Personalized Emails Go a Long Way |
Neustar Domain Names

Personalized Emails Go a Long Way


One thing I’ve noticed over the last couple of years is that I seem to get a much better response rate when I individually address an email. Not only does this mean I send individual emails instead of a group email using BCC (or CC), but I also address the person at the beginning of the email, either using “Dear” or more casually, “Hi.”

I generally use “Hi” when addressing potential buyers because it’s more casual and it may make the person more comfortable. In some instances, I will use “Dear,” although that is generally saved for emails to more senior executives at large companies and also lawyers.

When replying to the replies I receive, I always respond in the same manner as the person who replied to me. Sometimes this means just the person’s name and a comma, no name at all, or whatever greeting they used. It’s a very minor detail, but I believe that by using the same language as the person on the other end, I am making them a bit uncomfortable.

When I don’t have the contact name, I almost always start an email with the generic greeting “Good morning” or “Hi there.” I don’t like to really mix it up, because it makes me cringe when I receive emails that are weirdly addressed to me with unconventional greetings like “Dear Domain Buyer” or something that appears more spammy.

I know it’s just a greeting, but I’d rather have the person make it through the first few words rather than just hit delete upon receipt.

About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.

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Comments (25)


    Hi Elliott,
    How do you find the name and email of “end users”?

    April 13th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ Spencer

    Good question. I think I may have written about it before, but I think it’s a good topic for its own post. Will write it this afternoon and post tomorrow or Sunday.

    April 13th, 2012 at 3:58 pm


    Whois, domain history and reading the about page of a website is wonderful thing!

    April 13th, 2012 at 3:59 pm


    I’m a ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’ guy myself for first contact. I think ‘Dear’ is so Victorian…it has no place in the 21stC – why call someone you don’t know Dear?

    April 13th, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ James

    In correspondences with some lawyers, I noticed several used the more formal “Dear,” so I started addressing them “Dear Mr. XYZ.”

    April 13th, 2012 at 4:32 pm


    In sales, it’s called ‘mirror selling’, or trying to match your temperment and voice with the person you are speaking with. So maybe you can call this technique ‘mirror emailing’.

    April 13th, 2012 at 4:45 pm


    Elliot, what salutation do you use when you don’t know the site owner/admin’s name?

    Do you go with just a “Hi”, or do you pick something like, “To XYZ Website”?

    April 13th, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Elliot Silver

    Usually “Good afternoon” “Good morning” or “Hi there”

    April 13th, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Steve M

    Matching speech, salutations, etc to others; also known as neuro linguistic programming, or NLP.

    Watch the “Good morning / afternoon / evening” types, though. You’re making the assumption that they’ll read it while in the same time period you sent it in.

    However, they may:

    1. Be in a different time zone than you.

    2. Read your msg at a later time.

    April 13th, 2012 at 7:21 pm


    What do you normally use for a subject line?

    April 13th, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ Mike

    Usually “Domain Name” or the keywords in the domain name I am selling, like “Call Centers” although I haven’t pitched that to end users yet.

    April 13th, 2012 at 7:49 pm


    Curious to know how much of your day you spend selling? Amount of emails and/or phone calls, Do you always email first then follow up with a call, etc.
    Do you find it similar to other sales jobs (high volume of outbounding required for a sale) – You have good names, so curious to know if your getting a good response rate from end users or if it is a high volume numbers game like many sales products.

    April 13th, 2012 at 9:22 pm


    And do you price the names or be the first to throw out a number?

    April 13th, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Elliot Silver

    “Curious to know how much of your day you spend selling? ”

    @ John

    Not much… maybe an hour or so at a time, and I only do it a couple days per week. Did it yesterday (no sale) and some follow-ups today. Last week I did it two days and netted three sales (two to one buyer). Received on check yesterday and expect the second one tomorrow. I hate doing sales, which is why I only buy exceptional domain names that I know someone is going to want to buy. I almost never do phone calls. I hate chatting on the phone. It’s not a numbers game for me. I just checked, and I’ve only sold 39 names this year, with about half that at auction. I sell high value names with decent margins.

    “do you price the names or be the first to throw out a number?”

    @ John

    When selling to end users, I almost never price them. I like to open a negotiation and would rather engage and negotiate.

    When selling to other domain investors, usually on a good generic name I bought for a good price, I will almost always price them in my initial contact. Other domain investors expect to know the price.

    April 13th, 2012 at 9:30 pm


    You’ve got a nice business model going
    The exceptional names must make easier sales and where the liquidity is. Something many can learn from.
    Look forward to your other post this weekend
    Congrats & Continued Success

    April 13th, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ John

    Every purchase is a calculated risk… thanks for the kind words. I enjoy what I do.

    April 13th, 2012 at 10:40 pm


    Hi Elliot

    I have been following your blog for a couple of months now and have certainly learnt a thing or two from the articles you have posted.

    Do you normally get a response on your first email, if not, how follow ups do you do until you move on to the next prospect and what text do you recommend when sending a sales letter to a prospective buyer.

    April 14th, 2012 at 5:50 am

      Elliot Silver

      @ SN

      Thanks for reading!

      The replies all depend on the name quality, and it often depends on the size of the company. Smaller companies tend to reply more frequently and rapidly, but most of my deals are with the medium sized companies. They are still small enough to not have a lot of red tape, but large enough that a 5 figure domain purchase is doable.

      April 14th, 2012 at 7:21 am


    Dear JamesD,

    “why call someone you don’t know Dear?”

    Because you’re after his money 🙂

    April 14th, 2012 at 11:31 am


    Do you ever get not so nice replies?
    I imagine they either do not reply, reply if interested, but curious if you get any of the don’t ever bother me again type

    April 14th, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Arvind Reddy

    It’s a very minor detail, but I believe that by using the same language as the person on the other end, I am making them a bit uncomfortable.

    uncomfortable or comfortable?

    April 15th, 2012 at 6:37 am

    C Vincent

    Have been doing most of our online sales for the past 10 years and have found huge differences in response rate when you can actually address the person by name. It’s above 30% vs no name email prospecting.

    April 16th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      Elliot Silver

      @ CV

      I really couldn’t speculate about the % lift, but it seems pretty significant.

      April 16th, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Rakib M

    Hi Elliot,

    Can you please tell me what should be the subject line I mean perfect subject line when I send email to a prospective buyer so it catch recipient’s attention?


    April 20th, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Elliot Silver

      @ Rakib

      Some suggestions (let’s say the name is Opportunity
      Dog Walker
      Domain Name

      April 20th, 2012 at 3:44 pm

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