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How To Create Inspiring Personalized Emails

Here’s the deal: whether they’re subscribers, prospects, or loyal customers, the demand for personalization is non-negotiable. (And we’re not just talking about “Hello %%first_name%%.”)

With artificial intelligence (AI) becoming increasingly prevalent, there’s a growing demand for more human-centric marketing. In fact, 64% of emails sent by companies leverage personalization using dynamic content—making it a standard practice in the industry.

If you’re in the business of fostering brand trust and creating customers for life, then meeting this expectation is just the bare minimum. 76% of buyers expect personalized attention because they understand that tailored experiences reflect a brand’s commitment to understanding their needs and preferences.

So—how do you meet these subscribers, prospects, or loyal customers where they’re at? By offering personalized inbox experiences that surpass the standard. Keep reading to learn about the importance of personalized emails along with tactics you can apply to your own email marketing program.

What are personalized emails?

Personalized emails are targeted messages that cater specifically to the interests, needs, and preferences of an individual subscriber. These emails leverage data to create a relevant and engaging experience, tailored to each subscriber. This approach transforms a standard email into a personalized experience, helping to foster trust between a brand and subscriber.

Benefits of personalization in email marketing

Let’s look at some of the ways personalization helps email marketers connect with their subscribers.

Increased click-through rates (CTR)

Depending on the content of your email, adding personalized, dynamic elements to your emails can see higher click-throughs. For example, if you integrate a live poll into your emails, you’ll encourage more clicks (like email marketer Laura Jean saw with her campaigns: a CTR improvement by 53%!). By creating an enticing opportunity for subscribers to participate in, you’ll encourage more engagement.

Improved conversion rates

Personalization can significantly boost conversion rates, delivering six times higher transaction rates than emails without personalization. When subscribers see content that resonates with their personal preferences or purchasing history, they are more likely to be persuaded to take action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a service.

5 ways to create personalized emails that will inspire

1. Creating a sense of urgency with countdown timers

Countdown timers can be a powerful way to bring a sense of urgency into the inbox. As a powerful visual tool, countdown timers are a tried-and-tested tool that encourages subscribers to take action while building anticipation for what’s to come.

Countdown timers can be used in a variety of ways:

  • Create urgency about the end of a sale or promotion
  • Build excitement about the start of an event 
  • Launch a new collection or offer
  • Show personalized time-based content (e.g. days until birthday/time until flight)
  • Remind subscribers of delivery deadlines for holidays.

In this example, we’re using a countdown timer to create excitement for an event.

An email from Litmus featuring a countdown timer to create excitement for an event.

2. Incorporating weather forecasts

Personalized weather forecasts will make your emails resonate—rain or shine—with:

  • Local weather forecasts based on the subscriber’s location
  • Weather at a holiday or event destination
  • Products based on weather forecast

Ted Baker uses dynamic content to display products suited to the weather at the moment of open. This example is the “wet weather version.”

email from Ted Baker using dynamic content
Source: Litmus’ Email Gallery

3. Show what resonates with social signals

Social signals show how many times subscribers have interacted with something, based on the clicks an element in an email receives. Showing an actual count provides genuine social proof in the email, making it clear to subscribers how valuable and popular each product is, which in turn motivates them to click.

In this email from DFS, the number of people who are “loving” each product is displayed, giving subscribers a browsing experience backed and validated by other subscribers.

email example from DFS
Source: Litmus’ Email Gallery

4. Gamify with live polls

Using live polls in email is a great way to encourage customers to engage with your brand and show them that you are listening to their opinions. You can do this by:

  • Using voting or polling for gamification
  • Collecting real-time interest
  • Asking people to vote to boost engagement
  • Create follow-up emails based on how customers voted

In this case, Bulk™ uses live polls to obtain customer feedback on their newly launched products. This approach serves not only as a means to gather information for enhancing future email personalization but also to gain insights into what customers are really enjoying.

Source: Litmus’ Email Gallery

Build powerful personalization in just minutes

Embed a live poll into your email with just a few clicks. No coding experience required!


5. Captivate with personalized images

Picture this: you open an email and there’s your name, right inside the hero image. Exciting, right?

Source: Litmus’ Email Gallery

So, how does it all work? Personalized imagery taps into CRM data to feature your name directly in the image. It’s not just names, though. Images can be customized based on a subscriber’s location or even a customer’s date of birth. It’s a whole new level of personalized email experience!

Visit The Email Gallery for email personalization inspiration

Need help finding the perfect personalization tactic for your next email? That’s where the Litmus Email Gallery comes in! Explore a whole world of personalization—right at your fingertips.

Originally published on December 12, 2022 by Martyn Lee. Last updated January 29, 2024.

Need email inspo? We’ve got you covered.

Check out our top picks for emails that can help your brand get more clicks, more revenue, and provide better in-email experiences.

Kimberly Huang

Kimberly Huang

Kimberly Huang is a Content Marketing Manager at Litmus