Have you ever experienced the displeasure of being called by the wrong name? The person speaking could be conveying life-changing news to you, and the first thing that comes out of your mouth will invariably be a name correction. Similarly, when someone you’ve just met uses your first name, they immediately earn points in the scoreboard of your subconscious.
This is because there is extreme power in everyone’s first name. It is essentially every human being’s invisible ID badge that grants them their intangible right to personhood. It represents our individuality. When someone gets your name wrong, or says, hey you, it is as if they are deeming you a non-entity. A zero. An afterthought.
When they get it right, they are validating you as the unique individual you are. They are acknowledging your humanity as Don, the mortgage broker from Oyster Bay who has a collection of rare coins and enjoys kayaking, or Linda, the Pharmacist from New Haven who’s working on a mystery novel set in 16th century Sweden and hates tomatoes.
Don and Linda couldn’t be less alike, but they both might be in the market for a new pair of shoes. When you send an email to Don that says, “Don, you need new sneakers”, the email will catch his eye if you guessed right.
Several studies have demonstrated the power of using a person’s first name in the context of a marketing campaign:
- A study by Retention Science found that an email marketing campaign with a subject line that used the recipient’s first name yielded an open rate that was 16.5% higher than an identical campaign that was not personalized.
- Another study by Experian found that personalized subject lines yielded a 26% higher unique open rate in comparison to its non-personalized counterparts.
- 82% of online shoppers reported in Harry’s Interactive Survey that they’d probably buy more from a brand if their emails were personalized.
This is an invaluable fact for marketers to keep in their toolbox. People love being addressed personally, because they’re real people with real problems and have very little time to waste.
Marketing exists, in part, so that you can build a strong connection with your customers. But how can you claim to have any type of connection with a person whose name you don’t know?