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Personalizing a Mass Mailing–Yes You Can!

In my business writing classes, attendees often state that it is virtually impossible to personalize their mass mailings–both in print and in email. But I send my e-newsletter, Better Writing at Work, to more than 10,000 subscribers each month, and I greet each reader by name–if the reader has included his or her name when subscribing.

Today I received a perfectly personalized letter from CEO Fathi Said of IX Web Hosting, where we host our company website. In the message, he greeted me by name, then began with this sentence: “You have been a customer for over 6 years, and we wanted to say ‘Thank you.'”

Later in the message Mr. Said mentioned that we began using IX Web Hosting services on May 24, 2004. He noted that August 24, 2010, would be our renewal date but that unfortunately the plan we are on has been discontinued. He told me that we would be switched automatically to the plan that is the closest equivalent to our current plan, and he included the cost of the new plan.

I liked his email. It was written to me, not to “Valued Customer.” Rather than providing general information such as “some customer plans will be changed,” it provided specific information about our plan and how and when it would change.

If I had received a generic message from IX Web Hosting, I would probably not have read it. And then I might have been irritated when I realized our plan and pricing had changed.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you cannot personalize your customer communications. Your customers may switch to a vendor who knows how to do it.


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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

6 comments on “Personalizing a Mass Mailing–Yes You Can!”

  • We also send out mass emails sometimes and just recently started using software to personalize the message. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.

  • You can personalize mass e-mail messages using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher, and Microsoft Outlook. Microsoft Word and Microsoft Publisher can be used with any e-mail client or for print based mass mailings. Corel Word Perfect can also produce customized mass mailings, I haven’t used it for mass e-mails but I think the option exists. Another application that can produce mass mailings is’s Writer. I haven’t personally used Writer but a friend has assured me it is possible, mass e-mails are also possible but requires a bit more know-how than the other mentioned applications. Mass mailings was the first thing I learned how to do on computers many, many years ago but I am constantly amazed at the number of people who don’t know that it is even possible in a word processing application.

    I hope this helps your readers.

  • Newsletter being fixed in form and monotonous in content is highly possible to be caught bouncing. To increase the chance of your mailings getting into your target account recipients’ inboxes, we strongly recommend that you personalize your newsletter.

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