Personalisation: does it still work?

How many of you still receive emails with your first name in the subject line? Does it make you feel like a valued customer? Or is it just an old trick that’s passed its best?

Personally, if I don’t recognise the sender, I automatically flag these emails as spam. And to be honest, even when I do, the fact that they have my name on file just doesn’t make a difference to me.

In fairness, this used to work. Maybe only a few years ago the use of personalisation in the subject line still increased open rates. But the wow-factor has definitely subsided. These days anyone using a mail merge function can send an email with my name on it. It’s just too easy.

If you really want to build a relationship and engage with your audience, tuning your content for the recipient will see a far greater return on your investment.

I’m not suggesting that you need to stop using your customers’ names altogether. I still really enjoy those emails saying “Happy Birthday, Caroline!”; or the postcard of a beach, with my name written in the sand, to remind me about the holiday insurance I bought this time last year. But the message is still tailored to me – making it personal.

We’’e always encouraging our clients to be sensitive to their recipient’s interests – and that applies to any form of communication. What will they want to hear about? Whether you’re updating them on their account with you, letting them know about an event local to them, or tailoring your content based on the interests they’ve exhibited in previous interactions, make it relevant. Genuinely put yourself in your recipients’ shoes. If you can’t think of at least one very good
scenario in which this content is the answer to a customer’s prayer, don’t send it.

At the end of the day, the best personalisation is relevancy; without it you’re really just a polite spammer.

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