Ironically, there is one point of interaction you can make more personal by not tapping into your CRM data: The promotional email subject line.
If you ever want to see personalization done wrong, open up the Promotions tab or the spam folder in your personal inbox. Look at how many subject lines address you by name. All of those newsletters you forgot you signed up for, and all of those brands you bought something from once — they’re trying to recapture your attention with the same superficial attempt at personalization.
That’s not personalization — that’s noise. Don’t fall into the same trap by emailing your customers a message with a subject line like “Top picks for [first_name]!” or “[first_name], don’t miss these deals!”
If you really want to make a connection with someone over email, get personal yourself. Write those emails in your name, and use the pronoun “I.”
Author and professional communication consultant Danny Rubin tells his readers to do the same with their LinkedIn profiles. “The approach makes you genuine, authentic and real,” he writes. “And isn’t that how you want people to think of you?
Again, this is part of the competitive advantage that small businesses have. When your financial advisor or your real estate agent reaches out with an authentic email written in the first person, it’s refreshing.
The key to conveying this authenticity is to make the conversation about you and your customer, Lara Douglas writes at the Small Business Rainmaker blog. She offers a few easy ways to reframe outbound messages that let you speak from this position of realness and empathy:
Change "You'll love this," to "I was looking at your past purchases, and I think this is a good fit."
Change “This is what you need," to "You're ordering so often, why not set up a recurring order?"
Change “I see you’ve had trouble in the past,” to “We know your last experience wasn’t great.”
Now, put yourself in the position of the customer once more. Imagine you’re working through a crowded inbox. Which email would grab your attention?: “I was looking at your past purchases, and I think this is a good fit," or “[first_name], don’t miss these deals!”