Have you ever received one of those “personalized” emails that starts with “Dear…” and then follows with a blank space? Oops. I guess they didn’t have your first name in the database.

Personalized salutations can make an email more engaging, improve response rates and increase future open rates. But you look like a fool and annoy your recipients if you begin your email with “Dear <blank>.”

You have two choices: Don’t personalize your emails at all or personalize your emails the right way. We recommend doing it the right way. Here are some tips to help you, along with some ways MarketVolt’s email engine makes the job simple…

  1. Collect names for your contacts, putting first name and last name in separate fields. You can’t write, “Dear Joe” if you don’t know the contact’s name is Joe.
  2. Review your list to make sure the right data are in the right fields. Joe Smith does not want to receive an email that says, “Dear Smith” when the sender accidentally puts Joe’s last name in the “first name” field.
  3. Use software that allows you to insert replacement text for records that don’t have the field you’re trying to merge into your mailing. For example, if you want your salutation to say, “Dear <First Name>” but you know you don’t have the first name for some recipients, set up the system to insert “Dear Friend” for those recipients.

MarketVolt make it easy to personalize content with a backup plan. Here’s an example from the MarketVolt custom merge builder…

In this example, a MarketVolt user has created a merge code — #Example# — that will insert into the email “<First Name>,  I’d like to put you in contact with <Saleperson First Name>.” Of course, you would need to include the recipient’s first name and the saleperson’s first name in the record for that recipient…



…But if you have some records that don’t include the recipient’s first name or the saleperson’s first name, here’s your backup plan.


The backup plan: Send an email with alternative text that says, “Please contact a salesperson…”

That’s a lot better than sending an email that says, “<Blank>, please contact <blank>.”

By automating the backup plan, you easily achieve personalization while avoiding embarrassing mistakes. Your emails will yield better results, and you’ll accomplish this with less time and effort.

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