Personal emails perform well. So here's my question: if personal emails perform well, why don't more people do them?
There are two key aspects to personal emails.
1. The FROM address.
That's right - who is your email from? In the inbox of your recipient, what does it say in the "from" line? Is it ai person's name? Your name? The name of your business or school?
I remember when I first started doing email marketing. I thought I should contribute to the greater good, signal that my company had a big team of people ready to engage and all that, so I sent my email from "Salesl Team" at my (then) company name. The return from address was firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boy, was I wrong. Clickthroughs were okay, but not great, and there was no engagement (no replies, no conversations). Then one day I sent an email out that was from me. My name was in the from box, and my email address was the return address.
BOOM! More clickthroughs, more engagement, more conversations - and the sales team ended up with more opportunities.
Fast forward about seven years. Now I'm with Genoo, doing a webinar on email deliverability, and what does our guest speaker say? You got it - people are more likely to pay attention to emails from people, not from organizations.
BOOM! Validated! By an expert in deliverability!
When I see emails from "Marketing Minutes," I know it's a promotional email of some sort - a newsletter or what have you. Sometimes I don't even look at them. But when I see an email from Sue Wilson, I'm more likely to read the email.
What about you?
Bonus: It's better to have a personal identity attached to your marketing emails than to simply be from the organization, so if your organization has rules about this, I recommend you challenge that rule. Adding this personal touch can increase the results from your emails. Just make sure that the "from" email is a real person with a real, monitored email address, because people will reply - and you'll want to answer.
2. The Content
Let's begin by looking at the beginning and the end of your emails, then we'll circle back to the middle.
Making an email personal starts with how you start, and you start with the standard email greeting. Do you typically include a greeting line in your emails? Something as simple as "Hi there" goes a long way toward creating a personal email.
Every email doesn't lend itself to a personal greeting line, and I get that. Broadcast emails that are more "presentational" and have the goal of getting the people on your list to declare their interests by clicking - maybe those don't flow with a "Hi there" at the top. But, once you know that a person is interested in a particular topic, you'll get more specific with the next email, and that's where you have the opportunity to be personal, starting with the greeting.
Go ahead and sign those emails! Since your emails are from a person, close your emails like you would close a letter. For some, that's the whole official signature block, and that's okay. Personally, I'm a fan of a brief closing, and I typically include a picture of my signed first name right under my signoff statement. Kim usually uses "To your success" as her signoff, while I usually say something like "Onward and upward!" or something more content-relevant (depending on what the email is actually about - like "See you there" if it's an event invitation -see?).
The content in between
A person on your list has indicated they're interested in a particular topic. That's your cue to switch from broadcast (presentation) email marketing to personal email marketing. Now your goal is engagement, to make that person feel like you're in their head, understanding what they want, and providing help, answers, recommendations, or more content that will engage them further in the topic.
You are writing to just that one person (even if you'll actually deliver this email to many people who express the same interest). Your name is in the from line and in the signature block. Go ahead and write in the first person. Write as though you are writing to someone you know - a friend or acquaintance. Be helpful. Don't just talk about what you're selling; tie what you say to the reasons people might want to buy it.
If you have a blog, link to a blog post that augments your point or tells a story about someone else who had a similar problem, challenge, or opportunity. If you don't have a blog, tell a brief story in your email. Provide a link that will take that person to the next step. (Remember, clicks are what you want, so be sure you include a valuable clickable link in every email).
Don't you love getting emails that have personality? Infuse your personal emails with personality. Have a little fun if it's appropriate for your audience, but don't go overboard and lose your reader (I share from personal experience on that one!).
Monitor your email metrics. Tweak and tune based on the results you see. Do you need your clickable link higher in the text? Does a from name of only your name perform better or worse than the from name being your name followed by your company (e.g. "Margaret Johnson" versus "Margaret Johnson, Genoo" as the from name)?
Most importantly, watch what interests the people on your list express through their clicks, their downloads, and their page views, and respond with the personal content that will deepen the conversation with them.
The more personal you can be with your email marketing, the more likely that you'll convert a customer.