Email marketing is still one of the best ways to catch your audience’s attention in a place they frequent quite often: their inbox. But sometimes, either because of indifference or inexperience, emails that are goaled at delighting your audience through personalization can backfire.

My Pet Peeve: Email Greeting Personalization

It may seem small, the greeting of your email, but one of my pet peeves is when companies try to use the personalization features of their email marketing platform by including the recipient's name in the body of the email without actually having that information in their database.

What is meant to give the recipient a greater feeling of personalization comes across as incomplete, and I notice it every. single. time.

Have you ever received a message with the greeting, "Hi      ,"? What’s missing? Where it should read “Katelyn” are empty spaces.

Here's another example. "Hi Preston, I was worried you might have missed this invite." What's wrong here? Well, it has a name, but my last name instead of my first.

What irks me greatly is the ineffective use of personalization in email communications. No matter the email marketing platform you’re using (Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Campaigner, GetResponse, etc.) you most likely have the capabilities at your fingertips to use your customer information, specifically first and last name, to personalize the messages’ greeting or aspects of your body copy.

So, how does this misuse of personalization happen?

Missing Information

In the case of the first example shown above, the name is missing. And, embarrassingly, your audience is left with a few empty spaces before the comma. While this post is about a pet peeve, it is also about the importance of maintaining your list and managing your database. If you plan to use the personalization features of your email marketing platform, make sure you’ve got the information in the first place.

Since your subscribers have consented to receiving an email from you, don’t do them the disservice of trying to personalize when you may not have the fields correct, or when the information is missing from the database altogether.

Incorrect Use of Personalization (Human Error)

Make sure you’re using the personalization capabilities of your email marketing platform correctly. This may seem obvious, but in my experience, you may think you understand something, but its worth it to test, test and triple test your selections, especially if you’re trying to incorporate someone’s name into your email. Look for tutorials on YouTube or, better yet, send a chat or email to the support team to walk you through the steps to ensure the personalization is configured correctly.

This post may seem like a rant, but it really is something important to keep in mind. No matter the scenario, if you're planning to use the personalization capabilities of your email marketing platform to address your audience directly, you should make sure that 1) your database has that information, and 2) you know how to use the personalization features so the above examples don't happen to your audience.

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