What’s in an E-mail Name?

February 12, 2013    By Linda Telesco

What’s in an E-mail Name?

What’s in a name? When it comes to e-mail marketing, plenty. In a recent study, 68% of consumers said the sender’s name was the most influential factor in whether or not they opened an e-mail.

Also, more than half the respondents said a familiar brand name in the subject line would prompt them to open the message.

The From and Subject lines of e-mails are both important. These are your first opportunity to incorporate relevance and personalization in your message.

But how personal should you get? Would including the name of the person you are e-mailing be even more enticing?

Though consumers in the study responded positively to sender names, only 37% said they would open an e-mail based on seeing their own name in the subject.

Marketing experts agree that this tactic can often seem spammy and not at all personal to the cautious recipient who simply deletes it.

To be honest, I tend to find e-mails personalized with my name somewhat creepy. Even if the e-mail is from a sender I trust, seeing my name in the subject rarely adds great value to the message for me. I would prefer more specifics about the content of the e-mail.

Here’s an example of a “personalized” subject I recently received from a retailer. Linda Telesco: New Year, New You.

Was it really personalized to use my full name, instead of just “Linda?” And what did that subject line actually tell me about the value of the message? Not enough for my taste.

Personalization also poses a challenge regarding brevity. Subjects should be kept to about 50 characters while still giving the recipient a clear idea of what the e-mail is about.

One solution is to ensure that the From line of your message contains your company name; then you can use your Subject line to provide details about the content.

As for the name of the recipient, if you plan to try that option, be sure it makes sense to do so and really sounds directed to the recipient.

For instance, a physical therapist treating a patient for shoulder complaints might e-mail a video clip of an effective exercise with the subject: Dr. Clark Recommends This Shoulder Stretch for Jim.

This subject indicates the sender, personalizes with the recipient’s name and specifies the content, which is very relevant to this patient.

Experts agree that the issue of seeing one’s name in an e-mail subject is often a matter of personal taste, so the best approach would be to test some messages and see the results.

You can also ask your clients directly how they feel about it. Some may like it, others won’t and a few may be neutral.

Their responses will help you decide whether to use personalization in subject lines and how to do it most effectively.

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