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Increase Your Sales With Personalized Messages
By Bob Leduc

I paid bills last night. After writing checks on the business account I noticed a little sticky note on the next check reminding me to get more checks printed.

My mail this morning included a sale catalog from an office supply company I use. The back cover included a picture of the same style business check I've been using. Printed over the check was the following personal message: "Bob ...Don't be caught short. Stock up now for the coming year and save up to 73 percent." I immediately called them with my order.

This big corporation understands the value of personalized messages. Their system "remembers" how often I order certain items and produces a personalized offer on schedule. I'm sure this personalization develops sales for them at a rate many times greater than their nearest competitor.

Personalized messages offer an even greater advantage for small businesses. Plus, it's an easy and inexpensive procedure to implement.

The Most Important Word

What's the most important word you know? It's your name. The most important word your prospects and customers know is their name. It's a powerful magnet you can use anytime you want to get their immediate attention.

For example, I always include my customer's or prospect's first name on the subject line of my outgoing email messages. It immediately attracts attention and guarantees my message gets read. I do this manually. But you may want to investigate some of the software developed to merge different text into the subject line and body copy of each email message.

You Need A Real Name

You already have the personal names of your customers. You'll also have personal names when you compile or rent a prospect list for postal mail. The name is part of the postal address. But you may not have the personal name for most of the prospects you collected online at your website or from email requests. Often you have only their email address.

I discovered an effective alternative to use when I don't have a person's real name. It's hidden in every email address. It's the part of the email address to the left of the "@" symbol. For an email address of "AB6@y...", it's the "AB6" portion. I insert this part of the email address where I would normally put the person's first name. It's not as personal as the real first name but it attracts more attention and produces a higher response than no personalization.

Make a habit of collecting and storing the real name of each prospect in addition to their email address so you can use it to personalize your messages to them. Look for it in the header of the email message when the sender doesn't "sign" the message.

Tip: You'll automatically get more real names in email messages by revealing your real name first. I do this by using my real name as my email address. Over 75 percent of the email messages I receive include the sender's real first name.

Don't Overdo It

Use a person's name no more than 2 or 3 times in a communication. Inserting it too many times annoys the reader and broadcasts that the message is part of an automated mass mailing.

Sometimes you don't need much more than a prospect's name to get results. For example, I send a lot of prospecting postcards by postal mail to targeted lists. The only message on the postcard is the recipient's name followed by a benefit statement plus a phone number, email address or website address where the prospect can get more information. I always get a high response because each recipient is attracted by their name and can't resist reading the rest of my brief message. None of these postcards get tossed without being read.

Start personalizing your communications to prospects and customers. It will substantially increase the response you get - without increasing your costs.

Related Articles:

Turn Prospects into Buyers
It may take 4 to 7 visits before your web visitors buy from you. New information, regular changes, and updates keep visitors coming back to your web site. As your visitors develop confidence in you, they will be more likely to buy from your products or services.

Maximizing Your Sales Opportunities
Far too often we're so focused on the primary sale that we neglect the opportunities to increase our sales and our profitability. But no sale is complete unless the customers have been given every chance to accessorize their purchases. 

Why Aren't I Making SALES?!
When you are having trouble generating sales, you need to track all of your activity (and the activities of your visitors) to pinpoint where the trouble lies. Only then will you know where you need to make changes.

Copyright 2003 Bob Leduc

Bob Leduc spent 20 years helping businesses just like yours find new customers and increase sales. He just released a New Edition of his manual, How To Build Your Small Business Fast With Simple Postcards and several other publications to help small businesses grow and prosper. For information: visit:

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