Think about how many emails you receive daily. That number is probably well over 100, if you include work emails, personal emails and advertisements. Are there any emails that—to hop on the Marie Kondo train—spark joy?

Most emails probably don’t bring you that much joy. But what’s different about the ones that stand out? We have all encountered emails that speak to us, that compel us to pull out our credit card, click a button or share the news with our friends. How do they work? What makes them effective?

I would argue that the easiest thing you can do to make your emails stand out is personalization. Imagine getting a birthday cake that says, “Happy Birthday Customer!” instead of your name. Which one would make you feel warm and fuzzy inside? Which one would make you feel seen?

Many marketers know they need to personalize their emails more, but often don’t get around to making it happen. The good news is that personalization doesn’t have to be super advanced or complex. While ClickDimensions does integrate with FreeMarker, a template engine designed to generate text output dynamically based on data, personalization can be as simple as segmenting your marketing lists and tailoring your messages appropriately. For a comprehensive guide to the dos and don’ts of personalization, read on!


  • Segment your data. Dynamics 365 makes some of this easy with marketing lists because you naturally have to segment by leads and contacts. Remember this when you’re building your email send, and use the “clone” button liberally, especially if you’re trying to tailor a specific message to contacts and leads.
  • Segment by area. You can use an advanced find to return individuals in a particular city, ZIP code or state to a static marketing list, or use dynamic marketing lists. Alternatively, you can use conditional statements to show information relevant to specific areas (like house listings). Or if you’re dealing with multiple countries and you have collected data on what language your customers prefer, you can have an email dynamically display the right language for the right person. (More on languages and FreeMarker here.)
  • Send an introduction. If your sales team is assigned to a specific region, introduce them to the contacts and leads in their area. Send out a picture, contact information and maybe a short bio. That way, when the sales rep reaches out, the customer (or potential customer) will have a face to put with the name. This can humanize your business efforts. (An example of how you can make this happen is available here.)
  • Show dynamic content by gender. There are tons
    studies that demonstrate how men and women make decisions differently, and thus should be marketed to differently. You can again segment your lists here, or you can build one email send with dynamic content displayed for the different genders via conditional statements.
  • Look at your contact and lead records. What information are you gathering there that’s specific to your business? It’s a great idea to examine your custom fields here, too, because that will be some of the data that’s most specific to your business. Here’s an idea: add some custom fields to your contact or lead record that shows an individual’s engagement with your email sends or website. Then, use that field in your FreeMarker strategy. If the click rate, for example, is low, maybe link to a survey that asks for feedback on how you can improve. If the click rate is high, maybe send them a promo code for being a loyal customer.


  • Think names are enough. Don’t stop or settle for adding a dynamic name to the subject line or the first line of your body copy. Almost everyone knows how to add “Dear {First Name}” to their email sends. It’s not enough to help you stand out.
  • Lump everyone in together. In most cases, avoid including contacts and leads in the same email send. Use the Clone button and send one email to contacts and one to leads. Nurture people who have not done business with you yet differently than your loyal customers.
  • Overlook the technical details. Don’t forget about FreeMarker restrictions.

Remember: At the heart of personalization is data collection. Use ClickDimensions forms (or form capture) to gather specific data on your customers. You can then segment out your email communications in a variety of interesting and engaging ways. With those ideas in mind, you should be well on your way to becoming a personalization master.

Happy Marketing!