Intelligent mailmerging

I had a very good sales email the other day, which was as personal as I can remember getting for a long time, and of course (as you do), I tried to work out why it impressed me so much. I think the key was the seamless way in which my company name was mailmerged into the email, and it’s a technique which you might be able to use yourself.

The crass way of incorporating the recipient’s company name into a sales letter is to use it awkwardly, along the lines of “Dear Chris, here’s an offer for you at The Blue Widget Company…”. We’ve all seen those sorts of messages, and they’re not great. The effective way is to think of why you might be quoting the recipient’s company name in the first place. One answer appears to be to compare it to other companies, like this: “our new product is already is use at several organisations of a similar size to The Blue Widget Company”. Think about the circumstances where if you were writing a true one-off, personal sales letter, you’d unhesitatingly include the name of your recipient’s company rather than saying “your company”. That previous sentence is a perfect example.

Of course, you can’t mailmerge like this if the list you’re sending to isn’t 100% “clean”. However, as with the recipient names, too many companies use a database which is only 90% “clean” as an excuse not to mailmerge at all. Instead, sort out what’s good and what’s not, and send out separate mailings. List 1 has properly formatted names and companies and can be mailmerged fully; Lists 2 and 3 have one or the other, and so can be mailmerged partially; and List 4 has neither, so gets a very generalised mailing.

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