Posted 6th June 2011 | By Peter Voss, Account Manager

Dear me, One of the great things about email marketing is that it allows you to deliver the right message to the right client. And one of the major problems with email marketing is that you can send entirely inappropriate messages to all sorts of clients. So how do you manage the former without actually achieving latter?

The simple answer is with care!
The basis of any successful email marketing campaign is your database of contacts as we have said before, and here, and here, your mailing list must be accurate, current and have given consent to be contacted. Assuming that it is, then how do you use it to ensure results?
Some messages need to be sent to all your clients and prospects, whilst others may have a more selective audience. You will only be able to send selective messages if you actually know what level of interest people on your mailing list have expressed in your business. The easiest way to do this is to have multiple mailing lists; actual clients and prospective clients are two discrete groups. If you have this level of information, you can communicate different messages to each group.
Having established that you can differentiate your audiences how do you address them? And by this I mean what salutation should you use. We have all received emails from companies that begin Dear Valued Customer, when you know for certain that you have never purchased anything from them. (After all, you only signed up to their e-newsletter to be entered into the competition to win a 1st Class Return to Buenos Aires!) This type of salutation is a sure-fire way to remind people to unsubscribe from your mailing list. You can only legitimately address somebody as a customer if they have already bought something from you.
If you have the data you can personalise your salutations, but what to use? I could be addressed (in varying degrees of formality) as Dear Sir, Dear Mr Voss, Dear Peter, Hi Peter or even Oi You! but which one is the right one? The simple answer is - how would you like to be addressed yourself, if you were receiving the email? So if it were a chatty newsletter then Dear Peter would be OK, but if it were a more formal mail then perhaps Dear Mr Voss would be better. What it should not be is Dear Mr Peter Voss or Dear P Voss (when have you ever addressed a letter to somebody using those formats?) and certainly not Dear , where no name has been populated into the mail.
However, if you are emailing me to tell me that I have won that 1st Class Return to Buenos Aires then I wont really mind how you address me!

Peter from ExtraMile Communications in Eccleshall, in sunny Staffordshire.

Peter

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