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Dear Andrea...

Everyone wants to send out an email letter to 1000 of their closest contacts and have it appear to be a personal note from them. Most businesses realize that the mass sending of the "email blast" (that even sounds tacky), is not the most personal way to reach clients or potential customers.

Here's the problem:

Personalizing an email campaign so that it appears to be more of a letter from the heart—and not a big marketing initiative—is difficult. Why you ask?

1. Your contact list needs to be perfect. At least, as far as everyone's first names. If you want them to start out "Dear Andrea," that means exporting your list, reviewing each person's names, and adding or correcting what's there. Many contact lists simply have email addresses. Good luck.

2. A simple email letter may be effective communicating some written text, but what about a few images, a header graphic, and the all-encompassing footer with links back to your site. That's all great, but now your email looks like a mass mailing marketing blast, not that quaint letter you were intending. Now what?

3. Even though what you are wanting to do, and featuring all the appearances of being an email from you, the friendly vendor or business professional, it's still an email campaign. That mean, you are still obligated by email and spam law enforcement to provide am "opt-out" or "unsubscribe" link. Whoops, now they just caught on. They now figure a lot of people basically received the same friendly, heartfelt, and personal letter you intended to send. Sorry, Andrea.

My recommendation:

Don't hide what it is. Create a list of contacts that are not your best friends, biggest clients, or brother-in-law. Then, send that nicely formatted email, and leave off the personalized greeting.

Then, take that other "preferred" list and simply write an email to each of them that is truly a personal email. Yes, it won't be fancy and it won't include links and images, but it will be honest. And although if sent from Outlook or Apple Mail, you won't get stats or open confirmations or numbers, but so what? State something important or ask a question in your email, they may feel they need to answer you personally. If that doesn't work, follow-up in about a week.

One more note:

If you are wanting to send out a campaign that looks professional with quality images, branded mastheads, and footers or a sidebar with links, that's great. Hire a professional. Don't try to build it using Constant, My Emma templates and photos from your phone. It will look terrible and achieve the opposite effect you're looking for. Contact Design Design and we'll help you put together that email campaign that's professional and includes content they really want. Even if it's a humorous, witty 16-second video.

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