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Email Marketing (All)
Hi %%FIRSTNAME%%, Do Personalized Emails Really Help Open Rates?

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A handful of years ago, everyone in email marketing was singing the praises of personalizing email subject lines and copy.  Granted, most were doing so with little or no data to back up their claims, but the use of personalization, in many marketing circles, was strong.  I remember shopping for an email provider and seeing that as one of the key selling points.  Now?  Not so much.

So, in the Stash this week, we did a very simple analysis to see how resorts emails were doing when personalization was used in the subject line. Remembering how the use and acceptance of the practice may have been 5 years ago compared to how it is now, I decided to break up the data set into the last three years:

Now, the sample wasn’t huge (not many resorts are using this feature), only about 600,000 recipients total, but the trend that shows up is definitely intriguing.

Done and Dusted
Now, to be honest, I thought personalization had run it’s course, that the tool was too dull to even bother pulling out of the shed. What I’m wondering if either:

  1. I was right, but it’s been dead long enough that people have forgotten about it and it’s regained it’s previous strength
  2. Or I was wrong, and once again my marketing myopia didn’t let me see how “normal” people behave, and personalization has always worked

Either way, this data makes me want to do a split test and give personalization another chance. So much so, that I did. On one of my old projects I had an email list of 5,100 people. So I did a quick split test where I personalized both the subject line “{!name}, Five Fast Answers to…” and copy, “Hey {!name}, I often get…” and looked at clicks-per-send (total clicks/total sends).

  • Personalized Email: 2,545 sent, 160 clicks = 6.3% click rate per send
  • NON-Personalized Email: 2,547 sent, 137 clicks = 5.4% click rate per send
  • Personalized: 16.8% more clicks

The trend holds in this test. Now, I guess it’s up to you to try a personalized email and see how it goes for your list.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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