3 tips for adding more personality to your email marketing

Want to increase engagement and readership of your email marketing?

The answer for doing this is simple, but not necessarily easy: Give your email marketing some kind of personality.

Look in your inbox right now. Find some email marketing – not personal messages, just the marketing pieces. Now browse through them. Did any of them strike you as noteworthy at all? Did any offer any level of personality, or were they all mindlessly generated corporate pieces?

Here are 3 tips for adding personality to your email marketing.

1. Try including your own photography. Put down the corporate image library CD of the generic affluent white professional male in grey suit shaking hands and pick up your own camera (you know exactly which photo I’m talking about). Even a camera built into a smartphone can generate reasonably good results with good lighting. Take photos of people you actually work with and places you actually work at, and use that to infuse some personality into your email.

Adding personality through your own photography.

Example: If you look at the WhatCounts weekly newsletter, you won’t find a stitch of commercial clip art or stock photography anywhere. We photograph all our own events and then use those photos of our actual employees in our newsletter.

2. Try including an actual welcome message from a real person. Whose voice is your newsletter being written in? Is it a soulless third person voice, or is it an actual human being that works at your company? Research done by Brian Wansink of Cornell University revealed that in day to day transactions, consumers are likely to buy up to 27% more from marketing materials infused with personality. “Grandma Edna’s Mac and Cheese” sells better than “Grandma’s Mac and Cheese”, which in turn sells better than “Great Mac and Cheese”.

Example: We do this with our weekly newsletter. I write and edit it, so I stick my name on it. You know who to blame if I get it wrong.

Unique elements of the GameChanger weekly newsletter

We also encourage employees to write posts for our blog, and when they do, we feature who they are prominently. For clients working with that employee, it’s a great confidence booster and relationship builder for both parties to see their name in print publicly.

3. Try including uniquely authentic items of your own creation. What can you offer that no one else can? Veteran online artist Hugh MacLeod has made a cottage industry of his business card sketches. Comedy site The Oatmeal offers timely and hilarious original art to its audience. Economist John Mauldin provides original research and analysis in his newsletter. What do you have to offer?

Add personality with hand-drawn images.

Example: This week, we’re trying out some hand-drawn art in our weekly newsletter, the GameChanger. We also got some very positive feedback from a recent issue giving guidance to email marketers about the third quarter of 2012 and how they should be planning their email marketing campaigns based on macroeconomic indicators.

There are limitless ways to infuse more of your individual and organizational personality in your email marketing so that you don’t end up with soulless corporate email…

This email would automatically go into the spam or trash folder.

… that is nearly guaranteed to end up in the trash or in the spam folder.

Christopher S. Penn
Director of Inbound Marketing, WhatCounts

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