Be selective in your salutation for a website, direct mail letter or email. Avoid, at all costs, using those trite, stuffy openings like “Dear Friend.”
Instead, personalize your opening. For example, “Dear Software Engineer” “Dear Art Collector,” “Dear Tennis Nut,” “Dear Executive” or “Dear World Traveler” can help you zero in on your readers and establish a better rapport.
However, how personal you get should depend on your audience.
Depending on your audience, make it more personal, such as “Dear Fellow Investor” or “Dear Fellow Taxpayer.” And consider your positioning and the use of one emotion. “Dear Abused Taxpayer,” “Dear Concerned Investor” or “Dear Overworked Assistant.”
A personal salutation helps your prospect relate to you and sets up the case you are making in your copy.
For personalized letters with an individual name, never, ever say: “Mr. John Jones.” It will hurt response. Use either the first or the last name—not both.
For more tips on salutations and writing copy that works, visit my article 14 basic rules for successful direct mail copy. Or feel free to contact me at or call me at 310-212-5727.