In today’s digital marketing environment, good ol’ email continues to be the most effective way to reach mass audiences. Yes, really. And with advancements in email tracking, ROI is much easier to measure than traditional marketing approaches. But while it remains widely used, there is an underlying strategy behind email marketing that many companies fail to execute adequately. It’s consumer personalization.  According to a new survey by Listrak, online shoppers are more likely to purchase items if emails feature products based on their shopping habits and preferences.

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According to feedback from more than 2,000 U.S. men and women age 18 and older, 84 percent of online shoppers who’ve signed up to receive promotional emails report that they find it helpful if products featured in emails were relevant based on their purchasing history. In fact, 69 percent report that they are willing to share personal preferences with companies in order to receive emails more relevant to them.

This is huge for marketers. If significant attention is given to email content development and consumer research, companies can begin to see better results, not only with increased sales and brand awareness, but with more consumer trust and interaction. A full 90 percent of online shoppers say they find it helpful to be alerted when products they frequently purchase go on sale, and 72 percent revealed that they are willing to receive more emails if they feature things like weekly sales, top sellers and new products.

It’s not easy. Email marketing requires quite a bit of strategic planning. And just like with failed social media efforts, poorly executed email campaigns have the power to destroy a brand. Add mobile to the mix and now you have the extra layer of content to be personalized across various handheld and wearable devices.

It’s no longer about salutations and name fields – it’s about entirely restructured content that targets an individual’s core preferences. So tap your marketer on the shoulder and tell him to delete that static email template. Instead, they should be segmenting target groups with customized content according to market research findings. The more segments – the better the results. And before anything leaves that email server, there needs to be social media links in place and – importantly – a real call-to-action.

Personalization is critical to email marketing just like location is essential to real estate. But what defines email personalization today is content that resonates specifically with an individual customer. With so many messages to complete with, it’s easy to miss the mark. The good news is that the right personalized approach will keep each customer coming back for more.