Email Personalization

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.

Don’t use a subscriber’s name more than once or twice in each message. When you make repeated use of a name—say, at the beginning of several sentences—it starts to look forced and unnatural.

Don’t fake it. The whole point of personalization is to connect with your customers in a meaningful way. Do whatever it takes to ensure that the effort appears—and is—sincere.

Source: Chief Marketer.