Keep it Personal

Last Updated Sep 14, 2008 8:49 PM EDT

I was speaking to a friend this week who was on the brink of sending out a few hundred marketing letters to his database of contacts.

"Are you personalising the letters?" I asked, "Of course!" came the response "my software does all that at a touch of a button."

Er, sticking someone's name at the top of the letter and repeating it a few times in the final paragraphs is not my idea of personalising.

Certainly there will be times when one size really does fit all, but in many cases using this approach risks ignoring the real value of whatever relationship you have with your contacts.

Before we bombard those around us with any message, we should pause and consider the person who'll be receiving it --- the real, live human with whom we have at some time interacted.

When we put each recipient in mind it invariably changes what we want to say. True personalisation gives our message greater meaning, more relevance and more impact.

When we pause and consider each person in turn, we may realise that what we're saying is largely irrelevant to some individuals.

In such cases all we would achieve by sending the message is a dilution of the relationship and even risk a reaction like "Why's he sending me this?"

In the past I have referred to this kind of behaviour as "binge marketing" and it rarely generates anything of great value. Worse still it can be counterproductive.

Far better to have our messages connect with a few, than be ignored by hundreds.

Let me know what you think.

  • Robert Gerrish

    Robert Gerrish is a coach, author and professional speaker and the founder of Flying Solo (, the Australian online community for solo business owners.