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I’ve received over 500 emails so far this year in which the subject line included my first name. “Morgan, Book Now & Save on Top Travel Deals” “Morgan – Congratulations! Your Nomination to Cambridge Who’s Who!” “Morgan, Get Dad a 58″ Samsung Widescreen.”
Congratulations, you have a whiz-bang email tool with mail merge functionality. But it’s no longer novel. The wow-factor has officially subsided for anything you could do on a Commodore 64.
When I see an email with my name in the subject line, my first thought is not “Phew! These guys know my name!” No, it’s become a red flag for spam.
In fairness, it used to work. When I analyzed the use of name personalization in subject lines six years ago, there was a slight uptick in open rates for subject lines that contained a name personalization string. I looked again three years ago and there was no difference in open or click rates when name was included in the subject line. “Dear [First Name],” at the top of form letters had no impact on click-through or conversion rates. If I cared enough to look today, I suspect the results would be worse.
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