4 Ways to Humanize Your Brand with Email Marketing

You already know that email marketing packs a powerful ROI. According to ExactTarget, every dollar spent on email marketing yields a return of $44. It’s also 40x better than social at acquiring new customers.

But do you know why email marketing is so effective?

Sure, email marketing saves you time and resources. But there’s another, more important reason why email works: it humanizes your brand, enabling you to build profitable, one-on-one connections with your subscribers.

Here’s how email makes that possible, and how you can start building better relationships with your subscribers today.

Connect with your fan club (your email subscribers!)

When someone chooses to share their email address with you, it’s a big deal. Why? The inbox is a sacred place. Unlike social, where your message can easily get lost among the other noise, email gives you a direct line of contact to your subscribers. That means the people who sign up for your email list really want to hear from you.

That’s just part of the reason why email marketing ROI is so high. You can send content to people that you know are already interested in your brand. Then, when you’re ready to promote your product or service, your subscribers will be more likely to buy from you.

If you’re interested in using email to launch a new product, check out these best practices for promoting your product via email the right way.

Pro-tip: Think of your email subscribers as your VIP club. Send them exclusive content and offers before promoting them anywhere else.

Build trust with relevant content

Consumers these days expect email marketing content to be relevant to their interests, buying habits, questions and challenges. You can’t fake relevant content. That’s why it’s important to have a solid understanding of your audience’s’ needs before you hit send.

If you’re just getting started with email marketing or if you want to get to know your subscribers better, send them a survey asking them what type of content they’d like to see from you. You can use a tool like Survey Gizmo to create a survey, or you can simply ask people to hit reply to one of your emails and share their thoughts.

Another way to ensure the content you send is relevant is sending contextual emails based on your subscriber’s’ location, past buying habits and local holidays or seasons. Emails with context build trust. Want proof? 77% of online shoppers say they’re more likely to buy again if they receive an email based on their previous buying habits.

Pro-tip: Gather as much data as you can on your email subscribers. Here are more ways you can leverage data to send relevant email content.

Show off your brand’s personality

Soulless, robotic email copy isn’t just off-putting, it can get your emails marked as spam and hurt your deliverability. That’s why showing your brand’s personality isn’t just good for email engagement – it’s necessary for your brand to reach the inbox and get your emails opened. (If you’re looking to improve your open rates, check out this list of words to avoid in your subject lines.)

Show your subscribers that there are real people behind your brand. This can be as simple as a “Meet the team” style email, the story behind your company or even frequently asked questions about you and your industry.

Pro-tip: If possible, every email you send should be attributed to someone from your company. That means your email signatures and From names should be from a real, live person.

Leverage user-generated content

Nothing humanizes your brand quite like, well, other humans. User-generated content is having a moment right now, with more and more people trusting it over other media strategies. It makes sense – your customers tell your story best.

Email is the perfect medium for delivering user-generated content to your subscribers. One way you can do this is incorporating a live social feed into an email. Every time a customer uploads a new photo or update with your hashtag on one of your social channels, the social feed will automatically update within the email. This gives your subscribers an opportunity to see how others are using your product or services, giving them a little nudge to try it out for themselves.

You can also use a live social feed to foster engagement with user-generated content among your subscribers. The Knicks used a live social feed in an email to encourage fans to vote for a player who was up for an award. Fans could vote using their hashtags on Twitter, and the live social feed would update automatically as votes were casted. This enabled fans to check out Tweets made by other fans in real-time.

Pro-tip: To boost your user-generated content, give your customers an incentive for sharing. This can be as simple as letting them know you’ll be featuring their posts, or you can offer a prize for the best Tweet or photo.

Keep it real with email marketing

It doesn’t matter if your business is an international conglomerate or a one-man show – email marketing can humanize your brand and help you make real connections with your audience. Put these email strategies to the test and see what they can do for your next campaign.