Where Have All Your Readers Gone? It’s Probably Personal…

August 19, 2019

Have your readers hit the snooze button on your marketing messages? You are not just sending your emails for your own health, you’re hoping to build top of mind awareness, get more referrals and generate new business. In order to increase engagement in your messaging, it’s time to get personal. 

Click through for three solid strategies to help you connect with readers.

1. GET PERSONAL

It might seem counter-intuitive for a business message to be personal. However, your business marketing emails are going out to individuals. It makes sense to talk to them like they’re people you know; people you’re looking to help with your services. 

Here are a couple strategies you can consider implementing to create a more human connection in the inbox.

Send your messages from a person, using an actual person’s name instead of a business name.

Your business is run by people who are providing a valuable service to other people, so it makes sense to communicate this concept through your marketing. Consider identifying a “face” for your business, such as a managing partner, business owner or CEO who can appear as the sender of your message. This approach can help make your message more accessible and human.

Your message doesn’t need to actually come from the individual in question. Use a separate email distribution to give the appearance of the personal touch. For example, if your business emails typically use the convention of first initial and last name for employee inbox assignments, then your marketing inbox could use a full first name and last name instead (janesmith@ourbusiness.net instead of jsmith@ourbusiness.net). This way, your marketing responses are filtered through a member of your team who can appropriately manage responses from your messaging without burdening the top levels of your organization.

Use your reader’s name, but not too much.

It’s a great idea to use your readers’ first names in a subject line or greeting so they know you’re looking to connect with them as individuals. If you use first names to connect, don’t overdo it. Excessive placement of a first name field in your messaging can break the personal connection you’re hoping to establish.

Here are some other pitfalls to consider prior to adding a first name field to your emails:

  • Do I have everyone’s first name on my list?

    • Avoid leaving first name fields blank.
  • Are some names in all caps or all lowercase?

    • Keep first name formatting consistent and appropriately use mid-name capitalization or special characters (in names like D’Anne) where applicable.
  • Is there a title, such as Junior or Doctor, in some first name fields instead of an actual first name?

    • Make sure bulk list uploads were formatted properly to place titles in the appropriate fields.
  • Is the name in the first name field a formal legal name, or is it the common name the person goes by in everyday life?

    • If you’re trying to reach Rick, and instead you’re saying Richard, you might be making your message more formal instead of more personal. Be sure you’ve identified the common name your reader enjoys hearing in everyday life as the name you’re using in your email marketing.

There is nothing more impersonal than getting someone’s name wrong. It is very important to make sure your first name fields actually represent what your recipient prefers to be called before you attempt to reach them on a personal level. If your contact list is not up to snuff, take some time to clean up your database before you implement this strategy.

 2. BE TRUSTWORTHY

Marketing inherently has a sales component, but as a professional service provider, you have an opportunity to build your readers’ trust through your email messaging instead of just selling your services.

Here are some ways your email marketing can communicate trust:

Tell them you’re on their side.

Your content should communicate that your readers are not alone. Let them know you understand the issues they are facing, and remind them how you can help. Provide content of value that demonstrates your expertise, and set clear expectations on how readers’ needs will be met.

Tell them how to reach you.

Have clear, actionable ways for readers to connect with you. Links to your website, email addresses, phone numbers and other contact information should be accurate and functional. Test all the links in your message to make sure they are not generating errors.

Connect with your reader in a timely fashion.

Also be sure to quickly get back to readers who connect with you through your messaging so they can see the genuine human efforts behind your marketing emails.

3. RESPECT YOUR READER’S TIME

Most people quickly scan material they read in email or online. In order to engage your readers, it may help to keep articles between 300 to 500 words in length. Condensed snippets of information are easier to digest. Plus, this approach helps you spread long-form articles out through a series of articles, maximizing your content marketing efforts.

Visual content also helps boost the appeal of your email articles. Engaging images, infographics, formatting styles, graphs, charts and other visuals can add a pleasing aesthetic to your articles that help quickly and easily carry a reader through an article.

Here’s a list of visual clues your readers’ eyes can follow to hold their interest and carry them through an article:

  • Formatting styles and changing typography
  • Linked text driving readers to learn more about key points
  • Quotation call-outs
  • Bullet points
  • Images that have a direct relationship with an article or point in an article
  • Infographics
  • Charts and graphs
  • Tables with comparative information
  • Summary sections

Put your best face forward. Keep all typography and imagery in line with your brand voice. It’s a good idea to create a style guide for your email marketing so you can maintain a consistent aesthetic.

BE POSITIONED AS YOUR READER’S TRUSTED RESOURCE

If you leverage your email marketing as the voice of a friend and source of trusted information, your readers are far more likely to engage in your messaging, click through on your resources and come to your business to solve their problems.

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