How many of you have signed up to newsletters only to receive an email addressed “Dear No Name” when it lands in your Inbox?

mailchimp merge tags blog super secretaryI recently subscribed to a certain businesswoman’s newsletter as I liked the freebie download on offer. Then her email campaign started…and I was receiving one a day…ALL addressed to “No Name” – hmmm!

And yes, I did let the first couple of instances slide, and thought “Ahh, it’s an admin oversight, surely they’ll fix the merge tags”.

But, when it kept happening day after day…well campers, it’s really bugging me now! *outraged eyes*

If you are trying to build a relationship with a future client/customer, it’s generally thought a good idea to use their first name in any email communications! (And, not to bombard them every day with sell, sell, sell emails!)

However, the personalisation route can be a double-edged sword. Yes, there ARE some bods out there who will fill in your email form with a “hilarious” false name, so bear that in mind if you want to use merge tags in your e-marketing.

In the main, I use Mailchimp for my clients’ e-marketing, and not many people know that you can use a conditional “merge tag” to fix any pesky missing First Names in your subscriber list.

Use the Standard tag (when your list definitely contains subscriber’s First Name): Hello *|FNAME|*, naturally you can replace the Hello with Hi, Hey, Dear etc. Your choice.

Use the Conditional tag to spare your blushes if your list is a mix of First Names and Blanks:
*|IF:FNAME|*Hi *|TITLE:FNAME|*,*|ELSE:|*Hello,*|END:IF|*

NB: If you use Aweber for your e-marketing, the First Name merge tags are available from the “PERSONALISE” button, and you select the “First Name Fix” option: {!firstname_fix}

There is a debate going on around the best use of personalisation; some feel it’s fake when you use the merge tags in the Subject line, but don’t mind when it’s used for the intro greeting.

But…here’s the big no-no: people this side of the pond definitely don’t like personalisation merge tags peppered throughout the email as it’s feels very American and super salesy…some of us remember the Reader’s Digest Gold envelope Sweepstakes campaign back in the day!

“Dear Tracy, ENTER NOW!!!! Tracy, DO NOT MISS OUT!!” *silent scream face*

Aaaarrrgh, horrid horrid. It would appear that us Brits are still a hard sell, ha!

Oh yes, and what about that certain businesswoman’s emails? I unsubscribed.

If you are going to be lazy in your approach to e-marketing, trying to persuade me to buy high end products, BUT can’t be arsed to set up your email sign-up form correctly with “Required fields”, or check your newsletter merge tags are appropriate, I won’t be reading your emails. Or buying from you. End of.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
Trace x