To use or not use subscriber name?

by Raydal
26 replies
Does your name in the subject of the email make you less
or more likely to open and read it?

The traditional wisdom is that "personalized" emails work better
than non-personalized ones. But this study says otherwise.

Dear [insert company name], personalized emails don

What has been your experience with your open rates?

-Ray Edwards
#subscriber
  • Profile picture of the author npoint
    I read somehwere so called personalized messages are not taken the same by the subscribers ,someone on that forum site said they are not stupid to think we really care about make with them personal relationship (; they know they are part of hundreds ,or even thousnds and there is nothing to do with something really personal putting their name in the message
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  • Profile picture of the author 50cali8er
    I think they might have worked in the past, but it feels like it's overused now. I guess it all depends on where the list is from and how you collected it and what relationship have you built with them.

    For me, I forget the subscriber name since there is one more thing to fill and people can be lazy.

    You could of course test it with your subscribers.

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    .

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  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

    Does your name in the subject of the email make you less
    or more likely to open and read it?

    The traditional wisdom is that "personalized" emails work better
    than non-personalized ones. But this study says otherwise.

    Dear [insert company name], personalized emails don

    What has been your experience with your open rates?

    -Ray Edwards
    Hey Ray,
    I stopped doing it awhile back. I would say, especially if you are in IM niche,that it is best not to use personal name automation in auto responder.

    Most of the people on your List realize that it is in fact automated ,and I think it honestly turns people off when you use their name. Because they know it really isn't being personal at all and kind of pretentious.

    Honestly, not sure but I think it could have some adverse effects on Open Rates.

    Maybe in a indirect way. Where this action ,among others, could harm your image in the minds' of your Readers causing them to not be receptive of future emails.

    Just my opinion.


    - Robert Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author JensSteyaert
    I don't see much difference, i use both and the results are about the same for open rates.

    You might get a better squeeze page conversion though if you don't use the name field, but that's also negligible, and is more dependent on where you get the traffic.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      I can't prove it with open-rate statistics, but back in the days when I used to collect their names along with their email addresses, and use the names, a significant number of people complained to me (not altogether spontaneously: I do invite general feedback, from time to time) that they thought I shouldn't use their names like this, because "it's the kind of thing an insurance salesman does" (to quote one comment).

      I feel much more comfortable not doing it, I must say.

      And about 12-15% more people opt in (average - across all my niches) when I don't ask for their names.

      Stopping using their names, about 4 years ago, was a real win/win, for me.

      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      Does your name in the subject of the email make you less or more likely to open and read it?
      I determine that according to who it's from, normally, not what the subject-line is.

      .
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  • Profile picture of the author Kenneth Holland
    I don't personalize with the name, and I don't ask for names in my opt-ins anymore either.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Ray
    Yes it seems that people are allot more at ease just giving their email address then they are their first name.

    Although it would make it nice if they did... we could make the emails we send out so much more personal.
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  • Profile picture of the author elusian
    You may be able to get away with it in a niche not related to IM, if you give really good content and have a personal tone to your email. In IM, most people know that this is automated and simply ignore it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ledux
    The argument that personalization helps to build relationships always sounded weak to me.

    Personally, when I see my name in an email I instantly know that it's personalization and not the person writing directly to me.

    Also, sacrificing your squeeze page conversion rate to gather those names doesn't seem right.
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    • Profile picture of the author discrat
      Originally Posted by Ledux View Post


      Also, sacrificing your squeeze page conversion rate to gather those names doesn't seem right.
      Great point. In my testing, Squeeze Page conversions are reduced up to 5% when I leave Name field in.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        I'm not sure it ever worked as advertised but I'm less likely to pay attention if you use my name. You don't know me so I know it's automated and impersonal....and it serves no purpose.

        To remain competitive as online businesses continue to expand...you have to streamline and reduce the clutter in your business. The use of a name in emails to your list....is clutter.

        kay
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Well, I was surprised by the view of this article and I must say
    I always followed the traditional wisdom of "personalization"
    and my open rate stats shows that when I use the names in the
    subject line I get less spam complaints.

    Here is an email from Franks Kern (you can't get more IM that this)

    Subject: Ray! (open up)

    Hey Ray,

    Mass Conversion is LIVE.

    Class officially begins next Tuesday, and our first
    LIVE CALL together is next Thursday.

    Enrollment begins now, and we're already just over 35%
    SOLD OUT.

    It's looking like the class will fill up quickly,
    so ....

    See you in class!
    Frank
    So somebody needs to inform Frank.

    -Ray Edwards

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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      So somebody needs to inform Frank.
      Yup. And someone needs to inform a whole lot of those mutually-proclaimed "gurus" about a whole lot of other things to do with email marketing, too, because quite a bit of what they say is shockingly bad advice: http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post8661178

      .
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  • Profile picture of the author taliesin2165
    Recently came across this post from 2012. Can't imagine much has changed since then..."95% of email marketing subscribers responded negatively when greeted by name."

    Dear [insert company name], personalized emails don
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    • Profile picture of the author Raydal
      Originally Posted by taliesin2165 View Post

      Recently came across this post from 2012. Can't imagine much has changed since then..."95% of email marketing subscribers responded negatively when greeted by name."

      Dear [insert company name], personalized emails don
      Tell me you're kidding. Did you read the OP?

      -Ray Edwards
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      • Profile picture of the author taliesin2165
        Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

        Tell me you're kidding. Did you read the OP? -Ray Edwards
        Have I offended you, Ray? If we were having this discussion in real life, is that how you would speak to me? I'll never understand the way so many people treat other people differently in a forum than they would in the real world.

        Anyhow, were you asking if I read the original post? Is that OP? If so, I did. Was there something dramatic I missed that I should be apologizing for? Besides making me feel like I did something wrong, what was the point of your sharp reply to me? Thanks.
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      • Profile picture of the author taliesin2165
        Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

        Tell me you're kidding. Did you read the OP? -Ray Edwards
        OK, Ray. Now I see that your original post featured the same study. Because I'm new to this forum, I didn't realize they way URLs are displayed. I'm sorry I reposted the same study. I was just trying to add something to the conversation. Sorry I frustrated you and didn't click the link to discover it was one in the same.
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        • Profile picture of the author Raydal
          Originally Posted by taliesin2165 View Post

          OK, Ray. Now I see that your original post featured the same study. Because I'm new to this forum, I didn't realize they way URLs are displayed. I'm sorry I reposted the same study. I was just trying to add something to the conversation. Sorry I frustrated you and didn't click the link to discover it was one in the same.
          Well my comments were not harsh at all by Warrior standards so you'll
          get used to the community. But seeing that the link was the same I thought
          that you were a spammer. Some forum spammers just repost a comment
          to build their post count.

          -Ray Edwards
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          The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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  • Profile picture of the author Christian Swift
    Hi Raydal,

    I always capture the names of those going into my list. I like my subscribers to feel like they are not just another email on the list, and we have had a positive response by using peoples' names in their emails.

    In terms of subscriber retention, subscribers may also feel more compelled to not opt-out if you communicate with them like you know them personally!

    Christian
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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    Nothing's changed since 2012?

    Let me disprove that right now.

    My company ran a test recently. We're in retail.

    Same subject line, three different ways:
    -plain, no name
    -"neighbor" subbed in for name if no name was provided, plus the plain subject line
    -name, if provided, plus the plain subject line

    The name subject line had an open rate of 38%. The next highest was neighbor at 26%, followed by plain at 24%.

    This is a retail company with more than 2 million subscribers by the way.

    The answer, as usual, is test it.

    If you find something that works, use it strategically. Don't start every email that way or people will see it for the gimmick it is and start unsubbing. Simple, really.
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    • Profile picture of the author Raydal
      Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post


      The name subject line had an open rate of 38%. The next highest was neighbor at 26%, followed by plain at 24%.
      "Goes to show ..."
      -Grumpy Old Men

      -Ray Edwards
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      The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

        If you find something that works, use it strategically. Don't start every email that way or people will see it for the gimmick it is and start unsubbing. Simple, really.
        This was going to be my point, but Angie beat me to it.

        Telemarketers tend to be some of the worst offenders of the "use their name to gain rapport" gimmick. It really falls flat when they mispronounce your name, something people who do actually know me rarely do.

        I've used names in the past, but I've always been very careful about how often and when I've used it. You also have to be fastidious about sending yourself test messages before mailing. Imagine the effect of seeing a subject line like "A very personal message for {firstname}..."

        On a more humorous note, I have a friend who uses insults as a first name so he can track who sells his info. His favorites are "Sucker" and "Dumbass", so he gets things like "You need to check this out, Sucker!!!!" or "It's open, Dumbass, go, go, go!!!!"
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        • Profile picture of the author UnkwnUsr
          Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

          This was going to be my point, but Angie beat me to it.

          Telemarketers tend to be some of the worst offenders of the "use their name to gain rapport" gimmick. It really falls flat when they mispronounce your name, something people who do actually know me rarely do.

          I've used names in the past, but I've always been very careful about how often and when I've used it. You also have to be fastidious about sending yourself test messages before mailing. Imagine the effect of seeing a subject line like "A very personal message for {firstname}..."

          On a more humorous note, I have a friend who uses insults as a first name so he can track who sells his info. His favorites are "Sucker" and "Dumbass", so he gets things like "You need to check this out, Sucker!!!!" or "It's open, Dumbass, go, go, go!!!!"
          Yeah, somehow I got on this one marketer's list who likes to use headlines like "What were you thinking?", "Still WAITING for a reply..." and really just negative stuff. Suffice to say that junk just goes directly to the spam folder. Not all attention is good attention some people I would never buy from period.
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  • Profile picture of the author UnkwnUsr
    I think most computer users are savvy enough to know that they are on a list and that the name is automated so the whole idea of it being personalized comes off as fake. Still I ask for a first name because I don't think it can hurt to add it to the actual email body. I believe the email subject should give the user an idea of what the email is about and not try to trick the user into opening.
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  • Profile picture of the author lukeguy
    You're not trying to fool the subscriber but instead Google. If the email never makes it to the Primary, it doesn't matter. It's about getting pass Google now and it's algorithm within Gmail.

    And yes, the name does help with this.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    Banned
    I've got to say that getting email like:

    Subject: fffff! (open up)

    Hey fffff,

    Mass Conversion is LIVE.

    Class officially begins next Tuesday, and our first
    LIVE CALL together is next Thursday.

    Enrollment begins now, and we're already just over 35%
    SOLD OUT.

    It's looking like the class will fill up quickly,
    so ....

    See you in class!
    Frank
    Doesn't make me feel very special!

    I hate when people act like they know me, when they don't. (:
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