E-mail salutation, whether generic or personalized, engages your reader and lifts your click-through rate. Here are a few tips for testing salutations, along with a tale of three different e-mail salutation tests and the results.

If you have names for everyone on your e-mail list, you're lucky. Many companies don't. But don't let this keep you from using personalization. In the short run, you can use a slug in place of the name. In direct marketing, "slug" refers to a generic term, such as "customer" or "reader" you can use when you don't have a name ("Dear Customer" instead of "Dear Jeanne").

What if you don't have names for anyone on your list? You may still see a lift from using a generic salutation ("Dear Reader"). See an example in the first test case below. If including a generic salutation provides a lift, consider gathering names for everyone on your list.

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