A personalized direct mail letter can often improve response, especially in database marketing. But poor direct mail personalization can hurt response.

Here are 7 common personalization blunders you can’t afford to make:

  1. Don’t use bad data. When your prospects read your personalized sales letter, their eyes first go directly to their name.

Absolutely do not use this opportunity to personalize unless you are 100% certain that the name is correct. If the name is incorrect, you have immediately lost credibility, and a significant number of your prospects will disregard your letter.

  1. Don’t write the wrong salutation. When mailing to a consumer, it’s not necessary to use your company name and address in the salutation area. You are just as effective by simply starting with a personal salutation. In B2B mailing, use the full address above the salutation.
  2. Don’t be fake. Avoid the major, common mistake of using both the first and last name in the salutation.

For example, “Dear John Jones.” Let’s be real, you know there is no true personal correspondence that uses both the first and last name. Use one or the other: “Dear John” or “Dear Mr. Jones.”

Using the full name destroys the impact of personalization!

  1. Don’t over-personalize your copy. Don’t overuse personalization. Use it only as you would in an actual personal letter.
  2. Don’t use the wrong envelope postage. Use a live stamp, either First Class or bulk pre-cancelled stamp.
  3. Don’t use non-personalized envelope return addresses. Use only your personal name, not the company name.
  4. Don’t miss out on personalized handwriting. We create “handwritten” envelopes for many of my clients, because it works better.


If you would like to use more valuable strategies, including what works best to increase your direct mail response, give me a call at (310)212-5727 or email Caleb@cdmginc.com.

Here are the rest of this week’s articles:

The New, Multichannel Integrated Marketing: 28 Trends for Creating a Multichannel, Integrated Campaign to Boost Your Profits Now
The Power of TDM (Transactional Data Matrix): How it Can Transform Your Marketing
7 Tips for Writing More Effective, Easier-to-Read Sales Copy