How Brands Are Using Influencer Content to Personalize Emails and Boost Click-Throughs

Tue May 07 2019
Terilyn Walker
Best Practices

Personalization. This is the marketing buzzword used by many, but successfully executed by few. Email was one of the first marketing channels to embrace the possibilities of personalization. For many brands, email remains one of the most important channels for nurturing and converting prospects into buyers. While the channel has faced increasing competition from paid advertising in recent years, email still remains a valuable way to get directly in front of interested customers.

In fact:

  • 73 percent of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email.
  • 59 percent of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions.
  • 99 percent of consumers check their email every day.

Many consumers’ inboxes are filled with promotional emails, so it remains arguably one of the channels that will benefit from personalization the most—and we’re talking much more than the typical Hello, [First_Name].

Consumers want personalized experiences based on their unique interests, purchasing habits, and more.

  • • The most often opened emails are related to hobbies, with an open rate of 27.35 percent.
  • • Emails with personalized subject lines are 26 percent more likely to be opened.
  • 53 percent of marketers say ongoing, personalized communication with existing customers results in moderate to significant revenue impact.
  • • Marketers see an average increase of 20 percent in sales when using personalized experiences.
  • • Some brands have recorded 8x improvement on click-through rates with a personalized video versus standard outbound email campaigns.

Visual content is the key to personalization

Let’s be honest. Most of us skim our emails and only stop when we see the words “sale” or “coupon code.” So when it comes to email content, inserting consumers’ first names into email is just the beginning of your personalization journey. 75-90% of your marketing’s impact depends on visuals. If you’re only changing text in your emails, you’re not going to see the impact you’re hoping for.

Marketers have access to tools and consumer data that make hyper-personalized, engaging emails a possibility. Yet still, many marketers aren’t using it, and even fewer use it well. 60 percent of marketers struggle to personalize content, yet 77% believe personalization is critical to success.

Why? Because many marketers just don’t have access to the amount of personalized content they need to truly make an impact.

In order to truly personalize the visual content in your emails, you’d need to produce thousands of images, with hundreds of diverse models, in dozens of diverse places, doing many different things. When it comes to traditional forms of content creation, that just isn’t possible for most brands, especially when you account for the fact that most brands send out new emails weekly, if not daily.

That’s where Influencer-generated Content (IGC) comes in.

Why Influencer- Generated Content?

Like ads teams, email marketers have a greater ability to personalize than they typically have content. But with influencers, email marketing teams can segment emails down to audiences who are most likely to engage with each influencer. Email provider MailChimp reports that segmented emails receive 14 percent more opens and 101 percent more clicks than unsegmented emails.

In an internal survey, we found that 47.5% of marketers now use IGC in their email marketing campaigns. Influencers act as individual professional content creators. It's like having a distributed, scalable team that represents each of your target markets. Influencer content solves content shortage because of a few key reasons.

It's fast.

Personalized emails require an immense amount of content to keep up with weekly or daily newsletters. Photo shoots take months to schedule and produce, not to mention they only result in a limited amount of usable photos.

On the other hand, influencers can create content in days at the volume you need to fuel all of your email campaigns.

YogaClub finds that IGC has been a huge value add to their paid social and email marketing teams. The brand uses IGC in 60-70% of their emails.

Lindsay McClelland, Director of Partnerships and Brand Experience at YogaClub says, "We're constantly getting new influencer content each month, so that means we can always refresh our emails with new creative as we always have new outfits to feature. Plus, the content that we get from influencers is some of our most professional photography when it comes to getting genuine reactions about how people feel about our product."

Not only does influencer marketing provide the team with the volume of content, but the content itself has outperformed the content that the team has produced in house. Nicholas Norman, Co-Founder and CMO of YogaClub goes on to say, “We couldn’t replicate that kind of quality and authenticity on our own. Even if we were to hire a camera crew, get a model, coordinate the outfits and coordinate the photoshoot, we'd still find that the content created by influencers is far superior.” Which brings us to our second point.

It's authentic.

Forty percent of marketers use influencer content in emails because it offers the ultimate social proof. Customers want to hear from others they know and trust, and marketers can give them what they want by leveraging names, faces, and stories of influencers. It also allows email teams to hyper-personalize their messages.

Emma Erickson, Content & Outreach at Bitsbox says, "Using influencer images in our emails adds authenticity. Sometimes we include an influencer's handle within the image so that we can put a name to a face. That way our audience knows real people use and like our product."

It's diverse and versatile.

IGC is made by real people with diverse backgrounds, interests, and values. You can also ask influencers to create content relevant to certain seasons, holidays or use cases, giving you the possibility to hyper-target your email segments.

Emma goes on to say, "We like our emails to have fresh and relevant creative. By having a network of influencers readily available, we can source customized content at any time, depending on the season and our needs. For example, for a summer email, we sent [an influencer] a bouquet of sunflowers to include in her images. We can also personalize content by asking influencers for certain angles or poses depending on the emails we want to send."


Only 39 percent of online retailers send personalized product recommendations via email. So get ahead of your competition by sourcing and leveraging influencer content for your next email campaign. Contact us to get started.

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