their needs. In addition to more effective outreach, personalized emails also strengthen the brand-consumer bond, building trust and helping form a more sustainable relationship. Through personalization, you show that you’re listening and that you care — and those are qualities that everyone wants in the brands they purchase from.

The more you personalize, the more you connect. Make personalization a core part of your email marketing strategy and reach your audience with the content they’re looking for.