This Time, Its Personal…

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Does throwing somebody’s first name into an email and calling it personal… actually make it personal?

What if it is sent from an obvious email list?

Surely, you’ve gotten these, too. Look at this one from an internet marketer I got this morning. I’ll blank out some details in order not to call anybody out here…

But, then you scroll WAAAYYY down (cuz he put a lot of white space in there), and you see this…

The funny thing is, this person was fairly obviously trying to target marketers in my state. Internet marketers. Does he not think this was obvious? Look….

  1. It is clearly being sent from GetResponse, a known email marketing company.
  2. It is asking to display images, even though there is no image in there. This means it has a tracking image in it.
  3. It has an unsubscribe link.

So, even though the return address had the word “personal” in it, he put my first name in there, and he kept it short and sweet like a truly personal email… this was obviously NOT personal.

Here’s the Problem

Do I take offense at this? Of course not. I see this fairly often and this guy is certainly not the first. Whatever.

But, here’s the thing…

As relatively benign as this is, I now see this particular person in a more negative light. Because, he tried to lie to me.

A big-time lie which is a really big deal? No. But, still, he was trying to pass one over on me. I know it. And, it leaves a bit of a bad taste.

Why do that? Just to increase the open rate a little bit?

If you get a little bit higher open rate using a tactic like that, it seems to me that short-term bump isn’t worth the long term damage to your trust factor.

It reminds me of a few marketers I was seeing who were putting “Sent from my iPhone” into their email… even though it was obviously sent from something like Aweber. I mean, come on. There’s no way they typed that email on their iPhone. But, just saying it made the email seem more personal.

Once you’ve broken somebody’s trust, it is very hard to get it back again. This email thing isn’t a big deal in the long run, but it is a little ding in his armor of trust… at least as far as I’m concerned.

The Motto

Don’t engage in dumb little tactics like this just to get a momentary jump in stats. If your audience feels like you’re trying to trick them, you’re screwed.

People don’t like being manipulated. If they find out they are being manipulated, they’ll abandon you like a bad habit.

Sometimes, when online marketers concentrate too much on the open rates and the stats, they forget there are real PEOPLE on the other end of these emails.


  1. That’s hilarious… in kind of a pathetic way.

    Frankly, I think it’d be more honest to just send the announcement as an e-newsletter that’s clearly to multiple people and say “there are still a couple more spots in XXX group/program – hope you can join us! If you’re interested, click here (or reply)…”

    It would still communicate the invitation, but without that slightly sleazy disconnect of being a “personal” e-mail that is clearly not.


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