Omniata BlogSeptember 17, 2015

Importance of Customization and Personalization in Emails

When customized and personalized effectively, emails can form an important part of a multipronged approach to both user acquisition and engagement.

Marketing today can take many forms - mobile, social, web, advertisements, push notifications, popups - all can be used to either engage potential new users, or re-engage existing ones. One of the most useful, customizable, and quantifiable methods of reaching out to users is by email marketing, which can either be the basis of a marketing strategy, or one prong of a multi-layered approach.

Email’s Unique Advantage

Email marketing has a number of advantages compared to other forms of marketing. Compared to push notifications, emails are far less restrictive. From character limits and structure to colors, images, and fonts, email marketing presents a far wider range of customization opportunities than other formats. In addition, while advertisements and popups are easily ignored or minimized, email requires far more interaction from the consumer. In addition, the ability to utilize eye-catching designs and different subject lines can be far more engaging for the end user. An email can touch on multiple subjects (new sales, new features, invitation to a premium account, asking for feedback, etc.) whereas push notifications and other engagement tools are more focused.

Funnels and Metric Analysis

In addition to those advantages, emails also allow for a more nuanced analysis of click through rates. A display advertisement or push notification has a somewhat limited funnel:

In contrast, an email can contain many links in many different formats, such as pictures, diagrams, etc. The ability to utilize different formats for links, as well as having the flexibility alter the format, positioning, colors, fonts, and other aspects of the email gives the marketer a broader range of techniques to choose from, and also can quickly establish the ideal format of the email. Hence, a more nuanced funnel may look like this:

When establishing a comprehensive marketing strategy, the flexibility and breadth of information that an email contains can be a powerful engagement tool, especially combined with other forms of communication. Being able to target a user’s mobile device via push notifications, their in-app experience via display ads, and their mobile or desktop email client via emails is a very effective way to ensure that your users are being engaged, and dramatically increases the chances of re-engagement success.

Customization in Emails

Furthermore, emails offer an even broader palate for customization options, especially when tied into a company’s analytics and targeting system. Beginning a message with “Dear John” as opposed to “Dear Customer” is an obvious use case for combining marketing with analytics infrastructure, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Imagine an ecommerce site that tracks item views - if a user’s last viewed item was microwave, a sensible follow up email could incentivize the user to return via

  • a customized discount promotion on the same item
  • a reminder about other great items that are similar
  • reviews from other customers regarding that item

Similarly, in the case of a game, a user could be enticed to return via promotions and discounts on virtual items, tips and tricks related to their current level of progression or experience, or “limited time” style offers. Re Engagement emails such as these would of course dovetail nicely with weekly digest emails that remind the user to come back, seasonal emails based on holidays, and achievement-based emails congratulating the user for their progress. An important caveat here would be to ensure that emails are in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 by providing an unsubscribe option, and also that tracking the number of sent emails per user can be used to avoid causing churn due to user fatigue. For instance, if a user has already received 2 emails in the last 7 days, sending more may cause them to either stop reading or to leave the ecosystem.


Another aspect of the inherent customizability of emails is localization. Any robust analytics infrastructure will have tracking in place in order to store the country and language that a user prefers. Being able to then communicate with your user base in their native language provides a measurable difference in their sentiment towards the message. This can then be further augmented with country-specific emails. Imagine congratulating users whose country won a major sporting tournament, or asking a user to celebrate a national holiday with a promotion or discount. The more customized and targeted the email is, the higher chance that it will be opened, and the higher chance the user will return to the ecosystem.

Use Behavioral Segmentation to Boost Metrics

In this case, localization can be thought of as a subset of segmentation, or customizing the email based on the user’s actions within your ecosystem. A well thought out analytics system will provide all the necessary building blocks for a properly segmented email campaign to succeed. As MailChimp® discovered, segmenting your users by the actions they have completed within your app or website is a guaranteed way to increase CTRs at all stages of the funnel, from opens to clicks, and to decrease churn via unsubscribes and spam reports. Behavioral segmentation can vary depending on the specific industry, but examples include:

  • A career website that tracks the industry of the jobs that a user has looked at, and then sends an email related to jobs within that industry
  • A game application that only sends emails to paying users, enticing them with new items
  • An auction website that sends emails to highly successful users with 10 or more current auctions that have sold 10 or more items in the last month
  • An ecommerce website that allows users to create a wish list, and then sends emails when items within the wish list become available

How It All Comes Together

Unifying analytics and marketing to create segmented email lists has been proven to increase the success of all marketing campaigns, across all platforms. Again, the lack of constraints for the format and content of email is particularly well-suited for segmentation, as email provides a nearly blank canvas for experimenting with layouts, colors, and the types of enticements used to communicate with a user base. Combined with A/B testing, this can quickly lead to discovering how best to interact with users across different personal and behavioral demographics.

In sum, email marketing is undeniably one of the best tools in the marketer’s toolbox. The ability to reach out to users in a platform-agnostic manner, combined with the flexibility to define the size, shape, text, pictures, and other content within the email, layered with the infrastructure necessary to keep the content relevant and accessible across user demographics is highly differentiated from all other marketing channels.

To learn more on how Omniata can help you send highly customized and personalized emails, please feel free to contact us.