The term personalization has been skewed in email marketing.
Where personalization once referred to, “To design or tailor to meet an individual’s specifications, needs, or preferences,” now personalization is defined as, “Slap their first name in the subject line so they think it’s for them.”
Let’s not do that. Haven’t we progressed beyond that?
The modern marketer needs to remember that even though a product might be very business-oriented, it’s still being sold to human beings, not computers.
It’s unfair to the humans you are trying to sell to when you treat them as if they were a number plugged into an algorithm.
Learn how to tone down the mechanical, logo-plastered brand tone. Your recipients will thank you.
Simple, Rich Text Emails
Please don’t sell these types of emails short.
Rich text emails are quick and easy to create. They feel more genuine to a consumer.
HTML5 is great for creating beautiful, responsive emails, but increasingly, plain text emails have been receiving growing open rates.
Neil Patel and many other thought leaders in the space use these in their direct email correspondences. They’re pleasing, just the well-written copy and the plain, white background.
His email demands nothing else of the user. Patel uses only simple formatting, utilizing the attention-grabbing bold text. He uses hyperlinks as his only CTAs.
This is especially effective in B2B, where one-on-one interactions and in-person events dominate the actual process of buying and selling.
Feel free to add a tracking pixel and whatever design touches you’d like, but keep in mind that simple is often better.
Modern consumers aren’t interested in the direct mail style that dominates so much of marketing and advertising. They want real, human conversations, not a faceless brand.
Keep that in mind when designing emails.
Speak in 1st or 2nd Person
When you write copy, don’t shout in the third person.
You are writing to your audience, so write directly to them.
Say “you” and “your.” Don’t be shy. These are your prospective customers and you should address them directly.
Even better, if your email comes from a person directly, like your sales rep or customer service person, make sure that you use pronouns like I, me, and mine.
Communicate with your audience on a human level. Don’t blast them with direct, overly salesy speak. Show them that their email, while sent via automation, was written by a person.
Don’t Overuse the Actual Name
Sarah, this deal is for you. Hi Sarah, I hope you’re doing well. We have a great deal for you, Sarah.
Be mindful of how many times it is comfortable to read one’s name in an email – or anywhere. Hearing your name too many times can make you feel that something is off.
Read emails out loud to determine whether or not you used someone’s name too many times. Even more than a couple times between the subject line and the bottom of the email might make the reader uneasy.
You don’t want to create that kind of friction when someone views your email.
Use Direct Language
In journalism school, newspaper writers are taught to speak to the lowest common denominator. For the general, news-reading population, this is about a sixth or eighth-grade reading level.
This is not always true of the person reading your emails. You must figure out the lowest common denominator in your target audience. This means knowing on average, what degrees your target audience has and what level they read content at in their daily lives.
But even armed with that knowledge, keep it simple. It’s easy to weigh down an email with overly wordy, jargon-laden copy.
Nobody wants to read that, not even college professors. Keep emails frictionless and clean by keeping the language simple. Write to your audience at the level they connect with best.
Personalization should feel personal. From the outside, it shouldn’t look like an email is a cog in your business’s marketing automation machine.
It should feel like an email from a colleague, which is how many still communicate in the business world. It shouldn’t be alarming to open and should be clear and easy to read.
B2B businesses can only thrive if they fully utilize the human touch. That’s often the only thing that separates one business from another in this space. Try some of these tactics, which feel less like the booming voice of a brand and more like a conversation from one human to another.
What do you do to give your emails a truly personal touch? How has it changed your B2B emails? Let us know in the comments section.