I often hear marketers say they want to use more personalization in their marketing. Using profile data to make emails more tailored and user specific. And many are doing it. In fact, a recent report from the Data-Driven Marketing Association (DDMA) found that 63% of organizations say that personalized customer communication has already proven its value to them.
But personalization is by no means a guarantee that your emails will feel more personal.
Note the word “feel”. Because a personal email isn’t about the amount of data used to personalize, it’s about the personal feeling the email is about. So how to make it feel personal?
A preferred way is to use content and language to create that personal connection. Check out seven ways to make your email harder without using real personalization or data.
1. For better emails, use the right templates
Your word choice reflects what is important to you. Brands who write from their own perspective use “I,” “myself” and “me” excessively and talk about themselves — a lot. Their brand, their profits, their goals, their interests, their news, etc.
Everlytic & BreadCrumbs’ research “Top Language Tips for Better Emails” offers some great insights. They analyzed 23,000 words and more than 50 emails from the financial industry. Now finance is known for using complex and impersonal texts, but research has discovered two very interesting things.
One is the use of paradigms. Language reflects what we think is important. As you can imagine these themes are frequently found in financial industry email marketing. The themes are motivation, desire, trust and support. By setting the ideologies to match the reader, you’re setting yourself up for a valuable experience.
Change your own goals for readers’ pain (and how you solve it). From a writer’s point of view, getting started is easy. But instead, just skip all that. Your message should end with a benefit to your readers. So it’s not what the writer wants, it’s what the reader gets. This makes it easy to focus on WIIFM: what’s in it for me. Don’t say, “I hope you enjoy …” just skip the whole, “I hope you do.” It’s more powerful to motivate those benefits (why should they care?) by focusing on the problem, the pain, first.
Related Article: 5 Ways Transparent Personalization Can Win Customers
2. Get closer through connection-oriented language in email
What I find even more interesting is Everlytic’s conclusion from the same study:
“Brands that use connection-based language create a better reader experience that results in increased engagement levels. And the trend among the top mailers is that they all use connection-based language.”
The four most used conjunction words in the study are “your,” “you,” “we,” and “our.”
Subjective, objective, possessive and reflective. Here is a table showing the different options for addressing people.
When using words like “your,” “you,” “we,” and “our,” it helps build a stronger relationship with the person on the other side.
An example to show the difference:
This is an interesting example of a welcome email that we can learn from — it’s a great illustration of what goes into a connection-oriented language.
The email seems to have great copy for quick and casual readers. It engages the audience in a personal way, and shows personality, so that’s already great. But depending on how you read it, it can feel very self-centered (and trying a little too hard). Why now?
The text is self-centered, because the author uses “I,” “I,” “my” frequently: 12 times. Almost every sentence begins with an action or feeling of the writer.
3. Email the We-We test
Spotting a selfish text message is pretty easy, once you know how. Use the We-We Test: Count how many times you use “I, me, our, our, our product, company name, etc.” vs. “you, your, our, etc.”, then see how you can reduce references to yourself in favor of connection-based language.
A few small changes and an email can feel less about you and more about the reader feeling appreciated and engaged. So when we add more connection-oriented languages, focus on connections, readers, and relationships. So yes, the example is a personal letter, and there are qualifications. But as a rule — unlike 100% conversion focused emails it has to have value for the reader.
4. Make the reader part of a group in your email
What if we were able to make the reader feel like an inner group, a part of a community? Not only will it focus on relationships, it will redefine what “us,” “our” and “we” mean in your writing. For example: “We’re both marketers, we know that…” or words like, “Let’s go,” meaning, “Let’s both come.” In this case the meaning goes to connection, community, relationship.
Related article: Personalization and segmentation: How they differ and why it matters
5. Simply speak in a conversational tone
Hmmm … when you want to make your emails more personal, a conversational tone works like magic Now how does the “convo” go? The easiest way is to write as if you are speaking and as if you are speaking specifically to a person.
Take it very literally. So we’re not writing, we’re talking. And not for a group, but for someone specific.
For example, my man John. This can be a real person you know, or a persona if you have them Start talking to John, move your lips. Now we are starting to get there.
What happened? Words, puns, exaggerations, emotions, abbreviations, contractions, emphasis and lyrical devices start popping up. Hallelujah, amazing! This is the million dollar tip. Conversational writing comes in handy the way More natural and personal.
Many people vocalize while reading your text. That means when they read, they will hear. A voice in their mind. Very strange, I know. But you might be doing the same thing by reading this article.
Bonus tip: Use “my” in your call-to-action. It might seem a little weird at first, but check it out. Use the possessive singular in calls to action and buttons. So use “my”. That shift in perspective makes sense to the reader, even if it doesn’t seem like much at first.
Don’t say: “Claim a seat.”
Better: “Claim your seat.”
Better: “Claim my seat.”
Conclusion on being personal with your emails
A personal email is all about email creation to feel Personal — 53% of email marketers use no segmentation or personalization in their email campaigns. But with language to create that personal connection, you can make your emails more relatable and hit harder Choose the right ideological patterns, use connection based language, make them part of groups and always keep the text conversational.
Learn how you can join our community of contributors.