Email marketing experts believe that personalisation of an email subject line can increase open rates. A bold claim, certainly, and one which must be countered by the fact that high open rates can easily flatter a poor email campaign. Just because people are opening your email doesn’t mean doing so has been in their best interests. If they find it not to be, they’ll likely have opened it… and very quickly moved on.
Personalising your email subject lines so that they offer a more intimate connection with the recipient can be a great way to establish a proper email marketing strategy based on trust and respect, but there are a few things to bear in mind.
If you decide to address the recipient with their name in your subject line, you need to ask yourself whether or not this is simply acting as an attention-grabbing ploy. Compare it with a real-life example. If you shout someone’s name across the street – what comes next? Are you going to hand them the pair of gloves they dropped, invite them over for a coffee or are you simply trying to drag them into your shop in the hope they’ll buy something?
Email is no different. You have to follow up the intimate introduction with real value. What are you trying to achieve with that virtual shout across the street? A single purchase or the start of an ongoing and mutually beneficial relationship? If you focus on the latter, you could have a customer for life and not a one-off fling.
Using your recipients’ names in the subject lines of your email is not ultimately good or bad practice, and it certainly doesn’t suit every marketplace. The best way to see if it suits you is if you can truthfully answer that you are using their name in order to provide them with real value and engagement. The highest possible goal for any email marketing campaign is not just high open rates, but to gain the trust and respect of your readership. If you can be honest with assessments of your own practices – such as subject line personalisation – you’ll be compensated with long-term advocates rather than fly-by-night customers.