How To Loosen Up the Tone of Marketing Emails

My inbox is a battlefield.  It’s where the chosen few companies/brands that I allow into my consciousness battle it out for my attention, my clicks, my time, and my credit card.

I scan the list of unread messages in waves: First, I pick off the obvious junk messages.  Then, I scan the “From” fields and subject lines to make sure I at least recognize who these messages are from and that they’re “legitimate.”  If anything looks questionable, it’s deleted in a few seconds.  Sound brutal?  It is, but that’s the reality in many consumers’ minds, and we consumers get more savvy and suspicious each day!  I do not envy the jobs of email marketers, and those who are successful deserve high salaries and our respect.

This post won’t cover the importance of optimizing your “From” fields and your subject lines in order to maximize open rates.  That should be obvious, and it’s been covered plenty over the years.  Let’s instead assume that you’ve made it into a prospect’s inbox, you’ve passed their suspicious screening process, and you’ve enticed them to open your message.

Now, besides meeting the expectations that the subject line set, what else can you do to optimize the content of your emails? A few tactics are: having good “images blocked” layout, strongly worded calls to action, and clear incentives.

Another often overlooked optimization you can work on is your copy, particularly the “tone” or “voice” aspect. As I regularly read marketing emails, I’m amazed how boring they all sound.  Who is writing these?  Who are they writing to?  They read like the copy was written by a committee of marketers, not a person who’s excited and passionate about what they sell.  If you write your emails to “everyone,” you will resonate with no one.

I did receive a decently-written marketing email before the Holidays, and the tone was so audience-appropriate that I saved it.  Let’s go through the various elements and see what lessons there are, from beginning to end:

  1. The Salutation:The email was addressed to the “[Brand] Fam,” and while it would be worth doing some testing, I think it worked for a couple reasons.  The decision not to use my name actually worked because I’m savvy enough to know that type of weak first-name “personalization” isn’t genuine.  The shortening of “Family” to “Fam” works because the company sells hip, urban clothing and accessories, so it begins to set an appropriately informal tone.
  2. 1st paragraph:The first paragraph covers the “why you’re receiving this communication” requirement:

I wanted to hit you up because I see that you haven’t shopped at [website] in a while.  I know the economy has been messed up and that may be one of the reasons you haven’t shopped recently.

This is a reasonable explanation for the communication, delivered in a genuinely “street” tone.  While the real truth may be that they segmented their database and I ended up in the “hasn’t bought in the last 90 days” batch, I don’t think about it when I read a good copy.  And, whether this tone is carefully crafted by an expert copywriter, or an honest missive from the young CEO, it doesn’t really matter, because the tone of the copy has gotten me to lower my guard and engage in the marketing conversation.

  1. Offer:While somewhat predictable, the next paragraph of the email offered me a 20% off coupon code.  While offers should be carefully optimized, I like that the offer came early in the copy to clear out those who can be easily persuaded to purchase using an incentive.  Assuming I’m not in a buying mood just yet, let’s read on…
  2. Body copy: The rest of the copy hits a couple points:

But if there are any other reasons I want to know!  We pride ourselves on our connection to our customers and if you had any problems, issues, or aren’t seeing what you like just hit me up on my email and cell # is below.  Actually, hit for any reason if you have ideas or just want to chop it up.

We have literally thousands of berserk new styles that have dropped on the site in the last week for both men and women…it is never too early to do a little holiday shopping or buy yourself something nice…you deserve it!!!!

The first paragraph is great for Humanistic shoppers, and establishes personality through use of the first person as well as credibility.  And the tone continues to be informal and hip, yet consistent.  The next paragraph entices the Spontaneous profile with the ‘new styles in the last week’ hook, and goes on to mention both gift shopping as well as shopping-for-self.  Basically, telling me it’s OK to shop for myself even though the Holidays were coming up…smart!

  1. Secondary call to action: Those who didn’t click on the coupon code primary call to action still needed a nudge towards the site, so the email goes on to provide secondary calls to action for those who kept reading below the fold (or beyond the preview pane).  The links pointed to “new arrivals” landing pages for men and women.
  2. Closing:The email ends with the name of the founder of the website/brand, a cell phone number, a personal Twitter address, and a personal Facebook address.  My critique here is that the “sender” should have clearly identified himself at the beginning of the email, which may have added credibility and gotten more people to stay engaged and read the good copy.  But, it’s still impressive that the founder has signed this email and included some pretty “personal” contact information.

So despite some grammatical issues (which only add to the personal tone of the email in this case), it’s a pretty persuasive email from a lot of different angles.  And, even if I don’t convert based on this marketing touch point, the company built its brand equity for later with personal communication, style, and voice.

About the author: Daniel T Anderson, a writer at the essay help service. He keeps up with advancing technologies so as to get acquainted with latest technological tendencies. Besides, Daniel is keen on reading modern literature and traveling.