How to Personalize Emails to Local CustomersEmail marketing is an effective way for local business owners to interact with customers and maintain lasting relationships. To garner loyal repeat customers, email is a tool to get them to try new products or services and take advantage of special offers. Unfortunately, the competition for customers’ time and attention is stiff, as email inboxes are increasingly filled with so many commercial messages from a variety of marketers, both local and national.

Consumers today are often checking their email from smart phones and tablets, and have become much more discriminating about which emails they will open. Standing out in a customer’s inbox is therefore critical in order to get your message in front of them, instead of being sent straight to their trash folder.

How do you stand out from the crowd, and get your customers to open up your email and read your message in this highly competitive arena? According to a recent study by Experian, customers are 26 percent more likely to open an email with a personalized subject line than one with a generic one.

Create a Personalized Subject Line

Using today’s email marketing software technology, local businesses can send email messages with a subject line that includes simple information such as the customer’s name, or much more in-depth information relating to the customer’s interests and buying preferences. For best effect, you’ll want to make sure that your subject line directly addresses your customers’ interests, whether announcing a discount, inviting them to try a new product, or promising them helpful and relevant information.

Email lists can be built around different groups and categories of customers, based on customer’s purchase history, expressed interests, geographic location, and more. Businesses can also arrange for emails to be delivered at a particular time of day when customers are most likely to be checking their inboxes.

Separate Customers into Categories or Groups

One simple way to categorize your customers is to query them when they sign up for your email list. Questions can be centered around their product or service preferences, what kinds of emails they would like to receive, or even the frequency of emails. For instance, some customers may wish to receive newsletters and informative emails, while others may simply want to know about discounts and promotions. By defining how often and what type of emails your customers would prefer to receive, you can ensure that they open the emails you send them.

Email Tactics to Avoid

When done effectively, personalized email marketing makes customers feel special, and goes a long way towards creating brand loyalty. When customers feel that you care about their experience with your local business, they are much more likely to read your emails, and come in and try out your new offerings or services. Poorly personalized emails, however, can have the opposite effect. Here are a few tactics you should avoid:

  • Don’t spam your customers. Find out which kinds of emails your customers would prefer to receive and how often, and respect those preferences.
  • Don’t send irrelevant information. When customers receive emails about products and services about which they have absolutely no interest, they are likely to become offended and stop opening your emails.
  • Avoid getting too personal. There is a fine line between catering to a customer’s expressed interests and violating their privacy; make sure you understand this line and don’t cross it.

With the popularity of email advertising, simply developing an email list is no longer sufficient in order to create an effective email marketing campaign. Local businesses need to understand their customers by determining their desires and needs, and only send them emails that are timely and appropriate. Fortunately, there are many platforms that can help you do this without having to invest a fortune in time and money.