Best Tactics for Personalized & Triggered Emails

As an eCommerce business, it can be all too easy to get lost in the crowd; especially when your message is all about you, and not so much about the person you’re selling to.

We know that email campaigns remain a highly effective marketing technique when properly executed, despite the rising tide of competition. But what methods of outreach do customers tend to prefer? It turns out, there is definitely something to be said for the budding trend of email personalization. No longer limited to a simple “Hello, [insert person’s name]”, this trend has been presented and pioneered in hundreds of innovative ways over the last couple of years, and now we have some idea as to the types of emails readers like best due to recent data.

In December 2014, Listrak surveyed 2,000 adults in the U.S. on their opinions of and habits regarding targeted emails. Of those who responded, 72% open and read promotional emails from retailers – and from those responses, it seems clear that consumers are largely in support of having personalized messages sent to their inbox.

Here’s a breakdown of which personalized emails they prefer to receive:

  • 80% find it useful when a retailer sends them emails featuring recommended products based on what they’d previously purchased
  • 71% found it useful when a retailer would send them emails featuring recommended products based on what they’d looked at online, but not purchased
  • 69% found it useful when they saw online ads featuring images of products they’d previously viewed on a retailer’s website
  • 68% liked it when retailers would personalize their emails by using their name in the subject line or body of the email
  • 67% found it useful when a retailer would recommend products on the pages of its website while they are shopping

Interestingly, men on average preferred each of these methods slightly more than women did; and predictably, older consumers (ages 55-64 and 65+) weren’t quite so enthusiastic about them as respondents in the 18-34 year old bracket. Still, the majority of respondents agreed somewhat or strongly to each of these sentiments, giving the green light to marketers.


The key to success is being relevant (re: timely) and helpful. Especially when browsing through retailers’ websites while on-the-go with a mobile device, consumers are often pressed for time, overwhelmed by options, and waiting until they’re seated at their desktop to make a purchase. A trigger email sent at the right moment can help to budge shoppers along through the conversion funnel. Need a clearer picture? According to Listrak, these are the most popular types of content that people (those who open promotional emails) are looking to receive from retailers:

81% – on sale items
40% – products organized by price
39% – new products
38% – highest rated items
31% – top sellers
8% – most “pinned” products

Listrak’s CEO Ross Kramer heeds marketers with a warning: “It’s not surprising that shoppers express that they are most interested in discounts. Clearly, sales and promotions are powerful sales tactics; however, it is not always in the best interest of retailers to lead with discounts – or feature them at all – for reasons ranging from margins to brand integrity.”

To avoid tarnishing your brand’s reputation, think outside the box! There are thousands of different and creative ways to personalize your email messages to consumers. From birthday messages to product recommendations based on search and geographic-based updates, the possibilities are limitless. What are your favorite examples of effective email personalization tactics? How can you apply these and other triggers to your marketing strategy?

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