5 Email Personalization Tactics for Maximum Impact

Video Transcript:

Hi! Welcome to the latest episode of The High-Five Nonprofit Marketing Ideas. I’m Julia McDowell, Marketing Strategist for Five Ones, and The High-Five is my video series of marketing strategies and tactics for nonprofits and associations.

Today’s topic? Five Email Personalization Tactics for Maximum Impact. Visiture tells us that last year more than 239 billion emails were sent per day—with the number expected to rise to more than 347 billiona day by 2023. So, catching a recipient’s attention and getting them to engage – already challenging! – isn’t going to get any easier. Use email personalization to boost your odds of engagement. Ready for my High-Five Email Personalization Tactics for Maximum Impact? Let’s go!

Use someone’s name

Dale Carnegie, famed author and lecturer, said, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Destiny’s Child, who need no introduction, sang “Say my name, say my name.” Different styles, same point: it’s important to use someone’s name. It’s a sign of courtesy.

When someone uses our name, they get our attention. When they remember our name after we’ve met, we feel respected and important. So, job one when it comes to upping email engagement is to use the recipient’s name in the subject line and salutation. According to OptInMonster, emails with subject lines personalized with a name boost open rates 10 to 14% across industries.


Let’s say your goal is to engage with your nonprofit’s volunteers and donors. Or maybe you need to interact with association leadership and members via email. The more you segment the emails you send them, the more engagement you’ll get. In other words, don’t send a blanket email with some content tailored to volunteers and other relevant to donors, when you can send them separate emails with distinct content targeted to donors and volunteers, respectively. The same goes for association leadership versus members; you’ll want to have separate mailing lists for each and adapt the content of their respective emails accordingly.

Personalized Landing pages

Personalized landing pages are another opportunity to boost engagement. Assume your association is trying to increase membership by emailing all non-member attendees of a recent workshop. In each email—personalized with the attendee’s name, of course—you’ve tailored the content to recap the value of your recent workshop and outline the benefits of association membership. You close by asking the recipient to become a member.

Include a link that redirects the recipient to a dedicated landing page that includes full membership benefits and instructions on exactly how the recipient can join now. With your email and landing page both having a consistent look, copy and personalized call to action, you are delivering the recipient a unified experience, which will make it appealing for an attendee to convert to a member.


As the saying goes, “Timing is everything.” That includes when your nonprofit or association sends its emails. For the best audience engagement, personalize the timing. If you don’t, even the most strategic and thoughtful communication can go unread.

Think about what you know of your audience, preferably using existing email analytics. Absent those, consider the demographics, lifestyle, and work routines of your donors or members. Do analytics show that your highest email open and engagement rates are mid-morning, mid-week? Schedule future emails accordingly. Or do you know that your nonprofit or association leadership usually catches up on emails in the evenings or over the weekend? Follow their lead.  

With timing, personalization means sending emails when it’s most convenient for your volunteers or beneficiaries to read them, not when it’s most convenient for you to send them. Fortunately, automated email platforms make it easy to schedule emails in advance. They can also account for when your recipients are in a different time zone than you are and enable you to segment and send accordingly.

Trigger messages

One of my earlier videos in the High-Five Nonprofit Marketing Ideas series is Five Email Automation Series Your Nonprofit Needs. It’s all about how to work efficiently and effectively by using email automation. When someone takes a particular action, they “trigger” that an appropriate, pre-written communication be sent to them.

One example of a trigger message is an automated thank-you email sent after someone makes an online donation. Another is the relevant content being sent to someone depending on whether they entered their email address on your website’s blog page or its events page. These automated “trigger messages” are email personalization gold. According to Campaign Monitor, automated email campaigns have 70% higher open rates than generic emails. And It gets better: their click-through rates are 152% higher. Can you say “engagement”?!

Thanks for joining me for today’s High-Five Nonprofit Marketing Ideas! Tell me your name or favorite email personalization tip in the comments below, on Linked in or at julia@fiveones.com. And look for another video soon!