Simple personalisation using profile merging

4 minute read

Despite being easy to do, many email campaigns contain little or no personalisation. Personalisation is polite (even if you don’t know your recipient well) and it enhances the trust relationship that you are building.

Why personalise?

There’s a strong correlation between relevance and engagement. Analysis shows that personalised email campaigns are more likely to be opened, read and engaged with than a more general broadcast type of message. Even simple personalisation is a great way to add relevance to your message.

Personal greeting

How to do it

When it comes to adding personal relevance to your campaign you have a number of options. The simplest method is to use your subscriber profiling information and drop this into the body of your email. This technique is sometimes referred to as ‘profile merging’. It’s similar to the mail-merge technique used in direct mail print production.

Profile merging is perfect for adding a personalised greeting or echoing captured information in automated receipts or confirmations. Like this…

Personalised emails

Here are some simple examples:

Hi Catherine or if your style is more formal…

Dear Miss Crowley

Add the profile variable name at the desired place and when the email is sent it will be replaced with the stored profile data. Don’t forget to add an alternative (non-personalised) greeting in case the relevant data is missing. For example:

Hi there

Profile personalisation can be used to add any stored profile field into the copy of your email. Another common application would be to echo personal booking details into an automated event confirmation email. For example:

Hi Catherine

Thank you for registering for our seminar. Details of your booking are included below.

Name: Catherine Crowley
Halcyon Hotels           

Preferred date: 8th April
Location: London
Special requests: Vegetarian

To do this in all you need to do is use the personalisation button when editing text into a component.

Personalisation button

Profile personalisation

You’ll see a menu drop down of the subscriber profile fields you have available – including any custom fields that you have created. Position your cursor where in the body text that you want the information to appear and then insert. The associated variable will be inserted and, when the email is connected to your list and delivered, the associated data will be automatically inserted.

A personalised subject line

Some people find it a little intrusive but if you want to add personalisation to your subject line, the process is similar (the coding is a little different). When you save your campaign simply add the personalisation code into the desired place in the subject line. For example:

<signup_name value=”first_name” alt=”valued customer”> This is for you

By the way, another neat way to do this is to add a preview text component right at the top of your email. This will be visible in the preview immediately after the subject line – so if you add personalisation here (for example a personalised name greeting) if preview text is supported then it will be visible.

Be careful!

Personalised greetings are so common place that as a recipient you only tend to notice it when it goes wrong!

Obviously you need to have accurate data in order to do this. Adding a generic alternative (Hi there) will take care of any missing data and will take care of inconsistencies like mixed capitalisation, but if you are using profile merging it’s still worth sanity checking your subscriber data to remove any obviously dubious entries.