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While technology has made it easy to communicate with large numbers of people, it’s still hard to make anyone care what you have to say. If you want your clients to pay attention and take action, you have to personalize your message.

It doesn’t matter if you’re email marketing a tech product to millions of customers or begging your friends on Facebook to come see your Ska cover band on a Monday night, personalization is your key to success.

There are three great ways you can personalize your message to get a higher response rate from your recipients.

Use First Names
Whether you’re talking to a person, writing an email, or just sending a note, more people will respond when you use their first name. Forget emails addressed to everyone unless your goal is only to inform people. If you want people to take action, then you need to use their first name.

Don’t believe me? Then believe the 2013 Experian Email Market Survey. The survey showed that personalized emails had 29 percent higher open rates, 41 percent higher unique click rates, and produce transaction and revenue rates at six times higher than impersonal emails.

Express Gratitude
Business writing articles tell us to be expedient and forego pleasantries like hello, please, and thank you. That might work fine if you’re writing your cubicle buddy, but if you’re writing a stranger, a little manners goes a long way to encouraging a response.

In a study by Adam Grant and Francesca Gino, they looked at how expressing gratitude changed the response rate when requesting a favor. They asked two groups to look over a cover letter. On one email, the researchers expressed their appreciation (“Thank you so much! I am really grateful.”) and the other they did not.

The result? Expressing gratitude doubled the compliance rates.

Include Post-It Notes
Sometimes a little extra effort and a colored post-it note can go a long way. If you’re still sending things out by mail, consider including a personalized post-it note if you want to boost response rates.

In a study on the power of the post-it note by Rudy Garner, he discovered that personalized post-it notes doubled response rates.

In his experiment, Garner mailed out a request for people to fill out a survey. One group of survey requests had a handwritten post-it note tacked on to the cover letter; a second group had a handwritten message on the cover letter, and the last one just had the cover letter with no personalized message.

The result: The personalized post-it note survey request received a 75 percent response rate! On the other hand, the response rate for the cover letter with no message was a sad 36 percent.

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