Okay, there seems to be a couple of schools of thought when it comes to personalizing mass email marketing, and while the technology is there to make each entry personal, studies have demonstrated that a sizeable percentage of recipients are somewhat put off by personal greetings in business oriented email traffic. We’re talking 95% of respondents surveyed.
A little judicious digging, however, reveals the true agenda, that people are put off by marketing emails that address them personally but offer little else as far as relevant or valuable content. Repeated helpings of personalized fluff with no real value attached will dilute your brand name as surely as water dilutes Scotch.
It simply comes across as fake to get a personalized email message from a company that you know full well that you have no personal relationship with. So how personal should you get with your client base? There are a number of ideas on the subject.
If relationships are long term, then personalizing is recommended, as it brings with it a sense of familiarity and relationship forging. Personalization may also extend to the subject line, allowing your recipient to cut through the email clutter that clogs the box every day.
On the other hand, using personalization with folks who are new to your email list, newer contacts, or worse, simple prospects, may be off putting. They may be wondering how and where you got their details, as well as how much information you have. It can create an atmosphere of distrust, not something you want straight out of the gate in any business relationship.
If you want to move into a more personal relationship with your clients or prospects, consider some options that allow them to provide the information they wish for you to know. When they sign up, consider having a box that asks specifically how they would like to be referred. For this author, it is very off putting to be referred to as “Mr. Ritchie” (who, we all know, is my father). I’d much rather be address by my first name. You can also ask how often they would like to hear from you, as well as narrowing down what kind of deals or information they are seeking from your company. By applying these elements, you go a long way toward establishing a solid relationship through email communication.
So the basics are simple…ask your clients pointed questions to establish a habit of communication that works for them. Conduct tests with your audience to determine what levels of personalization work and which do not. Make sure the personalization performs adequately across your entire database. And most importantly, always provide solid, relevant content, as this will keep your customers coming back for more and genuinely not mind hearing from you.
Even with all the advances in online communication, email marketing remains a viable and effective communication tool, but like any tool, its efficiency depends on the level of skill with which it is utilized.