Unlock the secrets to boosting your sales and freeing up your time with personalization

Chapter 01: The standard consumer’s email inbox is a highly competitive space.

According to The Radicati Group, a staggering 269 billion emails are sent every day, while there are just over 3.7 billion email users worldwide. The firm also found the average person receives about 90 emails a day. What’s more, 95% of all businesses employing marketing automation software use it specifically for their email marketing efforts.

This isn’t meant to discourage you from your own email marketing efforts. On the contrary, it should be viewed as an opportunity, not a deterrent.

Sure, we can all relate to opening our inbox just to delete marketing emails without even reading them. But have you ever stopped to think about the emails that did catch your eye, and what that was?

Chances are the emails that resonate with you most are structured and sent with you and your interests in mind. The marketing emails your business sends should also follow this model: personalized to the recipient by their location, interests, behavior, and so on.

Chapter 02: Personalization: How does it work?

Personalization is all about reaching the right people at the right time via the right channel, and intentionally showing care to nurture the existing relationship. As a small business with a handful of clients, it’s probably not too hard to put a personal touch on all your client communications. But as your business and client base grow, keeping it up can become a full-time job. That’s where marketing automation comes in.

Email personalization works best for transactional emails, or automated emails sent immediately after a specific action has been performed by a lead, prospect, or customer. Transactional emails already have higher click-through and open rates than non-transactional ones, but emails and content personalized to individuals can drive up revenue by as much as 760%.

So, where do you start? By segmenting your contacts.

Segmentation is the practice of specifically targeting leads, prospects, and clients into sub-groups based on any number of traits. To properly segment your contacts, you’ll need a CRM tool that lets you create specific tags.

Tags are like little stickers you can put on each of your contacts’ foreheads to help you remember who they are and what they prefer.

Sticky note on man's forehead

Some examples of tag types include:

  • Demographic info (age, gender, income, etc.)
  • Firmographic info (industry, location/region, company size, etc.)
  • Personal information (“Student,” “Wears dentures,” “Drives an SUV,” etc.)
  • Previous encounters with your business (left a company review on Facebook, downloaded an ebook, watched a webinar, etc.)
  • Lead score, or how likely they are to purchase from you based on the above information (lead vs. prospect, prospect vs. returning customer, etc.)

Some information you’ll likely already know through your initial interaction with contacts. But, with a solid marketing automation tool like Keap, you can gather this information more quickly and from a larger group of contacts than by doing it yourself. The more a contact interacts with your business, the more touch points your tool will pick up on, which deepens its understanding of what their behaviors and interests are.

You can also opt to create and send a survey to your contacts to gather qualitative data about them. Creating a survey through a tool like Keap allows you to simply set up the survey infrastructure, then let the tool gather all the data for you. Learn how to create a survey for gathering tag data in Keap.

Survey example 1

Survey example 2

Once you’ve got a clear understanding of your contacts’ behaviors and interests, you can create and assign specific tags based on that information. This will help form how you personalize your communications with contacts.

For example, if someone contacts you through your website and indicates they are interested in a condo downtown, you can add “condo”, “downtown” and “web form” tags that will help you determine what emails you send them.

Chapter 03: 6 personalization best practices

1. Build a customer avatar

It’s generally good marketing practice to create a generalized representation of the buyer persona most likely to purchase from you. This can be informed through client surveys (see above) in addition to market research in your specific space. Check out this blog post to learn how you can conduct your own market research.

2. Start with the subject line

A personalized subject line, like the one below, has a higher chance of getting opened, simply because the recipient’s name is used. You can also choose to include information you already have, like items left in an abandoned cart, a recent content resource they downloaded from your website, etc.

Subject line example

3. Context is crucial

To improve your click-through rates, consider the smallest bit of client information you have. Whether it’s basic info like their name, age, and gender, or specific details like previous purchases, it’ll help you send tailored emails to the right contacts.

Adidas example

An example of how Adidas personalizes its offers by gender.

4. Use personalization to create dynamic offers

Even the offers you send your contacts can be highly personalized. Use the geographic and demographic data you have to create content or an offer that’s most relevant and appealing to your subscriber.

Dynamic offer example

Image source: Pure360

5. Go beyond names

Certainly, creating a merge field for your marketing emails to name your subscriber in the subject line and greeting helps improve your ROI, but going even deeper with the kind of information you reference only improves your chance of converting that prospect or retaining that client.

Priceline example

Image source: Business2Community

6. Follow up

A solid marketing automation tool like Keap can help you send personalized follow-up emails at the right time, even if you’re not around to send them. These can be in the form of abandoned cart reminders, replenishment reminders, soliciting a review of your business, a “thank you” message, and so on.

Starbucks example

Image source: Mailbakery Blog

Chapter 04: Real-world personalization success stories to get you started

We can tell you about how important personalization is for your business until we’re blue in the face, but telling you isn’t as effective as showing you. Here are some examples of businesses who successfully personalized their emails in a meaningful way:

Online nutritionist

Although the nutritionist’s name (we’ll call her S) and business name have been redacted for privacy purposes (they’re a real Keap customer), her story is an excellent example how just a few simple steps made within the app helped her smoothly handle an increase in clients while still maintaining the personal touch she had become known for.

S built her holistic nutritional consulting business through good content. She had a podcast, a blog, published recipes, and created various nutrition plans for different types of diets. Once S started using Keap, she started including specific fields in her contact forms (i.e. “What’s your biggest challenge with losing weight?”). This helped her learn more about the kinds of leads that were coming to her website. She was then able to track how they interacted with her content, and what type of content resonated most with certain groups of people.

Having this valuable knowledge at her fingertips, S was able to tailor her content, programs, and communications with groups of varying interests. What’s more, Keap's automation capabilities allowed her to add this personal touch for all her clients and prospects—without having to manually track, react, and respond to them. With all this heavy lifting done by Keap, S is now on track to make $120,000 by the end of 2020.


Another Keap customer, this office of dermatology was able to discover a sweet spot of its customer base among Baby Boomer (and older) women. Knowing this, they are able to cater their content, lead magnets, email communications, and in-person doctor visits to the concerns of their patients (i.e., sun spots, fighting signs of aging, skin tags, etc.).

To gather this information, the office of dermatology offered a lead magnet gated behind a contact form and survey. In addition to the main contact details (name, email address, city of residence, etc.) and their biggest skin health concerns, they also asked respondents if they needed transportation arranged for their appointment, breaking down yet another “barrier of entry” to conversion.

After a patient has visited the office, a series of follow-up emails are automatically sent to thank them, ask them to rate their level of satisfaction, show them additional products or services they might be interested based on previously retained data, and to remind them of upcoming appointments.

Keap has saved the office 40 hours of work a week (about one employee’s salary).


According to a study conducted by AgilOne, nearly 80% of respondents said they expect businesses to remember how long they’ve been a customer. Women’s online shoe retailer, Naturalizer, taps into this expectation by sending an anniversary email to its customers, like the one below. By recognizing their customers and showing appreciation of their business through a promotion (in this case, free shipping on the next order), they’ve increased their chances of the recipient becoming a repeat customer.

Naturalizer example


If you want to find a business that’s absolutely killing it at personalization, look no further than music streaming service Spotify.

For a few years now, Spotify has been considered one of smartest entertainment platforms available. This is in large part because its super-intelligent algorithm helps the platform tailor every experience to the user, and only improves the more a person uses it. They’re also known to curate weekly music playlists or users to discover based on previous listening habits.

But the personalization doesn’t stop there. Upon email opt-in, Spotify will alert you to new music releases you might be interested in, upcoming local shows near you, and even show you an in-depth timeline of your listening habits over the past year in its Your Year Wrapped campaigns.

Spotfiy example

We understand this is more of an aspirational example of personalization at its finest, but it’s still cool to see how ultra-personalized experiences can truly help a business’s bottom line.

Chapter 05: Conclusion

You don’t have to be a $2 billion company to make your clients feel like you’ve rolled the red carpet out for them. Personalization simply takes a solid understanding of what your audience wants at the right time, then catering to them with what you know as it relates to your business. With a solid CRM and marketing automation tool, segmenting and personalizing your interactions can be a breeze.