When building an online business inevitably you’re going to use email marketing and one of the questions which require real thought is – what style to use?
The reason it requires real thought is that it’s the first personal interaction you have with your customer (potential customer). At which point you may want to correct me and say – ‘’Actually Harminder, the first interaction I have with my customer is via my – advert, landing page, blog or at the local cafe.’’
And you’d be right. However, there’s a slight difference:
- Advert – your customer probably experiences through Google or Facebook.
- Your landing page – that’s your websites.
- Your blog – again your website.
- A cafe – someone’s private establishment.
Whereas an email is personal. You’re speaking to them in THEIR inbox. Which is equivalent to you phoning them up and having a chit chat.
If you’re a student of our BATON framework you’ll know that email marketing typically is used in the Tribe stage. This is where you talk to a subset of your customers who care about you and are genuinely looking forward to hearing from you.
Therefore this interaction is sacred. This is why it’s important to put some thought into your email marketing style.
Email marketing – different styles to use?
Writing an email in the land of marketing is known as copywriting. But in simple terms, it means to write.
(You know us, as online business owners were interested in the meaning and we’ll leave the jargon to marketing managers).
So one of your jobs as an online business owner is to write emails (or hire) and determine what style to use.
There are overarching styles to be aware of:
- Brand orientated
Each one is relevant and depends entirely on how you or your business wants to show up.
This leads us onto looking at more specifically what style you should use when starting out.
What style to use?
When someone interacts with their friends and colleagues their true personality shines. Your colleagues know exactly who that person is and they love them for it. It’s what makes a human connection so amazing.
Interestingly, however, when someone is asked to interact with the outside world and promote their product, service or idea. They don’t show their true self.
They’ll wear a mask. The mask, therefore, hides your true personality. That same personality people love you for.
Another way to understand this to think of your personality as a ray of sunshine (aww how cute) and before you talk to someone about your online business (product, service or idea) you close the curtains on that ray of sunshine.
Your customer ends up talking to you through a curtain.
They can hear you but they can’t get a true sense of who they’re talking to.
The approach I want you to take when writing your emails is to leave the curtains open. Please try to have clothes on before you do that (but that’s your personal preference and what your product or service entails).
The reason I want you to take this approach and select a personal style of writing is that its your superpower.
Personal vs Professional Style
When analysing big companies email marketing one thing always stands out. Their emails are written to be everything to everyone. Often they lack personality, ideas, stories and are written in an official way.
Another word to sum this up is – safe.
They’re playing it safe. And as online business owners, it’s not for us to judge them for this. Because we have to appreciate they email hundreds of thousands of people. And when you email hundreds of thousands of people you’re way more likely to offend.
It’s why companies big TV channels have a complaints line and will act on those complaints by cancelling shows: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-35240275. The more people the more too upset.
Another reason why big companies email market safely is because an employee or agency is writing the emails on behalf of the company.
‘The company’ is normally an executive, senior manager or similar. And you can bet upsetting people with an email will lead to someone getting fired.
So any employee who values their salary would weigh up the risk-reward and always opt to play it safe. Sure they might get called boring but hey, at least they keep their job.
You don’t have to play it safe
The good news is, big businesses show up in the world as corporate and boring. And this won’t be changing anytime soon.
This is good news because you can use this to your advantage.
This doesn’t necessarily mean go wild. (Unless that’s who you are then go for it).
Instead, you can just write like you.
Keep the curtains open and write showing off every bit of sunshine you have.
Write with your – freedom, personality, humour, colloquialism.
Don’t obsess over – grammar, spelling, sentence structure.
Because ultimately your writing for your tribe. Who by the way like you for who you are.
If they don’t they’re more than welcome to complain to your boss.
Oh, wait – that’s you.
Unless you plan on firing yourself, just take it on the chin and keep being you.
I hope this email has given you the permission to write in a style that reflects who you are and your personality.
If you want to give it a title simply call it – personal email marketing style.
Remember the story of David vs Goliath and use big businesses weakness to your advantage.