If, like me, you search the internet and chat rooms to identify trends of, and worries about, bulk email marketing it is never long before you realise that there is much argument over how to address your subscribers. Should it be by first name, with a 'salutation' or as Dear Customer.
Despite the disputes and contradictory evidence, the answer is really quite straightforward. It doesn't matter.
That's a little simplistic. I would suggest that you ask your subscribers their preferences at the time they subscribe, perhaps via a tick-box. If they say they prefer Mr. or Ms, then you have an answer. If they express no preferences, then it is no big deal for them.
However, if when you segment your email marketing lists they fall into a group where a significant number have expressed a preference, then as long as they have not, follow the lead.
It is, perhaps, not quite so clear cut with other aspects of personalisation. After all, what hope is there for treating each subscriber on you email marketing list as an individual when there are so many? There are methods though.
Try this little experiment. Buy a book, perhaps one for an e-reader, on Amazon. After a certain period you will receive a marketing email with other suggestions, which will have been, according to the blurb, specially chosen for you. This is personalisation.
If there is an event near to where some of your subscribers live, then a reference to it in the email shows that you have some idea of who they are. 'You might feel that a weekend away during the musical festival in your village will be relaxing.'
Use language they are familiar with. Jargon can be risky, but if they are IT operatives, then treat them as such.
Another method is to engage the reader. Don’t produce copy that dictates. Instead of suggesting: 'The view from the balcony is across the lake with the mountains in the distance' excite them with: 'You will awake to the morning sun reflecting from the lake and as you change for the evening you could linger on the balcony to see the mountains silhouetted against the setting sun.'
This puts them there. They will feel that the email is for them specifically, at least to an extent and to a greater degree than phrases picked from a TV travel programme.
Knowledge of a subscriber is gained steadily rather than immediately, although there is no problem is asking them their preferences. However, beware of being too specific. Their needs for, for instance, the time of delivery might differ from yours. If they say Thursdays then if you opt for a Tuesday because of their low opening rate, you might make them feel as if they are just a number to you.
One method that often gives results is to personalise from your end. Mention a member of staff by name, include a picture, and tell them that if they desire more information to give David's team a call. A direct line to a specific office can reinforce the message that everyone is valued.
Personalisation is not trickery. If you can segment your email marketing list, you are half way there.