Over the weekend I counted the number of "personalised" emails that came into my inbox. There were 46..

They broadly fell into 3 groups with differing levels of personalisation:

  • Firstly the "Hi Jenna" email. 

The lowest level of personalisation possible. A generic email with my name plastered on the top with the bold hope of getting my attention. No, I do not want insurance for my washing machine.

Straight to the bin they went.

  • Secondly the "We thought you would like" email.

These are still extremely automated, but a little more clever in that they follow things like my purchase history and shopping habits to give me a list of things I might want to buy. My favourites tend to be recommended reads based on books I've purchased and clothes that a computer thinks I might wear based on my extensive online shopping history...

These emails occasionally get a little browse and sometimes get the desired action but generally they almost always make it to the bin.

  • The third category, and the fewest number of emails received were from the "value added" category.

I actually just received one of these from my sister. We had a fairly empty argument about mushrooms the other day (I hate them, she claims that they are very good for you, and eats them ALL THE TIME in our shared flat) and she has sent me an article stating all the health benefits of them. While it's from a fairly disreputable news site, I did open it, I did read it and it contained actual valuable information to me. It addressed my fairly uninteresting issue, but it was my issue and it showed that she had genuinely seen it and thought of me. I still don't think I'll ever eat them, but at least I know if I did by accident, there will be some health benefits.

We live in a highly personalised world and I believe email marketing has made us somewhat numb to most content that we receive. However, these 1-2-1 emails that we always open have 3 things in common:

  • They come from a trusted source
  • They are relevant to our challenge
  • They are timely

Emails such as these may be the key to restarting lapsed conversations or breaking into a new key account.