6 Email Personalization Tips for Ecommerce Brands

What is email personalization and why does it matter? Learn that and six email personalization tips from top Klaviyo marketers.

Licie Leite
August 3, 2022

The recent changes in data privacy changed the world of advertising.

And today, more brands are turning their attention to owned channels, particularly email. In an era of crowded inboxes, personalizing conversations with consumers will become what separates spam from the primary inbox.

Last month, we had the pleasure to speak about the intersection of zero-party data and email personalization with the who's who of the ๐Ÿง™ wizarding world of email marketing:

  • Dan Caldwell, Senior Partner Manager at Klaviyo
  • Joanne Coffey, Assistant Manager of Retention Marketing at Jones Road Beauty
  • Gina Perrelli, Co-Founder & CEO of Retextion
  • Lexie Bennett, Klaviyo Marketer
  • Brandon Amoroso, Founder of electrIQ marketing
  • Tina Donati, Content Marketing Lead at Alloy Automation

We'll share six of their top tips on how to have your emails make the cut and stand out using zero-party data for personalization. 

And if you want more tips, we also made the full video recording available on our Youtube channel ๐Ÿ˜‰.

But first, let's cover the basics.


What is Email Personalization and Why Does it Matter?

Think about how many emails from retailers and online sellers you receive per day.

Now think about how many of those you open. And then how many you actually read it.

That in itself should give you a hint on why personalization is such an important element of a successful email marketing strategy today.

But if that's not enough, consider the benefits email personalization can bring to your business:

  • Increase open and click-through rates, driving customer engagement
  • Drive more sales through an improved customer journey
  • Fuel brand loyalty by making customers feel special

Email personalization consists of using customers' zero and first-party data information to segment and deliver tailored email messages that speak to their preferences, making customers feel heard.

Customers' preferences, habits, likes and dislikes, age, budget, name, add to cart behavior, time spent browsing, are all useful information that can be used to segment customers into buckets and personalize their journey.

The big question for brands is, "how can I acquire this type of customer data?"


Quizzes: The First Step to Email Personalization

Before you dive into personalizing your welcome, post-purchase, win-back, or holiday-related promotional emails, you need to focus on acquiring clean, scalable data.

We're talking about zero-party data: Information that a customer volunteers directly to a brand.

And the best way to collect this type of data is by asking questions through onsite ecommerce quizzes.

Take healthy foods brand Hunter & Gather, for instance. They implemented a quiz to gather zero-party data about particular diet preferences of Hunter & Gather's subscribers, from their favorite flavors and condiments down to their lifestyle.

Hunter & Gather went on to sync their quiz answers to Klaviyo, which enabled them to use that zero-party data to personalize products, recipes, educational articles and offers that customers receive in their inboxes.

The results? Revenue from their email flows increased by 258%, with overall revenue from campaigns rising by 82% compared to the previous year.

Hunter & Gather personalized welcome email flow

Haircare brand Curlsmith took a similar approach. After asking a series of questions, the quiz educates customers on their hair type and why the recommended products suit their needs. Curlsmith then created an email marketing automation that sends customers' personalized quiz results via email.

Since going live, this single email automation containing personalized product recommendations has generated 2.5% of Curlsmith's overall monthly revenue.

There is no question: personalization = ๐Ÿ“ˆ revenue.



Now that you know what email personalization is and why it matters, we can hop on to Klaviyo marketers' top tips for personalized email marketing.

And if you want a technical step-by-step guide on how to personalize your Klaviyo email flows and campaigns with quiz data, read this article.


6 Top Tips on Using a Quiz to Personalize Email Marketing

1. Reverse-engineer the quiz-building process 

Some brands end up asking too many questions in their quizzes, under the assumption that all data is good data. But data is only as good as your use for it.

"I think it's pretty important to walk before you run. We've gone into so many Klaviyo accounts before and there's a ton of zero-party and first-party data, but it's not actually being utilized. So I really like to look at it like: how are we going to personalize the email campaign and then back out the questions from there. Otherwise, if you ask a set of 12 questions and don't actually do anything with it, it's obviously not as impactful as it could be."
- Brandon Amoroso, Founder of ElectrIQ Marketing

Here are two ways to pinpoint the questions you absolutely should ask in your quiz: 

  • Reverse-engineer the process. As Brandon suggests, think about how you would want to personalize your email flows and what else you'd like to accomplish with that data to understand what questions you need to ask. 
  • Pretend you are a retail associate. If your ecommerce store was a retail store, what questions would you need to ask your customers in order to provide them with a great product recommendation?


2. Build trust within your email flows and quiz

Lexie Bennett is a firm believer that you should try to build trust with each subscriber from the get-go.

"People don't want to be blasted with the same stuff that they've all seen before. I'm absolutely convinced that you can establish a lot of trust in the first few impressions; those first few emails are really valuable and should be really high-quality. Customers should read them and think 'this is exactly what I need, how are you so inside my head.'"
-  Lexie Bennett, Klaviyo Marketer

Segmentation and personalization are the keys to building trust in your emails.

And as we established, the only way to segment and personalize emails is to get to know your customers.

Lexie uses a quiz to ask site visitors the right questions and get to the heart of what they want to know. Then, she sends emails addressing those pain points and preferences first. That way you'll show customers your emails are worth opening. 

You can apply the same principle to quizzes.

"Something that we're doing in our new quizzes is when we ask questions like 'Do you fill in your brows?' If they say yes, we send them an additional question based on that answer. And if they say no, then we skip that question and we go to something else. So that you can right off the bat start to build trust within the quiz before you even go into Klaviyo or SMS."
-  Joanne Coffey, Assistant Manager of Retention Marketing at Jones Road Beauty


3. Show prospects a review that matches a concern they relayed in the quiz 

Lexie is working on revamping Three Ships Beauty's post-quiz email marketing flows. 

One of her favorite things in this new flow? Showing a review that matches a concern that the quiz-taker said they had. 

The quiz contains questions like "What's your primary skin concern?" and "What are you trying to solve?". Once prospects take the quiz, the answers are automatically synced to Klaviyo.

In Three Ships' first post-quiz email, prospects will receive a review at the bottom that matches their answer.

For example, if a prospect responds their main concern is dark spots, their personalized email will contain a testimonial from someone who had the same dark spots concern and solved it using Three Ships Beauty. 

We like to call this personalized social proof ๐Ÿ˜‰.

Three Ships Beauty personalized review in Klaviyo


4. Use quiz data to personalize abandoned cart and browse abandonment sequences

Joanne is working on new quizzes for Jones Road, where she is planning to implement questions that focus on the type of education they'd like to receive, such as:

  • "What are your goals this year for your skin?
  • "Do you want to improve your makeup skills?"
  • "Do you want to learn about ingredients?"

Once the quiz is implemented and customers start taking it, Joanne will take that zero-party data and actually use it in Jones Road Beauty's browse abandonment and abandoned cart email sequences. They will take customers' skincare goals and what they want to learn from the brand and translate it into "because X is your goal, this is why you need these products." 

Why does this matter? Joanne answered that too, "I think the days of 'hey, you left something behind' are over, everyone has seen that message."

An unpersonalized, cold email doesn't cut it in the new golden age of personalization and email marketing.


5. Address subscription cancelations in win-back flows using quiz data

Gina Perrelli was quizzing customers after they canceled their supplement subscriptions. And through this data, she learned the top reasons why they were canceling. Gina took these reasons and used them as FAQ in win-back flows to debunk them.

She also used them within welcome flows to address issues that customers might have had down the line, straight away. This did wonders for her supplement client welcome and win-back flows! 

Personalized Klaviyo flows funnel


6. Put the focus on the customer, not yourself as the business

That's the advice from Alloy Automation's Tina Donati.

We see a lot of people get confused when they're building their quiz strategy. Instead of thinking about how they're going to utilize that for customers' benefit, they focus solely on gathering data.

Tina shared a lovely example that encompasses this precisely: "I love white wine, but I don't like red wine. So if I'm taking the time to take a quiz, and I told you that I like white wine, and I'm suddenly getting emails with all these red wine recommendations, you already lost me right away."

Always remember that by taking a quiz your customers are willingly sharing their personal information with your brand, so make sure you are providing value in return. 

That comes in form of personalized product recommendations, email flows with a personalized message, offer or article. Still using Tina's example, send flows telling her:

  • What can pair nicely with white wine?
  • How did you make your wine? Where did it come from?
  • A discount and reviews for white wine.
  • White wine product recommendations.

Before we wrap up, here's a little something for you to remember why email marketing personalization should be a priority in 2022.

"Personalization today is massively important. People don't want their inboxes to be flooded with a bunch of emails and so if you can send the right email at the right time is just going to make a big impact on the relationship you have with your customer. The big way I like to think about it is to think of a retail store setting. A retail associate will physically greet a customer when they walk in, they can see what items are selling and see which items customers are purchasing, have a conversation with them and get to know them. With ecommerce, you can't necessarily do that in the same way. But you can try to mimic that interaction with these tips because at the end of the day, whether it's email, SMS, ads, or any of these other channels, you're really just having a conversation with your customers, and the more you know about them, the better the conversation will be."
- Dan Caldwell, Senior Partner Manager at Klaviyo

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