Email & SMS

How to Scale Personalization in Your Holiday Email Campaigns

By Tinuiti Team

One of marketers’ greatest challenges today is a matter of competing interests. 

Consumers expect increasingly personalized, relevant experiences—something most of us are eager to provide. We also want to cast a wide net to reach the most potential customers possible. How do we provide custom messaging and personalized experiences for thousands or even millions of individuals?

The looming holiday season will bring more competition, meaning the importance of a remarkable and relevant experience is even more important. But at the same time, campaign volume and target audiences tend to grow during the holidays, too; further exaggerating the problem of scale.

Despite its position as one of the oldest digital marketing channels, email remains one of the best-suited tools to engage large numbers of people. Its flexibility and scalability are second to none.

As you plan and shape your holiday strategy, here are some important ways to make your scale the personalization of your holiday emails.


Harness Personalization for Marketing Success


The value of personalization is well documented by this point, and research shows that marketers who use advanced personalization tactics have significantly greater email revenue than those that don’t.

Despite these results, a surprisingly high number of campaigns are still being deployed without meaningful personalization. A recent research report found that nearly 40% of marketers said that they almost never personalized their emails in the previous year.


CRM & Email Marketing


And even when some type of personalization is implemented, it is often limited to the same basic customization we’ve been using for years: a first name in the greeting, a recent purchase in the body, a static city or state mentioned in the subject line, and so on.

These tactics can be effective—and at least are a step in the right direction—but you’ll have to do better to meet the rising demands of your customers.


Automate to Scale Personalization


There’s only one way to meet customer demand for relevance and marketers need to engage as many potential customers as possible: automation.

Consider implementing or improving these automation tactics in your email campaigns this holiday season.


Take Triggered Emails to the Next Level


About ¾ of email ROI comes from “segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns.” It’s not surprising; this approach connects your brand with customers right at the time and place they’re most willing to engage. Act on milestones and signals of intent to engage your audience with spectacular, irresistible experiences.

scale email personalization for the holidays

We adore Chuck E Cheese’s approach to triggered welcome emails for their rewards program. In addition to typical offers and information you’d find in this kind of message, the email includes a customized image that dynamically adopts the name of the recipient.

Colorful, animated images in the body catch the eye and reflect the fun, energetic brand.

And a dynamic map feature pinpoints the nearest location or the individual’s preferred location, along with relevant hours and contact information so they can plan a trip immediately! 


Incorporate Adaptive Evergreen Content


This is a great way to make every email open a fresh new experience without a lot of manual updates or resends.

Simply embed content that’s capable of automatically updating over time with feeds that ‘scrape’ the latest content:


email personalization toms


I love how TOMS combines a mix of social feeds, user-generated content, and curation to keep its emails evolving over time—even after they’ve been sent and opened.

This example features content that’s pulled in real-time from an Instagram feed that highlights submissions from the community of loyal customers styling the brand’s products. 


Design for Open-Time Context


Customize your emails not just to the individual receiving them, but to the environment and context in which they’re opened.

Factors like the time/place of open and current business inventory/pricing have a huge influence on what makes emails impactful. That could include images that adapt depending on if they’re viewed during the day or night, a weather forecast for the opener’s local area, messaging that adapts depending on what device the email is being viewed on, or what products and deals you’re trying to push at the moment the email is opened.

The best part about this tactic is you can use it to personalize experiences even when you don’t have a lot of data about the recipient. It’s not dependent on having elaborate user profiles, but real-time data about subscribers’ environments and your own business’s real-time circumstances.

email personalization holidays royal carribbean

Royal Caribbean uses dynamic images that evolve in real-time based on inventory data and the offers it’s promoting on its website so that its emails are always up-to-date.

This minimizes confusion and frustration from users who get excited about a deal or trip, only to find that it has been changed or sold out by the time they get to a landing page.

Imagine using that during a busy part of the holidays like Black Friday when pricing and inventory can change rapidly!


Make Your Holidays Personal


We’ve been carefully studying what innovative brands are doing to hack the holidays and make their emails more relevant (and more effective), even to enormous mailing lists.

Our research found 9 remarkable solutions to common challenges and obstacles that improve personalization and drive more revenue. See them all (complete with examples from leading brands) in our holiday lookbook!


jenna liskey email strategist

Jenna Liskey is an Account Development Manager for Liveclicker. In her role, she loves partnering with her clients and providing strategic advice regarding how to effectively personalize emails in real-time. Currently, she lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and has been in Charlotte for just over a year. Prior to moving to Charlotte, Jenna lived in New York City for 7 years and has been working in email marketing for over 10 years.


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