Click. Delete. That horrible whoosh of something being moved into the trash. Are you sacrificing potential business clients because your marketing emails aren’t personal enough? Building up a client base and converting e-mails into sales is about building your relationships. There are very few people heading out into the street to hand over their hard-earned cash to complete strangers. Why should they behave any differently online? E-mails don’t sell products, relationships do. Your contacts are individuals. They may just be names on a database in the office but behind those names is a person with specific needs and wants. What are you offering them as individuals? What will make them engage with your product? Gathering data might seem arduous but it will pay dividends in the long run. What sort of data should you collect? Where are they based? How old are they? How did they come into contact with your business? Use this information to build a profile of your intended recipients. You almost certainly won’t have time to write an individual e-mail to every single contact but you can begin to create ‘action groups.’ The more specific your action group the more likely you are to create content they will want to engage with. Think about segmenting your client list in broad sections like age, gender and location. Once you’ve begun creating groups you can begin to dig into the figures. Check reports. Read your sales. What’s working and what’s not? If you can see a marked improvement in your click-through rate then you’re definitely heading in the right direction. Find a balance between personalisation and the time it takes to generate specific content. You might be trying to sell exactly the same product to a 22 year old female from London, and a 67 year old male Glaswegian. Your product doesn’t change but your audience does. These two customers have completely different life experiences and utterly different frames of reference. Why would sending them both the same bland e-mail copy lead to a response from either? “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” A famous soundbite of wisdom from everyone’s favourite crazy haired physicist. It’s never been more applicable than to companies and individuals who send the same unfocussed, non-segmented e-mails out to their clients every week and expect sales to rocket. Don’t keep making the same mistake.