Personalizing your messages

03 May 2007

Ryan Allis

Ryan Allis is the CEO and co-founder of iContact, a leading on-demand email marketing service. As CEO, he's managed iContact from its start in July 2003 to its current size with more than 90 employees and 25,000 customers worldwide. In 2005, Ryan was named by BusinessWeek as one of the "Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25." Ryan is also the author book Zero to One Million: How I Built a Company To $1 Million in Sales and How You Can Too, published by McGraw-Hill. As an email marketing expert, Ryan will provide guidance in his blog posts on how to enhance and improve your online marketing campaigns.

Mass communication tools help any organization spread their message with lightning speed. As small business owners, we can communicate with clients across the globe. Our messages can be heard in Russia, Germany and Canada simultaneously. However, we also run the risk of seeming impersonal to our clients.

Fortunately, we can still give our messages a personal edge. If you want to maximize your open rates, I suggest that you make full use of your software’s mail personalization features. For example, if you were using IntelliContact, you could simply write to have the software automatically merge the person’s first name. So, for example, you could write


and it would appear something like:

Dear Ryan,

when I received the message. This is much warmer than ‘To Whom it May Concern.’

I’ve found that one neat little trick is to use this for a thank you note. For example:


Thank you for purchasing

on . Today we have
launched a new online catalog that may help you in your future purchases of products. You can find this catalog at
We appreciate having the business of . Please know I am always
here if you have any questions about your purchase of or any purchases that you may make in the future.

My warmest regards,
Frank Desean, President
Autobody Products Corp.

This provides value to your customer while simultaneously thanking them for their business. The more personal your message, the better your customer’s experience. In the end, marketing is about providing an outstanding experience for your customer.

Next time, I’ll talk about how to further personalize your message by segmenting your contact lists.

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