Long before Siri and Alexa were on the scene as chatbots trying to act human, marketers were busy being humans trying to act like robots.
Marketers had discovered that email could automate communication, and email marketing has only continued to get smarter. The problem is that as we’ve taken advantage of this amazing tool, we marketers have conversely forgotten how to be human.
You can find details on best practices and what to do in email marketing a lot of ways—like clicking here to listen this podcast. And while you absolutely need to know how to set goals, perform A/B tests, clean up and segment your lists, and more, you also need to make sure you’re using email to communicate with customers in a human way. If you respect their challenges, concerns, preferences, and time, you can make sure your messages are more relevant and meaningful to them.
Be Real in Your Emails
The key to effective email marketing doesn’t rest in clever writing or perfectly timed blasts. It’s in clearly and effectively communicating how you can help those who want or need your product, services, wisdom, information—whatever you’re offering in the email. Here’s how you can improve that communication.
1. Be human.
Write like a person, not a robot. Consider the kinds of emails you receive and respond to. Think about your everyday interactions and the way you communicate with your coworkers and other professionals. These messages and conversations are probably friendly but professional.
2. Remember that your contacts are human.
Personalized emails can be friendly, but make sure the use of personalization tokens and dynamic content serves a purpose. It’s possible to come off as creepy. It’s also important you don’t waste your recipients' time. That means keeping emails to the point and not over-sending.
3. Listen to your customers.
Emails won't be effective or helpful if you're not aware of your customers’ actual interests and pain points. Stay attuned to the viewpoints they express on social media, to customer service representatives, or any other way.
4. Listen to employees within your organization.
Talk to sales and customer service reps to improve understanding of your customers. You’ll get a lot of useful content ideas.
5. Give them a choice.
Make sure contacts had the opportunity to opt-in—or double opt-in. You don’t want to be a spammer and you want to email an engaged list. Email recipients who don’t even remember when or why they signed up may be more annoyed than interested when they see your message in their inbox.
6. Be transparent.
Make sure your email recipients know what you’ll do with their information. Be clear about what they’re agreeing to as well as what you’re offering them. Be as specific as possible, from email frequency to types of content or promotional offers.
7. Don’t make it all about you.
Like any relationship, it shouldn’t be one-sided. Don’t just talk about how great you are. Rather, give email recipients something of value. Whether it’s discounts, insider information, white papers, or something else, remember that your contacts have, after all, provided you with their email address. That act demonstrates a lot of trust considering that they are likely bombarded with ads, offers, and spam.
Get the Best of Both Worlds
There's so much you can do with email marketing now. However, it’s important that you rely as heavily on your human intelligence as you do on artificial intelligence. Successful marketers will know how to strike a balance between automating and humanizing their email efforts. Shed your robo-style marketing and leave the inaccurate and insensitive communication to Siri and Alexa.