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We haven't done a lot of personalization in the subject line of late, but we definitely do the "Dear" name quite a bit.
Most of our leads have some sort of first name...for those that don't, we use "Valued Jaspersoft Community Member," or "Valued Jaspersoft User." Something along those lines.
If the email is being sent "from" a sales rep or exec, we definitely try to personalize. And, in some of our nurture emails, we do as well...and we try to be conversational in tone. These do remarkably well, and get a lot of response.
As for subject line...we do sometimes experiment with them and find the open rates to be about the same as our other open rates.
You've brought up a good point. Email personalization is taken for granted and I haven't done any comparison tests.
However, when I really look back on how I sort my own emails. I usually don't read too much emails that are not personalized. It doesn't have to be the name I really want to displayed but any personalization seems much better then none.
The best method is really to actually write a personalized message to top potential leads. When doing this, I would actually not personalized bulk emails so the user would know my personal messages are different. I may refer to the bulk email within my personal messages so I won't repeat the content.
Yes, we definitely see an uplift in open and click rates when using personalized email greetings. To optimiize for higher rates, we put the 'from name' with an actual person from the company and send it using a text only version rather than HTML.
This is a great topic!
Our own testing shows that sending from an actual person lifts the open and click rate. To avoid flooding an person's actual email box with out of office replies and bounces, we set up a general email box then alias the person's first name to that box (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.). Of course, you have to check that box daily for unsubscribes and replies, but its been worth it.
As for personalization of the recipient's information, we saw an absolute nose-dive in open rates when including a person's name or company name in the subject line. That apparently screams "this is a marketing email", probably because no one actually sends that kind of subject line. Personalizing the message, however, with "Dear Firstname" or "Hello Firstname" did give us a lift in click rates of a few percentage points over messages without the greeting personalization.
Our most effective messages have been those whose appearance mimics that of just a normal email sent from a mail client, complete with greeting and signature. These types of messages are also more likely to elicit a direct reply. There is a time and place for a pretty graphical template, but most of our demand gen and nurture emails are almost entirely text-based in appearance.
Thanks everyone for your reply! It just re-confirms what we have been doing and has given me some additional ideas on improving our campaigns.
@Tom- We have a simplified HTML version with minimal graphics with a signature but you can still tell it is an email. In your approach, how did you determine to go about using the "normal email from a mail client" design? Was this based on feedback or just testing?