Email is an excellent marketing tool that can reach many people and connect with them on a personal level.

Most people would rather not feel like they’re being marketed to and email marketing is most effective when it is personalized. How do you make your email marketing ‘personal’? There are some things you can do to make your emails more personalized and likely to be opened and clicked on.

Before You Email

1. Create customer personas.

To better personalize your emails, you need to understand the characteristics of your target audience. When you are making your personas, consider the following information about your best customers: their age, what they do for a living, what their specific pain points are, and what their goals are.

If you have 3, 10, or more ideal customers, knowing them will enable you to start segmenting your emails.

2. Ask the right questions on your forms.

Now that you understand your buyer personas, you can start asking questions on your landing page forms that will help you start gathering the information you need to segment your leads. Ask yourself, what are the characteristics of each persona? Further, what information will help your sales team sell?

When you are creating marketing messages, it can be helpful to know things about the person, like their age bracket, revenue, location, and whether they are first-time buyers.

3. Gather information from outside sources.

It’s important to gather information from sources like social media and your CRM in addition to what you gather from your lead-capture forms. This information may include lead intelligence such as a contact’s social media usernames, behavioral information, and sales information. The best way to manage your customer relationships is to have a CRM system that is integrated with your marketing software. This way, you can automate the process.

The information can be used to create better segments. You could tailor your message depending on whether or not your contact has a Twitter account. For example, you might offer a Twitter-only promotion to contacts who do have Twitter accounts.

4. Segment, segment, segment!

It’s time to use the information you’ve gathered. You can target our marketing efforts towards each individual customer, or segment. Keep this in mind when speaking to your prospects–they don’t want to feel like they’re being talked to as a potential sale, but as an actual person. You can improve your email campaigns by segmenting your contact list into smaller groups with similar characteristics, so that you can send more targeted and personalized messages.

5. Position your offers specifically for that segment.

It’s just as important to use the right language and content in your email as it is to segment your send. This is why it is important to ensure that the offers and language used to promote them, match the interests and needs of the specific audience being emailed.

When you focus on a specific group of potential customers, it is much more effective to create a message that will resonate well with that particular group. Getting the message right means better conversions.

In Your Email

6. Use a real reply-to email address.

If you want your prospect to engage with your emails, you shouldn’t use noreply@company.com as the reply-to address. When you use a real person’s name in your email address, like johndoe@company.com, it helps your emails stand out and look more credible. This can lead to more people opening your emails, and it also makes your messages seem more personal.

The best way to send an email is to use a dynamically populated email address, so that the email comes directly from the sales rep or the person who is assigned to the contact you’re emailing in your CRM system.

7. Customize the sender name.

You’ll want to make sure to customize the sender name in the email for the same reason. If possible, use the name of the sales representative who owns the lead. You should try to use a name that will be recognizable to your leads.

Emails sent by a real person are more likely to be clicked on than emails from a company name.

8. Add personal information to the body of the email.

The email should contain personalized information whenever possible. You should spend time and energy collecting rich information about your leads, like their name and industry. Including this information in your email body will make your emails feel more personal.

If you’re sending a follow-up email to someone who downloaded one of your ebooks, you can start off the email by saying, “Thanks for downloading {!name}!” Using dynamic tags within your email marketing tool can make this possible.

After Your Email

9. Keep your sales team up-to-date.

You do not want your leads to receive duplicate or competing emails from your marketing team and their individual sales reps. Make sure your sales team is up to date on the different types of email communication your potential customers are receiving. This can easily be done using a CRM.

Also, you should give Sales access to the lead intelligence and email history you have so they can use it to continue the sales process. It is important to integrate your marketing database, email system, and CRM because it allows you to have a complete view of your customer.

10. Keep track of who has opened and clicked.

Tracking opens and clicks can help you customize your email content to your prospects. If you can track which emails your prospects are opening and clicking on, you can easily start building a profile of what types of content they’re interested in receiving from you.

11. Think about when someone last received an email.

Don’t over-email your list. You should keep track of when you last emailed your contacts, and create a list of people who you don’t want to email too often, in order to prevent them from being annoyed. Try to determine how often you should email your prospects to find the right balance.

Collect more emails addresses through existing relationships

1. Ask friends, family, and colleagues

One easy marketing strategy is to ask your current contacts to join your mailing list. Building up your network is a great way to slowly grow your email list, and it’s often the best place to get started, especially in the beginning.

Even though some of your connections might not be interested in the material you’re sharing, they might know someone who is. Tell them you’re starting an email list. After you explain the benefits of your focus area, ask your audience if they know anyone who would be interested in what you’re talking about. Chances are, they’ll be able to think of someone, and you can then get in touch with that person to discuss your focus area further.

2. Ask customers and prospects

When you have a potential client or even if they are just connecting with you, ask them if they would be interested in signing up for your email or newsletter. This is a great way to get more people interested in what you have to say, and it will also help you to keep them updated on what is going on.

You can grow your email list by asking customers you’re already speaking with on the phone if they would like to be added to your email list. Be sure to let your subscribers know what they can expect from your emails. Whether it’s weekly updates, latest news, or new listings, make sure they know what to look forward to receiving from you.

3. Capture emails from your email signature/closing

How many people do you send emails to every day? You can suggest to people who are not on your business email list that they sign up to receive your newsletter by including a call-to-action and link to a form or landing page in your email signature.

This probably will not result in a lot of new email signups, but it is a simple, passive way to bring awareness to your brand if you are emailing people on a regular basis. Make sure to update your email signature on all platforms, and remind team members to do the same.

4. Encourage forwarding

Try to get your current subscribers to share your email with other people. Email is the perfect way to tell your subscribers about word-of-mouth advertising, which is one of the oldest and most powerful types of advertising. The people on your list who are getting value from your messages are probably also aware of other people who would benefit from your content.

It’s important to make it easy for people to share and subscribe to your emails. Update your template to include social sharing buttons. Find a way to encourage your subscribers to share your newsletter with their friends. Having a dedicated section for this purpose will help increase the reach of your newsletter. Put a sign-up link in your email so new readers can subscribe directly.

5. Send postcards via snail mail

Michelle Kemp, a fan of AWeber on Facebook, swears by sending postcards to prospects by mail:

” You can collect your offline clients’ email addresses by sending them a postcard with a free offer. In order to receive the free content/giveaway that was promised, the individual must go to the website and opt-in. This works like a charm!”

Transparency in your marketing efforts can be shown by sending a personalized, handwritten note or postcard with a return address to a client using their postal address. The “human touch” here refers to the personalization of the email-collection process. Instead of simply being a technical task, it becomes something that is more personable and interactive.