You can file this article under something that should not even have to be said, and yet, most marketers need to hear it.

Email marketing, even in 2019, is a very strong form of communication with your customer base, if done right. If abused, email can be your marketing department's worst nightmare with a high unsubscribe rate and in some cases, even worse. If email is abused, you might find yourself marked as spam by customers, and ultimately by Google, which could cause you irreversible brand damage. Use emails carefully.

Obviously, there is a lot to be said about how to write an effective email, from the length, to the subject line, to the call to action, and more. But there is one thing that I believe is the most important component of a business email, and ironically, it's one that most marketers ignore.

Talk to me, not to us.

There is quite literally no two words that will have me click the delete button on an email faster than "Dear customers", "Dear friends", or even worse, "To whomever it may concern."

Nothing says "Ignore this email" more than telling me that it wasn't even written to me, but rather, I am part of a long list of people who received the email. That tells me it's not that important to read.

Luckily, we have technology that enables you to start the email with "Dear Hillel". It sounds like a simple thing to use someone's name, but even though I realize that I am still part of a mass email, at least it is somewhat personalized and you just increased the chances of me reading your email from zero to about 40 or 50 percent. The rest depends on the content of the email.

So why is this so important?

Think of the recipient's needs, not your own.

This is the principle you should follow in all of your communications. If you communicate based on your needs, goals, and schedule, and not based on the needs of the person reading that message, then that person will respond accordingly.

Always put yourselves in the shoes of your audience before hitting send. Where is this person now? What are they most likely doing right now? Do I know enough about them and their work to be pitching them?

The more you cater to their needs, personalize your message and speak their language, the higher the chances you will get the response you are hoping for.

At the end of the day, we all need to use email campaigns once in a while. Email still remains the default form of communication in the business world, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. But just because we are sending a mass email does not mean we need to remind every person receiving that email that they are not unique or important enough to us by not using their name.

It is a simple fix and one that will bring you meaningful results.

Oh, and while we are on the topic of mass emails, please, whatever you do, do not include all the names in the "To" field. There is a reason BCC was invented.

Published on: Jun 6, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.