Message personalization: powerful methods to improve your response rates

Email marketing services like iContact have a powerful method of improving the open and response rates for your email newsletters: message personalization. People generally respond more favorably to marketing when you make them feel unique. On the other hand, they tend to respond differently to things when they perceive themselves as part of a larger group. To be successful with your email marketing campaigns, you must take some of these psychological factors into account when using individual message personalization techniques.

Message personalization can be done by inserting what is known as mail-merge fields into your message. For example, iContact has a tool that allows you to insert the first name of a subscriber into the message subject or body simply by typing the words “[fname]” (this stands for “first name”) in the appropriate place. If you would like to include additional personal information, such as the name of the product your customer purchased, you can create a Custom Field for this as well and call it something like “[productname].” These two messages illustrate the difference in appearance when you use mail-merge personalization in your email messages:

(No mail-merge personalization)

Dear Subscriber,

Thank you for purchasing one of our products in the past. Today we have launched a new online catalog that may help you in your future purchases. You can find this catalog at

We appreciate your business. Please know I am always here if you have any questions about your past purchases.

My warmest regards,

Frank Desean, President

Autobody Products Corp.

(With mail-merge personalization)

Dear [fname],

Thank you for purchasing [productname] on [purchasedate]. Today we have

launched a new online catalog that may help you in your future purchases of

[productcategory] products. You can find this catalog at

We appreciate having the business of [businessname]. Please know I am always here if you have any questions about your purchase of [productname] or any

[productcategory] purchases that you may make in the future.

My warmest regards,

Frank Desean, President

Autobody Products Corp.

When done correctly, personalization can be a powerful way to reinforce the connection between your company and your customers. However, poorly personalized messages can just as quickly dissolve that connection that you have worked diligently to establish.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back in a few days to demonstrate how to further personalize your emails to your customers.


Ryan Allis

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