Delivering more personal e-mail campaigns

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When it comes to effective e-mail marketing, don't click send. What's that, you say? Create a campaign and then don't send it? Wonderful advice.

I'll admit it sounds a little crazy, but what I mean is this: Sending one campaign to one list is no longer in fashion. It'd be like showing up to work in your Members Only jacket, or asking your hair stylist to give you something in the Beehive family. You just wouldn't do it, would you?

You have to segment. But alas, we all know it's hard enough getting one solid newsletter or promotion out the door. Creating several customized versions on top of that just doesn't seem feasible. But, fear not, here are five easy ways to create more personalized e-mails in about five minutes

First, split your audience into two or three groups. If you're going to tailor your emails to your different audience groups, you'll need to start by creating those different groups like current customers and prospects, or clients and colleagues, or volunteers and donors.

Next, save a draft for each group. Once your e-mail draft is ready, create separate versions for each group you're sending to, for example "December Newsletter - Clients." It's as simple as re-naming and saving and you now have the different drafts ready to be tailored just a bit to each group.

Also, greet people by name, Jimmy. Your name is Jimmy, right? Well, Jim, there's no easier way to personalize than to insert a "Dear First-Name" greeting. But what if you don't know everyone's first name? You can still add a personal touch to your greeting by using placeholders that help you say "Dear Colleague" or "Dear Friends" when you can't say "Dear Bob".

Then, tweak your subject lines. The basic message may be the same, but is there something in your e-mail that appeals most to each group? Feature that one thing in each group's subject line, your e-mail's most important sentence.

Finally, change your first three sentences. If you don't have time to tailor the meat of your campaign content to each group, just change the first few sentences, the appetizer, if you will.

Good luck cooking up your next e-mail campaign.

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