Why generic ‘Hi, [YOUR NAME],’ email wastes your money and the 5-step fix

Email marketing is alive and well, but I’m surprised some companies continue to send faux personalized messages with blind pitches like this:

“Hi, Dawn — hope you’re well. I’m hoping you might be able to help me out with a favor. I’m looking for an advertising contact at The Simons Group. Have you thought about utilizing this venue to engage with customers and potential customers? We’d love to set up a time to chat. Thanks so much!”

The make-believe familiarity is bad enough, but the sender clearly didn’t do any research or she would have realized we write and design ads. Within minutes of receiving this email, a consultant sent me a reminder to attend a hot marketing seminar that was starting that afternoon – in London.

targetThe big fail

Generic email marketing is about as effective as trying to win the gazillion-dollar lottery. In fact, the chances of winning the jackpot are probably greater than the odds of reaching prospects and customers with fill-in-the-blank offers. Playing the numbers game – sending email by the gross and hoping at least some of them stick – is also sadly misguided.

Recipients delete these emails instantly. Many of them probably also do what I do – create a filter that keeps future messages from getting to my inbox. So many outlets are already competing for my attention; anything that saves me from having to comb through junk “Hi, [YOUR NAME],” email is a blessing.

The antidote

Smart marketers know there’s a better way to attract and retain customers. Here’s a five-step fix you can use today:

  1. Do your homework. Rather than peppering 1,000 people with the same general offer, figure out who you want to connect with and what they do. In other words, don’t promote website design to an agency that creates websites. Not only does it make you look dumb, but it also wastes time and money.
  2. Identify your goals. Do you want to want to entice current customers to renew their maintenance contracts? Are you testing a new product and need to gauge how prospects will react to it? Having a specific goal will help you determine your campaign’s success.
  3. Pass the “what’s in it for me?” test. Every email should explain how the recipient will benefit from your products and services. Your offer may seem like a no-brainer to you, but you’ll still need to back it up. It isn’t necessary to send 1,000 unique messages – that would take forever – but be as specific as possible.
  4. Use short, punchy subject lines. Even if you have epic design and content, no one will open your message if you’ve got a boring subject line. Make it intriguing and include a clear benefit — see number 3.
  5. Follow up. Don’t send one email and expect instant results. Effective marketing campaigns have multiple touch points – often a combination of online and print initiatives.

Before launching your campaign, learn other good email practices and find out how to avoid the most common email marketing mistakes.

Is your email marketing intelligent and relevant? How do you ensure your messages are on point? Let us know in the comments below.

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