How to include a personalized image in an email marketing campaign

GMass has many great options for mail merge personalization options, from simple mail-merge personalization to fallback values and even automatic first name detection. But did you know you can also include a personalized image for each recipient of your email marketing campaign?

The best practice for including a personalized image is to include an “img” tag in a column in your Google Docs spreadsheet. Let’s walk through an example of how to do that.

Example: Different Zodiac Signs

Below is an example of a Google Docs spreadsheet for a fictional business, Star Signs Essential Oils, which is offering a different Zodiac-themed essential oil to each customer based on his or her star sign. Here the personalized image links are included as values in one of the columns.
Example customer spreadsheet.
Example customer spreadsheet. Note the highlighted image links.
In those highlighted sections, note the “src=”https…” text in each customer’s ImageLink cell. These are links to images hosted somewhere online–ones that you have created for the purpose of this mail campaign. Each source link is different because each of these three people have a different zodiac sign (of course, in the case in which multiple people shared the same sign, they would all use the same src link for their image).

After using GMass to connect to your spreadsheet, the Compose window launches. In our fictional example, the Star Sign promotional email looks like this:

The outgoing email with the ImageLink used.
The outgoing email with the ImageLink used.

Note the presence of the text “{ImageLink}” in the center of the email. That is how GMass will know to replace that with the image indicated in the spreadsheet.

When your email is sent, each recipient will get the same text, but a unique image. For example, the recipient Brandon, who is an Aries, will receive the following email:

The email Brandon (the Aries) receives showing an Aries related image.
The email Brandon (the Aries) receives.

Ron, who is a Leo, will get the same text, but an entirely different personalized image:

The email Ron (the Leo) receives showing a Leo-related image.
The email Ron (the Leo) receives.

Finally, Jack, who is a Capricorn, will receive yet a different image:

The email Jack (the Capricorn) receives showing a Capricorn-related image.
The email Jack (the Capricorn) receives.

Other Use Cases

You can personalize emails using any images you want, of course, but just to give a sense for how this GMass feature could be used, here are some example cases:

  • Put a player’s name on the sports jersey or hat you are selling them.
  • Include a photo of the person taken as part of his or her interaction with your business. For example, at a tourist site in which souvenir photos are taken.
  • Include a different theme image depending on whether the recipient is male or a female, older or younger, from a particular country, or of some other demographic grouping that you could respectfully represent with an image.
  • Provide a photo of the branch of your business that is local to the recipient.
  • Show photos of specific products or services that each particular client is likely to be interested in based on customer data you already have.

Things to Keep in Mind

Although that is the basic idea, here are a few other points to keep in mind about personalizing images:

  • To keep things simple, I’ve just used a regular typed-in email for the example above. However, in many cases you will want to use the personalized image technique in the context of a custom HTML email. It works exactly the same way: just paste in your HTML into the Gmail compose window and then type in your {ImageLink} tag where you want the personalized image to appear. You can read more about How to use custom HTML in a Gmail compose window.
  • You can also make the image a link itself, of course. That would require using the personalized link technique I’ve blogged about before, but, in your spreadsheet, including the <img> tag within the <a> tag, like this:
    <a href="https://www.starsignessentialoils.com"> 
    <img alt="Aries Essential Oil" src="https://i.imgur.com/n3LQgc1.png">
    </a>

Summary

If you need to send personalized images as part of a Gmail-based email marketing campaign, just host the individual images somewhere online and then include the full personalized image links, one for each recipient, in your Google Docs spreadsheet. Finally, include the personalization tag (such as {ImageLink} or whatever you’d like to call it, as long as it matches to the spreadsheet column) in the body of your email. It’s that easy!

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