Email marketing Marketing Small Business Technology

Have you lost a customer today?

Not long ago, I received this email from a vendor that I’ve done business with in the past:

Dear Friend:

It’s been awhile since your last order from As a valued customer, we would like to invite you to take advantage of this exclusive offer available only to select customers.

Save 10% on your next order on!

To activate your savings, just enter your promotional code at check out. is a great place for purchasing ink cartridges, approved media and many other Primera products.

Promotional Code: xxxxx

This discount is valid through March 28, 2008, and is offered only for billing and shipping addresses in the USA.

Best regards,

Primera Technology

Primera Technology, Inc.
Two Carlson Parkway North
Plymouth, Minnesota 55447 U.S.A.
Phone: 1-763-475-6676
FAX: 1-763-475-6677

They should be congratulated for noticing that I haven’t bought anything from them in a while, and of course, for going beyond that and making the effort to contact me and make an offer to get me to order again.

But…it sure isn’t very personal. Let’s look at where they could have personalized it a bit more:

1) They have my email address and ALL of my contact information. Yet they only chose to use the email address. Why not “Dear Mark” instead of “Dear Friend”.

The “friend” reference reminds me of all the sterile emails I get from my “How do the presidential candidates use their websites and email” project. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, McCain and others asked for my name and/or email during the “send me candidate news” signup process, yet they don’t bother to personalize the emails using my name or where I live (they can easily figure that out using common automated tools or services).

Only Ron Paul has sent personalized, location-specific emails – and even with his campaign, it isn’t done in every email.

2) They signed the email: “Primera Technology”. Not “Bob Smith, Northwest Sales Manager”, or “Mary Jones, Lost Customer Search Team” or anything along those lines. Whoever happens to be running this campaign should have included their name and contact info in case I have questions, problems etc. The email response address goes to their generic sales email address, and the other contact info provided is similar to that. Generic, generic, generic.

3) How is the success of this offer being tracked? Thankfully, they seem to be prepared for this by using the promotion code. Perhaps they are sending some of these emails out with personal names and from a specific person and they are testing the response to each option using the promotion codes.

I doubt it, but I hope I’m wrong.

Learn from every promotional piece you get. Analyze how you would have done it differently, as well as what was done wisely. Use them to make your promotions better.

And most of all, keep track of how long it has been since I last visited your store. Don’t let me get lost.

7 replies on “Have you lost a customer today?”

Unfortunately, I get these kind of emails quite frequently. I never read them, unless the tagline is interesting. Most of the time, I was unimpressed with their service the first time. That was the reason I never did more business with them.


Dear {!firstname} is my favorite email opening line. I think that people got burned too often on the name option in email services and Friend is the next best thing.

Another thing, on signing. Unless you are Bill Gates, never assume people know who you are. Your example of “Mary Jones, Lost Customer Search Team” is the best way to go. A real name, real title, and contact details if possible. Even if people won’t call, it is nice to see a phone number (even if it just goes to reception).

I stumbled it and included it in my blog carnival.

(see the carnival at:

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