Dear First Name,

I actually received an email today that began "Dear First Name,".  Obviously it was a direct email piece that wasn’t set up correctly.  Considering the source of the email, I know that the mailing went to hundreds, maybe thousands, of people.  I’m not upset.  In fact, I think it’s kind of funny.  I never suspected that someone at the company sat down and wrote a personal email message just to me.  On the other hand, the larger the mailing list, the more people see your error.  The glaring mistake really weakens the message of the email, especially when it’s the very first thing you see when you open the message, and may even damage the reputation of your company.  Computer software can save a lot of time and money, but you have to be careful not to make mistakes.

Your mailing list may be quite a bit smaller than the list that my "Dear First Name" "friend" uses.  Your customers may actually think they’re getting an email or letter written just for them.  That’s a harmless illusion that you probably want to keep going.  If so, check and double check your work before you hit the "send" button.  In fact, before you so a mass emailing, your best bet is to send just one message….to yourself.

When you receive it, go over it with a fine-toothed comb.  Is everything right?  Is it addressed "Dear You" and not "Dear First Name"?  If the customer’s name is repeated in the body of the letter, is it correct?  If everything is the way you want it to be, then and only then go back and hit the button sending your message to your entire mailing list.

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