Web users are savvy and quick to see through you if you’re not being straightforward with what you’re saying, so don’t hesitate to bring your online content back to basics with open, honest and transparent communication.

Find a way to connect with people more personally, and you’re likely to get the conversion (and, more importantly, start the conversation).

Take the story of this erroneous Dear John email for example.

My mail notification popped up while I was deep in something else (I really need to turn that little distraction off). I couldn’t quite correlate the email’s little snapshot intro: “Dear John”. What the? My name’s Kate.

I ignored it, thinking it was spam, until about five minutes later, when another notification came through with the summary: “Dear Kate. Really sorry for calling you John”. Now I was intrigued. Heading over to my inbox, I found the first email, a generic newsletter promoting a new blog post, had been misaddressed.

I know from experience, this is one of those awful heart-in-mouth moments for the sender when you wonder a) how you could have botched it so badly, and b) what the hell you’re going to do about it now. You’ve got some options.

  1. Ignore it and hope for the best. Hey, your mailing list is long, and what’s one awry name in the scheme of things.

  2. Fess up, be honest, come clean, win the content war.

That digital marketer chose the latter.

Hi Kate,
Really sorry for calling you John. Tuesday afternoon mail merge mistake on my part!
Hope you enjoy the post.


Now, I highly doubt I would have read the post if it had been correctly addressed to me; it was one of many that filter into my inbox, and that day was not that email’s day. However, when James rectified it quickly with a follow up email, I felt a much stronger connection to him as a person and was not only motivated to read the post, but also to reply to him.

Hi Tony ;)

No problem at all. I’m going to go out on a limb and say we’re all having a case of the Tuesday mail merges. In fact, the fact that you called me John made me pay more attention, and the quick follow up definitely had me clicking through to read the article, you wily fox, you.

Better luck tomorrow

Have you ever had a case of the ‘Tuesday mail merges’? I’d love to hear how other people have handled a similar communication situation that started badly and ended rather well.

Buff up your content

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AuthorKate Watson