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Three Tips for Effective Email Personalization

February 2, 2011  

When used improperly, email personalization can go horribly wrong, writes Dutch Hollis at Chief Marketer. "You could, for instance, thank the wrong person for a purchase or misspell a customer's name," he explains. "Mistakes like these leave the customer with a bad impression of your brand—quite the opposite of the reason you chose to customize your digital communications to begin with."

To help you avoid any personalization faux pas and keep your recipients smiling, Hollis offers recommendations like these:

Use your preference center to ask subscribers how they like to be addressed. There's almost nothing less personal than getting someone's name wrong, Hollis notes. "I have a friend named William who goes by Bill," he explains. "When he receives an email that greets him with 'Dear William' or 'Dear Will,' he knows right away that the sender doesn't know him well."

Make sure your list is squeaky clean. "The customer information stored in your database is what will appear in the email," Hollis reminds us. "If a customer's name is misspelled or just a first initial is provided, that is what they'll see." He suggests a second segment that inserts salutations like "Dear Friend" or "Dear Valued Customer" for subscribers whose given names remain in doubt—but also cautions that this generic solution could highlight the weakness in your data.

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  • by Georgia Christian Thu Feb 3, 2011 via web

    Succinct and to the point. Thanks for the post. I absolutely agree with the points you make. If you aren't being sincere or taking the time to find out exactly how someone likes to be addressed, you're making fundamental mistakes in engaging with your customers, and at the end of the day, that's a huge part of what email marketing is about.

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