5 Ways to Put the Human Element Back in B2B Email Marketing

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It’s a hard fact to accept, but no one really enjoys being marketed to. As prospects become more savvy — and their inboxes begin to overflow with marketing emails — they’re far more likely to skip over marketing messages without even opening them. That’s why it’s more important than ever to put a human touch on your marketing emails and make your prospects feel like you’re speaking to their specific needs.

If you’re looking to breathe a little life into your email marketing campaigns, here are five simple ways to do so.

Include Your Name

Although it seems like a minor item, the sender name is a critical component of marketing emails. This tiny piece of a larger jigsaw forms the foundation of the recipients’ trust and email relationship with you. Furthermore, it helps prospects find your messages easily and differentiates promotional emails from transactional ones.

Including your name in the “from” section also increases your open rate. An A/B test conducted by the HubSpot marketing team found that emails sent by a real person are more likely to be clicked on than emails sent from a company name.



SV TOP TIP: Send marketing emails from an individual, rather than company, for best engagement rates.

Watch Your Tone

Somewhere along the way we started acting as if we were marketing to emotionless businesses. This was a major mistake. People run businesses, and that’s who we need to be talking to — people.

While the language in your email copy should always remain professional, your tone doesn’t have to. Write as if you were talking face-to-face. Don’t be stiff and impersonal, be fun and witty. Bring some personality into the fray. You’ll be far more likely to see an upsurge in interaction and build stronger relationships.


SV TOP TIP: Where appropriate, use less formal language in emails – contractions, slang, exclamation marks and smileys are all fair game for the right business and audience. (Though don’t go overboard, you still want to be consistent with your brand!).  Consider your audience and write accordingly. 

Be Human – Ask questions and apologise!

Following closely on the heels of my last point is another great way to remind clients that there’s a human on the other end of that marketing email. Although displaying both warmth and competence will help you connect with your customers, so will proving you’re fallible. If you send out a mass email with a typo, broken link, or incorrect information, own up to it. Offering the standard correction may right the wrong, but a hearty “my bad” is more likely to earn a laugh and emphasise your humanity.

Ask questions and involve your audience. Email marketing is all about engagement so why not try to pose questions to your audience or ask for feedback on the content you’ve included. When you have questions from your audience, respond to them! There’s no point in asking questions if you aren’t going to respond.


SV TOP TIP: Engage your audience by asking questions and responding. Turn mistakes into advantages with genuine apologies. 

Follow Up With a Phone Call

When building human-to-human relationships, we can’t rely solely on technology. To understand clients on a deeper level, you need to talk with them — and the most cost-effective, efficient way to do this is to pick up the phone.

Don’t just send an email to a warm prospect, give them a call! Thank them for their interest and ask if they have any questions. And while you shouldn’t expect an in-depth discussion, you should be ready for one if it should arise.


SV TOP TIP: Follow up phone calls with an email too. It’s a great way to confirm what was discussed. Think of phone calls and emails as complementary, not mutually exclusive.

Turn Off the Automation

Automated emails aren’t always the best way to go. Yes, automation makes our jobs easier, but sometimes it doesn’t have the impact we’re looking for.

Take a good look at each individual situation and decide when a real message is more inclined to elicit the desired response. This simple, personal touch is often at the heart of the strongest client relationships.


SV TOP TIP: If you have a drip campaign in place, consider having a manual override option – i.e. if you’ve recently spoken to someone on the phone and told them all the latest offers, you can manually opt them out of a newsletter that will be sending them the same information.

Final Thoughts

Trust, warmth, humanity, personality, relationship; I’ve paraded these words around in this article like they were going out of style. These are all words that provoke a positive emotional response — and that’s exactly what you want your emails to do. Why? Because most purchases are influenced by emotions.

According to Psychology Today, neuro-imagery has shown that when judging brands, consumers predominantly use personal feelings and experiences rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts). By putting the human element front and centre in your marketing emails, you’re improving the customer experience — and the more focus you put on the customer experience, the better ROI you’ll see.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to add personality to your email marketing campaign, but it does take a little time. However, in the long run, the time you invested will end up having an incredibly positive impact on your bottom line. And that’s something you can count on.

This post was written in collaboration with Liz Greene, a writer, marketing professional, and history geek from the beautiful City of Trees, Boise, Idaho. You can follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene or catch her latest misadventures on her blog, Instant Lo.

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