The good, the bad and the ugly of email personalisation

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 10:15 am Written by

Personalisation is far from new. We all use it in some form every day. We personalise our one-to-one communications as a matter of course. However, how many of us strive to personalise our mass communication? When was the last time you used what you know about your recipients to help personalise your message?

Many believe personalisation to be “The ability to integrate personal details into a communication on mass.”

However, we’d suggest that personalisation is in fact “The ability to create a message that connects on a one-to-one basis, whether the message is sent on mass or individually”. As it turns out, messages that have personalised subject lines have a 31.6% higher open rate compared to average.

If you’re personalising your mass communications, you’ll need to consider the good, the bad and the ugly of personalisation:

The good – that’s relevant

Good personalisation flows easily. It incorporates relevant information and helps tailor the message to the needs of the recipient. It can also integrate their name, location or business name. Great personalisation is natural and therefore blends nicely with the overall communication.

The bad – how did they get these details?

Bad personalisation leads the recipient to ask where you got the information from. Your communication shouldn’t over use personal details or list data that isn’t correct or relevant to the message. Don’t dump everything you know about someone on the page, use what you know to tailor the message.

The ugly – that doesn’t even make sense

Ugly personalisation doesn’t make sense. Don’t be tempted to write sentences like this…
“John Smith, as a resident of England and a Marketing Manager at NewZapp, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to order from our online shop.”

Did this sentence need location, job title and company name?
Keep focused on using what you know to help tailor your message. Only explicitly integrate data that adds to the flow of the message.

Overall the aim should be to create messages that engage and lead the recipient to take the desired action. If you want to achieve the best results you’ll always need to test, test and test again. Finding out what works for your business can take time but it’s always worth the effort.

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