Subject lines and the importance of personalisation

What’s in a FNAME? — Subject lines and the importance of personalisation

“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” — Dale Carnegie.

Carnegie’s ground-breaking book “How to make friends and influence people” wasn’t just about becoming popular, it was about doing business. He recognised the importance of making a personal connection with people you hope to do business with.

So personalisation should be a key element in any customer experience strategy, chiming as it does with the basic psychological human desire to bond with other individuals and groups.
Even though we don’t get to choose our own names, they still identify intimately with who and what we are. Hearing your name called, even if it’s aimed at someone else, immediately makes you prick up your ears and notice.

So it’s not surprising there’s plenty of evidence around to indicate that including a name to personalize an email subject lines increases open rates by up to 29.3% (source: Experian Marketing Services report).

The same report also shows that sending personalised product recommendations in email shots can also generate a 20% increase in revenues.

But what is surprising is that only 35% of businesses personalise email marketing. Maybe some businesses are shy about asking for more than initials, surname and a billing address during the selling process in case it puts off the customer.

But there are always opportunities further down the line, perhaps with a feedback request or special offer to existing customers, to collect the personal data you need.

Or maybe sales teams don’t think this information is relevant? However, your knowledge of someone’s birthdays, hobbies and interests is a part of relationship building so that they become more than just name on an emailing list.

That’s my name — don’t wear it out!

It’s true that familiarity can breed contempt, so don’t overdo it.

  • If a first name is shoehorned into every line it looks like an obvious selling ruse; it makes me feel like my most personal tag is being abused.
  • There’s a fine line between friendliness and an invasion of privacy. Personal means just that and no-one likes to feel their personal information is being abused.
  • Make sure you include an opt-in choice. You’re more likely to get reliable data from willing volunteers.

However much you personalise an email subject line, you still need to make sure you’re offering something relevant. The more information you have on your emailing list, the more you’ll hit it off with your customers and enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship.