A colleague of mine recently had a rant on Facebook because she’d received an email - from a customer service person - which began, "Hey, awesomeness!”
The post soon racked up a healthy number of likes and comments, which included, “When will they understand that they are not our mates?” and perhaps slightly more dramatically, “They should be shot!”
Of all the mistakes people can make when composing a business email, this is definitely the one that seems to generate the most rage. And understandably so. No one likes a faker, and there’s noting less authentic than someone you’ve never met acting like you’re best pals.
It also seems to be on the rise. In the last few months I’ve had emails greeting me with, “Hiya Lovely”, “Hi Beautiful” and “Hey girl” (which would have been fine if the email had been from Ryan Gosling but, sadly, it was not).
Getting their name wrong
Another email mistake I often see is due to database systems being wrongly used, so that I am greeted as “Hamburgh”, “Hamburgh, Rin” or even “Name” or “First Name, Surname”.
Now no one is so naive as to think that a marketing email - even one with their actual proper name at the top - has been sent to them and them alone. But why bother trying to personalise your message if you’re going to do it so badly that you actually highlight the fact that your reader is one of a long list of people you’re targeting?
It doesn’t take long to do a test run of your email marketing system and iron out the mistakes before you let loose on the people you’re trying to impress.
How to do it right
So what’s the best way to start an email? It’s a tricky one - as this rather entertaining article from The Guardian explains.
The answer is that it’s really down to the way you want to be perceived as a brand.
At Rin Hamburgh & Co we’re all about straight-talking, concise, well-written English and so we usually start our emails with a simple, “Hi Jo” (but only if the person’s name is Jo, otherwise we’re back to the database problem).
But you might prefer “Hello” or “Hey” or “Hiya”… and that’s fine. The main thing is to define your brand voice, understand what will appeal to your target client or customer, and make a decision.
Then all you have to do is figure out how you’re going to sign off… but that’s a whole other blog post!
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