If you want to make a couple hundred dollars quickly, use a knife.

If you want to make a couple thousand dollars quickly, use a gun.

If you want to make a couple million dollars quickly, use a politician.

Or email marketing, if the amazing success of the Obama campaign is any proof!

USA President Barack Obama’s election campaign’s story is almost fable-like.

Beating overwhelming odds, one man, one vision for change and one inspiring quote to rally behind – ‘Yes We Can’.

… the realistic (but not as glamorous version) has to do with email marketing, personalized email marketing to be exact!


CC Image by Heather Katsoulis

The Obama administration was grossly underfunded by corporations when compared to the Romney campaign. However, after using email marketing and Personalization, Obama was able to raise the majority of his 690 million dollar campaign through Personalized Emails.

When you hear the term personalization, what do you think of?

When it comes to email marketing, most people think of including the recipient’s first name in the subject line and the opening line in the email. While this is an important type of personalization, it is not the only one! Obama’s email campaign made heavy use of ‘Appearance Personalization’.

Appearance Personalization

A personalized message can mean more than just fields that change depending on recipient – and it should.

The layout, template and subject line that appears as a personal letter or informal message is an example of Appearance Personalization. It doesn’t matter if you send out your email to thousands of subscribers, as long as it appears personal, it will have the desired effect.

“The subject lines that worked best were things you might see in your in-box from other people,” says Toby Fallsgraff, the campaign’s email director.

Obama 2

Obama’s emails are a good example of Appearance Personalization. They begin with a slightly informal tone while communicating in the first person about relevant, everyday and human topics slowly bringing the election and fundraising in as the main focus. Within reason, the same approach can be applied to your own email marketing campaign!

However, testing through A/B tests was extremely important for Appearance Personalization, as Amedia Showalter, Obama’s digital analytics expert points out, “We did extensive A-B testing on the subject lines and the amount of money we would ask people for.”

Some Tips for Appearance Personalization

  • Don’t be too personal – slang and lingo is never well received
  • Don’t be too specific – if you’re too specific you risk isolating a percentage of your readers
  • Use the first person and simplify words where you can to appear friendlier
  • Keep context in mind – if you’re a legal company, for example, you do not want to sound unprofessional and not serious

Gain that Vote of Confidence!

Use personalization to gain the trust of your subscribers and their vote of confidence in your business.

SharpSpring Mail +offers advanced personalization and segmentation tools to all their clients, allowing them to achieve higher open rates, higher revenue and higher efficiency in their email marketing campaign.

Do you have any tricks for personalization? What are some of the lesser known personalization tricks you know of? Let us know in the comment section below!

  • Author: maryka.burger

  • Maryka has worked across multiple industries ranging from hard news journalism to digital tech companies and advertising. She is an expert at building online presence, and offers a wealth of knowledge on digital marketing, social media and automation trends to agencies and digital start-ups.