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Personalisation in emails

How personal are your marketing emails? Looking at the promotional emails I receive, I sometimes wonder if some companies get things the wrong way around. In the red corner is the email which just appears from a business with which I’ve never had any direct dealings. Maybe they bought a mailing list, or (more likely) I asked for something from them once but never followed it up. When these emails start off “Dear Chris…” as if we’re quite familiar, I find that slightly offputting, especially if the email comes from a named individual.

In the blue corner is the acknowledgement email sent by a business from which I’ve just requested something. A personal salutation here wouldn’t go amiss at all, as I’ve just told them my name. It comforts me that the request might eventually reach a real person, and not just be the responsibility of a database. But most importantly, this is the point where I want the email to be signed off by a real contact. Obviously, it came from an autoresponder; it was in my inbox 0.8 seconds after the request was made. However, enquirers need to know that there are real people behind the system, and must be given a named contact in case they want to get in touch.

I guess, therefore, the need for personalisation (both at the start and finish of an email) depends on who initiated the conversation. If it was the customer, names are essential.

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