Personalizing email means much more than just using the right salutation. It refers to everything you do to make each piece of email unique to its recipient. Why does personalization matter so much? Industry figures suggest click-to-open ratios for personalized email are 65 to 80 percent higher than for messages that have no personalization. Using your prospect’s name, company name, title and industry make email more compelling, but effective personalization follows a few important guidelines. Make sure you make the most of your business email lists with personalized messages using key details sprinkled throughout the message.
Use Names – But Not Too Much
People identify so closely with their names that they’re even predisposed to liking fictional characters whose names begin with the same letter. Imagine, then, how much more powerful email becomes when it’s personally addressed and customized to its recipient. Just adding a name to the subject line is no longer enough to get your audience’s attention. Leaning heavily on the recipient’s name in the subject line, the salutation and throughout the email feels more like a computer-generated message than an organic one, and people tune out after too many name uses. Instead, stick to occasional use in the subject line, once in the salutation and possibly again toward the end of the email.
Pick One Name at a Time
Although people enjoy reading their own names, they don’t want to read their full names in most cases. We associate full names with legal documents, not with sales; for some people, email that uses first and last names feels intrusive or even ominous rather than compelling. Depending on the style of your email, you could choose to use only first or only last names throughout the message. Another possibility is varying your form of address, including the first name in the subject line and using a title and last name in your salutation or the first line of your email.
Add Company Names in the Email Body
Let your recipient know you’re there to provide solutions for their specific organization by naming it in the body of your email. Ideally, your creative team should fit it in organically within a sentence: “This organizational software package will optimize Smith Communications’ project work-flow, manage your personnel’s time and align team goals.” Natural, grammatically correct use of company names shows that your message isn’t from a spammer and has value.
Personalize by Position and Industry
The people on your mailing list are on plenty of other mailing lists too. On average, they’re bombarded with more than 100 pieces of email a day – more if they’re prominent decision-makers within their organizations. Customizing your mail by including their position, title or industry sector sends a signal that differentiates your mail from a mass of filler. Your message is targeted and relevant; it addresses their needs specifically and isn’t just a mass-mailing. As with the company name, include these details incidentally in the body of the letter instead of listing them.
Personalization Dos and Don’ts
There’s one cardinal rule you must follow when personalizing email: Get the names right. If you want to reach Ms Stephanie Jones and send mail to Mr. Stephen Jones, Stephanie isn’t going to place much trust in you. Working from clean, accurate data files is an absolute must for personalization.
Segment your mailing list. Relevance is key to successful personalization, but you can’t be relevant to your customer’s needs until you know what those needs are. When you segment your lists, you can then send a different message to first-time contacts, existing customers and clients who haven’t placed an order in a set time.
Write like a person. Any machine can spit out a list of data, but a writer fits that information into a greater context logically and naturally. Personalization no longer feels as personal when it’s obviously machine-generated in an otherwise generic email, so pay attention to the substance of what your message says as well as the names it contains.
Contact our email marketing experts today at 855.867.3224 to help you devise your next email campaign strategy.
© Reach Marketing LLC 2014 All Rights Reserved.