How to Find the Right Email Tone of Voice for Your Brand
Does the tone of your emails really matter? It sure does, thinks our guest Richard Conn, Senior Director for Demand Generation at 8×8. Below, he shares his insights on the topic – and shows you how to find and adopt the right email tone of voice.
A strong and recognizable brand is a golden egg for businesses of any size. While many companies focus on conveying branding on their website and social media channels, you may be leaving email tone of voice out of your branding tactics.
Email tone of voice is essential for your brand. It’s one of the longer form pieces of messaging you have to connect with customers. Also, it gives you instant access to any customer signed up to your mailing list.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- what email tone of voice is
- what different email tones of voice are out there
- the benefits of adopting a branded email tone
- and how you can adopt the right email tone for your business.
What is email tone of voice?
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Email tone of voice is all about the messaging, register, style and attitude of the language in your emails. Tone of voice is made up of the words you use, the ideas you convey, and the feelings and emotions your words elicit.
Everything from your opening “hello customer” to your closing email sign off can convey specific ideas and feelings about your company’s brand.
Let’s start with something simple.
One company begins their email to you with, “Dear customer,” while another begins their email with “Hey (your first name)”. From these openings alone, what do you feel about these two companies? How do they differ?
Company one adopts a formal, impersonal style, which might make them appear professional and serious, while company two takes on a relaxed, personalized approach, making them seem fun and engaged. Both approaches have their merits, but both also show us how quickly the tone of an email can alter your perception of that company’s brand.
Your company’s email tone will partly come down to your industry and target customer. A B2B company selling enterprise PBX, for example, will have a very different email tone than an ecommerce retailer selling baby clothes.
The nature of the email may alter the tone, too. For instance, a marketing email may be more informal than an order confirmation email.
That said, the overall tone of all emails should be consistent so for whatever reason you appear in a customer’s inbox, you always retain your brand’s unique email tone.
What types of email tone of voice are there?
This branding map from Map & Fire offers a range of “voices” that brands might adopt and the feelings or concepts each should convey, such as an Explorer conveying Freedom and Independence, which is suited to, for example, a company selling outdoors gear.
Consider what sort of voice you want your company brand to have and the following examples of email tone might help you pinpoint which one to adopt for your company:
Professional and secure
Emails use formal language, address customers as Mr. X or Mrs. D and so on, and may also use certain and reassuring language. These are well-suited to banking, finance and data protection companies.
Inspiring and positive
Emails include lots of personalization and calls-to-action with a positive and friendly tone of voice. Often used by fitness brands and clothing retailers.
Excited and caring
Emails come across joyful about the future and use an email tone similar to words exchanged between friends. It includes lots of imperatives and direct use of “you.” Popular with travel, wellness and beauty brands.
Quirky and humorous
Incorporates jokes and memes into email content and opts for a bold but relatable email tone of voice. Popular with food and drink brands and tech companies.
Whatever email tone you decide to adopt, make sure it’s mirrored across your entire brand including social media posts and website pillar pages. This is essential if you want to make email tone part of your branding so that customers connect the tone and style with your business at every point of interaction.
Three benefits of adopting an email tone for your brand
Email delivers a high ROI of, on average, $36 for every $1 spent, so it deserves as much attention as other marketing channels.
Strengthen your USPs
Your unique selling points (USPs) are what set you apart from other brands in your industry. You can use email tone of voice to strengthen them. For example, a brand aimed at younger customers offering cheaper, contract-free software may adopt a more informal and humorous tone.
Checking that your USPs align with your email tone of voice should form part of when you track and measure brand health.
Does your email tone reflect your mission, values, and USPs? If not, you aren’t using email tone to convey your brand.
Make it personal
With 64% of customers wanting brands to connect with them on a personal level, it’s increasingly important that businesses foster relationships with their customers through a variety of channels, including email.
Even brands with a formal tone of voice can benefit from adding a personal touch to emails. Perhaps you’re sharing behind-the-scenes stories about your staff. Or maybe you talk about instances where you’ve gone above and beyond for a customer. Incorporating your personality and the people behind the email into your email newsletters can create a more distinctive and welcoming email tone.
Unify your corporate culture
Cementing your email tone of voice can have a wider resonance across your company as you can incorporate a branded tone of voice into internal emails, too. This can help you strengthen and unify your corporate culture, especially if employees in all departments are coached on your email tone.
Your brand tone doesn’t just have to apply to marketing emails. If you have a cloud-based contact center solution, for example, you can coach your staff to incorporate the brand tone into:
- customer service emails
- social media
- chatbot messaging
- phone calls.
How to adopt the right email tone for your brand
#1. Start by surveying
If you’re uncertain of what email tone you should adopt for your brand, it’s time to pinpoint exactly what your brand voice is. Is your business already up and running but you still have uncertainties about your brand voice? Survey staff and customers to find out how you currently come across.
If the answers range from formal and professional to laid back and fun, you need to work to unify your brand voice right away. But once you have a vision in mind, you can start to apply this to your company’s email tone.
#2. Identify your target customer
Figuring out your target customer is an essential part of starting any business. Even if you’re years down the road, it’s always worth refreshing and adjusting your target customer as your business grows and develops.
By identifying your target customer and creating an ideal customer profile, you can also pinpoint what email tone of voice will be most effective on them.
For example, millennial customers may prefer a more informal, quirky email tone. On the other hand, older customers look for security and professionalism from brands. Those customers may prefer a formal, reassuring style.
#3. Be consistent across all channels
Whether it’s the automatic greeting on your company’s multiple line telephone or your weekly marketing emails, all interactions, especially those with customers, should have a unified tone of voice.
There may be slight changes on different channels. Social media may have a more informal tone than emails. However, to solidify your branding, the core attitude of your email tone should be present in all communications from your company.
#4. Train your staff
Even if you’re running a small business where only you and your marketing manager write customer emails, train all of your staff on email tone and brand voice.
So that you can achieve the consistency and unified corporate culture we highlighted above. This tone of voice will apply to all communications, from emails to social media and pitch deck slides.
Training your staff to adopt your brand’s email tone should be a part of your company’s larger coaching to ensure staff are fully aware of the brand’s voice.
They must be able to apply it easily whenever dealing with customers or shareholders. Consider ways you can also incorporate your email tone into internal work flows and make use of customizable workflow platforms like this workflow platform from Process Bliss.
#5. Use multimedia
Your email tone and branding can incorporate more than words. Be sure to use a branded color scheme, perhaps one that matches your cartoon logo, and images that reflect your message and branding.
You can also use ovideo content in your emails — a growing trend in marketing. This is a great way to show off your corporate culture and announce events or new products. If you decide to use videos in your email marketing, make sure that the tone and style of your video messaging matches your email tone.
(Re)work your brand voice
Email tone of voice tells customers who you are and what your brand is in a direct way. Updating your email tone to improve your brand can have long term positive effects on your business. As this guide has shown, email tone needs to be consistent and uniform with your overall brand voice.
Rather than focus solely on email tone of voice, use this exercise to assess and, if necessary, rework your brand voice. Ensure that everything – from your order confirmation emails to your social media posts – has the same unique tone of voice.
You’ve got it right when the tone instantly reminds the customers of your brand.
Author: Richard Conn is the Senior Director for Demand Generation at 8×8, a leading small office phone system with integrated contact center, voice, video and chat functionality. Richard is an analytical and results-driven digital marketing leader who has achieved major ROI improvements in competitive B2B environments. He’s also written for other domains such as Kustomer and involve.me. Check out his LinkedIn.