Personalizing customer emails can help you build loyalty and strengthen relationships with your customers. That’s why we’ve added new features to make it easy for you to collect customer information, create lists and send beautiful emails to your customers. By adding a personal touch to your emails, you’re helping to increase open rates and engagement. Read on for our top tips and guidelines for email personalization.

Segment, segment, segment

Segmenting your email lists is a great way to send out more personalized emails. Encourage customers to give information such as name, birthday day or month or anniversary, and then segment your lists based on the results. These are all great categories to help you segment your email lists. Here are a few examples:

Send an email using the customer’s first name:

  • Hello Tara!
  • Hello Cindy!
  • Hello Bob!

Send a quarterly birthday email:

  • Happy Birthday! Enjoy the coupon below during the month of October!
  • Happy Birthday! Enjoy the coupon below during the month of November!
  • Happy Birthday! Enjoy the coupon below during the month of December!

Congratulate your customers on the upcoming arrival of their child:

  • A little birdie told us that you are expecting on 9/7/2014!
  • A little birdie told us that you are expecting on 11/21/2014!

Personalizing your emails in SnapRetail is as simple as typing specific text where you want to see the personalized information. For detailed instructions on how to do this, please log into your account and from the Dashboard click “Need help getting started?” In this section you will see a guide called, “How To Personalize Your Emails.”

There are some important details to keep in mind when segmenting your email lists. If you know that you’re going to use a customer information field in your emails (like %%birth_date_month%%), make sure you are actively collecting this information. It’s not effective to only send emails to a small segment of customers, so make sure to get as much information from them as possible!

Also, keep in mind that when your personalize your emails, you want to catch the attention of your customers. It’s a great idea to use personalization in the subject line to increase open rates. Using personalization in the subject and body is also effective, but only use variable tags once or twice total in an email to avoid overdoing it.

Clean your data before personalizing emails

Working with variable fields can be tricky, so it’s important to pay attention to your data and make sure it’s clean. The purpose of personalizing your emails is to make the customer feels as if you’re having a one-on-one conversation with them. Cleaning your data will help you to avoid small glitches that would take away from the personalization of the email.

For example, when sending an email with the subject line, “A Special Surprise For You %%first_name%%” any value in that field will be populated. So if your customer John Smith’s name is in the system as “JOHN SMITH” the subject line will read, “A Special Surprise For You JOHN.” Luckily, there is a simple way to clean up this data. In order to fix this you can run a PROPER function on the field in Excel and re-upload your list.

Another instance that involves the need to clean your data is the case where a list is uploaded with the name, “DontKnow” (or some other miscellaneous filler). The subject line would then read, “A Special Surprise for You DontKnow.” When using personalization it is absolutely important to clean your data or you could upset your customers. Take some time before sending your email to ensure that each customer you are sending to has the appropriate data in the fields you are using for personalization. An easy way to do this using SnapRetail is to select the list that you’d like to send to under Manage Customers, then edit your view to include the customer fields you are using in your email, and then review the list for any errors or blanks. If you find a customer with incorrect information, simply click to edit or remove them from the list.

Be aware of punctuation and salutations

Paying attention to the fine details will make all the difference when personalizing your emails. If proper attention is not paid to the punctuation used in a variable field, things can get awkward.

For example, a subject line that reads, “%%first_name%%, you don’t want to miss this” quickly turns into “, you don’t want to miss this” if any of your customers have a blank in the first name field.

The same applies to subject lines like, “Dear, %%first_name%%” to start an email. If the customer has no information in the first name field, they will receive an email reading, “Dear ,” with a blank space where the name was supposed to go. If 100% of your list do not have values for the fields you use it is best to avoid variable fields with punctuation. Before sending a message, imagine if you received an email with that variable field missing. If it wouldn’t make sense without listing the name, then don’t add the punctuation.

Personalize your coupons

Addressing customers by name in the subject line and body of an email are great ways to strengthen that bond with your list. Take it to the next level when you include coupons in your emails. For example, your coupon could read “Special 10% off for %%first_name%%.” Using a variable tag in a coupon increases the likelihood a customer will use it.

Email personalization will help show your customers what being an independent retailer is all about. But we suggest you keep the preceding tips and guidelines in mind to ensure no fine lines are crossed and an attempt to make a more personal connection with your list doesn’t have the opposite effect. The tools needed to search and segment your customers are now in your SnapRetail account.