Personalized Email Marketing -- Benefits and Pitfalls

If you're looking for a way to increase the response to your email marketing efforts, you should definitely consider personalization. Email marketing programs such as Broadc@st [] can automatically compose and send mass email messages with personalized fields and content, driven by a database.

Personalization can help you speak directly to your customer or prospect and achieve the much-sought-after goal of one-to-one marketing. However, in some ways personalization can work against you. Keep in mind these precautions:

  • Garbage in, garbage out. If some records in your database have missing or mixed-up fields, you can end up with odd constructions, such as:

    Dear ,
    We hope you've been enjoying the copy of you purchased from us back in .


    Dear VP Mktg,
    We know it's not easy being Suzanne Myers of Wilmington, Delaware in Corrugated Products Co.
  • It's best to avoid personalization in the Subject line; usually it sounds artificial. And if you use an informal Subject like "Hi, Bob!" the recipient will expect to find a note from a personal friend. He'll be annoyed when he finds instead a commercial message from your company.
  • Be sensitive to privacy concerns. Don't overdo it. An email with too much of the recipient's personal information might seem like an abuse of privacy.

Whether you personalize your email marketing messages or not, it's important to make them sound personal, like a one-to-one communication from one friend to another.

Understanding the request form...

  • What are you selling: Most email campaigns are selling a product or service. Name that product and/or service in this field. (for example: security services, accounting software)
  • Target Market: Name here who you see as the market or potential buyers of your product/service. (for example: home owners, accountants)
  • Size of your mailing: How many emails do you plan to send -- this will affect your potential revenue and cost. (for example: 100,000 to 250,000)
  • Your Time Frame: When do you plan to do your mailing? (for example: mailing within one month)
  • Campaign Details: Give a more complete description of what you are planning. (for example: I plan to do 3 sequential mailings to homeowners in New Jersey in order to sell a new security system.)
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