Sometimes we get so caught up in the procedural logistics of email marketing that we forget we're communicating with real people. We think in terms of lists, databases, target audiences, and segments.

With email, as with conventional channels, it's important to remember that there are real people on the other end of our messages. When we press the send button, we're not just delivering messages to in-boxes, we're communicating with individuals.

The continued use of the word "blast" to describe email campaigns (as in "We just sent our fifth [cringe] email blast of the month") underscores this point.

Although most reputable email marketers don't intend to literally bombard their customers or prospects with messages, using that term to describe email marketing puts us in a broadcast vs. conversation mind-set.

The goal of any good direct-response effort should be a dialogue, not simply a one-way transmission. The second word, "response," implies we want to hear back from our valued tribe, remember? After all, that's what distinguishes direct marketing from mass marketing.

Here are three tips to help you personalize and "conversationalize" your email and, in so doing, remind yourself (or retrain your brain, if necessary) that there's a living, breathing person receiving those digital marketing messages you send.

1. Speak in human rather than promotional terms

Yes, you can be more personal and conversational in your commercial email messages than in mass advertising. Speak in terms of "you" and "us. Humanize your copy instead of keeping it general and impersonal. Talk to people, not at them.

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image of Karen Talavera

Karen Talavera is the founder of Synchronicity Marketing, a company specializing in digital marketing training, coaching, and education.