Is It Time To Kill The Email Salutation?

A recent study from Temple University Fox School of Business revealed some pretty counterintuitive insights on email marketing.

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“Personalized email advertisements are far more likely to repel customers than to endear them,” a press release for the research reads. The study looked at 10 million marketing emails sent to 600,000 customers, and found that consumers’ responses to personalized greeting (e.g., Dear Katherine) ranged from “very negative to, at best, neutral.” In fact, 95% of participants responded negatively.

Along the same lines, customers who were unfamiliar with the email’s sender were “very likely” to unsubscribe from emails with personal greetings. But those more familiar with the firm, especially those who had made past purchases, were unaffected by personalized salutations.

This study is surprising, especially because previous sales research shows that customers usually react positively to being recognized by name. The negative reaction could point to privacy concerns, or that such personal salutations ultimately feel disingenuous.

The study revealed that a different type of personalization – product personalization – can have a positive effect on email marketing. When opening an email with products selected according to past purchases, consumers feel a positive connection to the brand.

Looking to get more email subscribers? Check out these examples of stellar subscribe boxes.