“One can achieve a very pleasant lifestyle by treating human beings, fellow human beings, very well.” ~Rene Rivkin

email marketingIt may come as a shock to corporate marketing departments everywhere but when marketing to an email list, the real objective is to communicate. Sure, measurable conversions to engagement or even sales are great. But when we lose track of the fundamental fact that on the other end of that email campaign is a person, a human being, then we are going to get poorer and poorer results.

Deliver the Right Message

There are examples we can draw from everywhere. I saw a commercial truck the other day emblazoned with these inspiring words: “Delivering retail snacking solutions”. Wow. What part of that phrase did the copywriter think would be motivating to an actual buyer? I have a snacking problem? Perhaps I need a self-help group rather than your “solution”. The copywriter seems to be operating under the misconception that his customer is a “retailer” in search of “solutions”.

His customer is not a retailer, he is a human being who works for a retailer. His customer’s boss isn’t a retailer either, not even if he’s the company owner. The company itself is the retailer, and it’s an “it”. An “it” isn’t buying, a person is.

How about this instead, “Does your store, office or facility need snacks? We got ’em and see this truck right here? We deliver!” (I noticed a lot of whitespace on that truck, a few more words wouldn’t hurt at all.)

Email marketing is much more personal than what is effectively a space ad on a truck. If you think that speaking in a warm and friendly voice won’t work because your email list is comprised of a bunch of serious people like lawyers or doctors or bureaucrats, you have forgotten that these fine people do not think of themselves as only their workplace stereotypes. They get inundated with stiff, even clinical communication all day long. If you want to be buried in that pile of dry leaves, email them something like everyone else. But if you want to get noticed, appeal to the part of them that others are ignoring: the warmblooded, breathing part.

People Recognize Corporatespeak When They Hear It

Voicemail can even teach us something else we can apply to email marketing. Have you ever called a company, been put straight on hold and heard a syrupy voice say, “Your call is important to us, we appreciate your patience”? I don’t know about you but my general response is, “No it isn’t and I’m not being patient, you gave me no choice!” Of course no one hears this response because I have been put on hold automatically by a machine.

No one is being fooled by such words. Don’t start doing what the “big boys” do in their email campaigns because you think it will make you look like you are a big boy too. People aren’t stupid. They don’t even believe the big boys in spite of their big fancy marketing budgets. Instead, you need to take a different approach.

Get Personal

What if your email read like a personal letter? What if you spoke to them in the first person? What if you talked to them like you were sitting down, face to face? This is a business communication so you aren’t going to have your feet on the table. You aren’t going to talk with food in your mouth. It’s just you will talk like you are actually interested in them.

Let’s take it one step further. Don’t talk like you are actually interested in them, be actually interested in them and then talk. Get your head in the right place before you start preparing that email. Check your intent to be sure that you have your reader’s best interests at heart.

An Email Copywriting Lesson from an Economist?

John Nash is a Nobel prize winning economist whose life was chronicled in the movie “A Beautiful Mind” starring Russell Crowe. The basis for Dr. Nash’s Nobel prize selection (and a lot of the movie) surrounded his astounding discovery that the marketplace does not function most efficiently when each individual does solely what is in his own best interest. Rather, the market is most efficient when each person does what is in the best interests of both himself and the group.

“Don’t talk to people like they are prospects, talk to them like they are fellow human beings.” click to tweet

Here’s how you can apply that Nobel Prize winning wisdom to your email campaign. When you write the copy for an email, have in mind that it is not about you, or at least not entirely. It’s not about you looking good or sounding professional or some other self-serving end. On the other side, it is not all about them either. It has to be good for both of you. What this means is you get to ask them to do something for you (like buy what you are selling) but only after you have made it abundantly clear that doing this thing is even better for them.

It’s Working Right Now

You’ve already been seeing this in action right here in this article. I am speaking to you in my own voice. I have been a little funny (I hope), and I haven’t been all uptight and academic even though I have mentioned economists and Nobel prizes. I have persuaded you that following this advice is good for you. When you agree, you will probably look at my bio and check out my web site. See? I have considered both your interests and mine. So hold in mind the person who will be reading your email when you write the copy for it. If you do, you can persuade them to take the actions that benefit both them and you.

How have you made your emails more personal? Tell us about it by commenting below.

Photo credit: Joe The Goat Farmer

How to Add the Critical Human Touch to Your Email Marketing
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2 thoughts on “How to Add the Critical Human Touch to Your Email Marketing

  • Permalink

    I’ve noticed when I get tired I write those emails you are complaining about. It’s just easier because that style is so familiar. So I guess I need to take a nap before I write emails, haha.

    • Permalink

      Take a nap, hydrate, meditate… do whatever you have to do to get your head in the right place. And that right place is to be real, talking to another person, not just to an amorphous crowd.


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