It’s easy to think about the audience of an email newsletter when you send it to one person. You start off with “Dear Charles,” or “Hi, Charlotte,” and start imagining the recipient and what he or she would be receptive to.
When we send out an email newsletter, it’s presumably delivered to a swarm of people. It becomes easy to forget that there are real people on the other end, and what they are most receptive to is genuine, human connection.
Imagine your typical or ideal reader
A great exercise is to create a character based on who you imagine as your typical customer or reader. If you’re just starting out, it can be who you imagine your ideal reader to be. I’m not talking about just your typical demographics like income and where they live.
Take pen and paper and really sketch a detailed outline of who this person is. Do they tend to eat at white tablecloth restaurants or grab food from a fast food joint? Do they listen to Bruce Springsteen or Beethoven? Maybe both. How do they spend their weekend? The answers to these questions will be based on what you have observed in your clients or what type of person would be interested in your product or services.
While you’re conjuring up this imaginary person, give them a name. In your mind this person should be real. No matter how trivial a detail is, write it down. If you have a shop and you observe tons of people who shop there wearing gym clothes, write it down. If you haven’t opened your shop and your merchandise is Western wear, write down what color cowboy boots this character wears.
You can constantly imagine this prototypical person as the reader of your email newsletters. Although you are sending your promotional emails and newsletters to all the subscribers, you’re very likely to come across as more personable and real because you are trying to connect with this character, who you should strive to be as real as possible in your mind.
Write how you talk
Your writing should be reflective of how people actually speak in day to day life. You’d be surprised how many people think that because you’re sending a business email that the most formal and stodgy tone should be adopted. Don’t be so dull and sterile.
Of course, who your audience is matters a lot. Remember the composite, imaginary reader you dreamed of? How would they like to be addressed? Maybe saying “hi” as opposed to “greetings” is more approachable and likely to keep the human element?
A lot of writers think that showing off your advanced vocabulary somehow makes you look smarter or more competent. That thought may cross one or two people’s mind, but to most people you just come across like a blowhard. Write how a person would talk and you’ll be more real in the minds of your readers.
OK, you’re more real, are your subscribers?
You can’t forget this crucial part of your email marketing campaign: are you reaching real email addresses? Those new to the game may not know about this facet of sending professional emails. As your list grows, you’ll find that some of the email addresses will become invalid.
People change email service providers or use a workplace/school email address and then change jobs or graduate, etc. Usually they don’t unsubscribe first. This will lead to bounces.
Bounces negatively affect your sender reputation. The sender reputation is a scoring system that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use to determine whether or not to deliver your email to the inbox or if it belongs in the spam folder.
In fact, there are a variety of email addresses (real and fake) that can bring the sender reputation score down, they include abuse emails, catch-all, role-based, temporary addresses, and spam traps. All of them are highly problematic and can spell disaster for your email list’s health.
The solution here is to use email validation regularly. It’s pretty simple: you upload your list and it will quickly identify those worrisome addresses. They should be removed ruthlessly. Any advantage they may have is far outweighed by the damage they cause.
The other side of email validation is keeping the bad and fake addresses off in the first place. A reputable email validation service should have an API available. This plugin can be set up in conjunction with any email signup forms like the ones on your website. It verifies the email addresses in real time to keep the invalid ones off of your list in the first place.
Try to build a relationship with readers
If there was one surefire way to be more real with your email newsletter subscribers, it’s to try and build a relationship with them. If you can inject your personality into the emails, all the better. Remember how the suggestion was made to try to imagine them? If you start to do that with them and are as authentic as possible, they’ll start to imagine you!
Write how you talk, make sure your email list is valid and accurate and send your emails out at regular intervals. Stay disciplined here, because that’s how you build a relationship – familiarity. It won’t be long that you’ll be so real to the readers that they’ll swear they’ve known you forever!