Tracy Petrucci: To Use Or Not To Use People's Names In Email Marketing

Friday, February 10, 2012

To Use Or Not To Use People's Names In Email Marketing

Do you use your customer's names when you send them an email? Lately I've been coming to a few realizations about this technique, and I have a little rant for you this afternoon.

For the most part, I don't use people's names in my client's emails because the business does not always have the name available. Customers may sign up with a pad of paper in the store, and simply scribble a barely legible email address, or they may enter their email in a subscribe box that doesn't ask for a name. Whatever the reason may be, this happens often.

I don't see a problem with it because let's face it, we pretty much know when we are getting an email produced for more than our own private eyes. We are not fooling anyone by saying, "Dear Tracy" are we?

On the flip side, it's a nice entry into the message, and it makes sense to start a greeting with our name. But I've been getting hit with some pretty ridiculous emails lately that over use my name while under whelming me, and down right annoying me.

The most recent example of this would be an email from the Padres.  Here it is:
Here is the problem. The guy is talking to me on a first name basis like we know each other or something, or he's really serious about this so he's using my name. "Tracy, I HAD to tell you about this because we are bff's and the seats are so good, what kind of friend would I be if I didn't pass it along?" If he knew me at all, he'd know I would never take this serious. At first I thought maybe it was a type-o. . .  almost 15 THOUSAND dollars?

Sorry bud, I don't have that kind of money up my sleeve right now, but I love a good baseball game at Petco Park. Unfortunately, we're more likely to hit up the five dollar lawn seats.

The other thing that bothered me about the fake authenticity of this email, was the subject line which read, "SD Padres Opportunity." With the word opportunity used so freely in here, it was again very frustrating to open it and find what it actually held.

I think it's ok to use the word opportunity in marketing, sure! I use it all the time. But I don't think it fit in this situation and I opened the email thinking it was going to be something exciting or cool, or at least something worth thinking about.

I've received several other emails from passionate marketeers who continually insert my name into the middle of the text. But I'm here to say it does not impress me, and it's starting to bug me. Be authentic in your messages, your customers are not stupid and they can tell when something is phoney baloney.

Spend the time to properly segment your lists as well, so you do not bring about bad will from targeting the wrong people. I'm not sure how the Padres got my email and thought I'd fit in the category of customers who would partake in this "investment", and although I appreciate the effort on their part, this was totally off the rocker!

Friday night rant complete- time for the weekend!

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