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4 Ways to Email Like a Person

Regular Advisor

Yesterday I took part in a roundtable discussion on about small business email marketing. (Thanks to Andrew Kordek, from Trendline Interactive, who moderated the chat and invited me to participate.) One of the questions that came up was, if email marketing is meant to sell a product, then how does a small business differentiate itself from competitors? How do you speak to subscribers so they feel more compelled to buy from you?


On the roundtable, I explained that people don't buy from businesses, they buy from people. And it's the role of your email marketing — and your social media posts too — to humanize your business, and to earn the trust of customers. You want to use your communications to build a relationship, not just to sell a product. After all, anyone can offer a sale, coupon, or special offer. Your content is what helps cut through the noise (especially at holiday time) and set you apart.


So what kind of content can you provide that will humanize your business and help differentiate you from your competitors? Here are 4 suggestions:


1. Include a video: Whether it's you thanking your customers for their patronage; a customer raving about your business, product, or service; your expertise or tips for using your products; a cool company milestone; footage of your team to highlight your weird or wacky culture; or you asking for feedback from your subscribers, a video can help you to make a more personal connection because people will see and hear you speaking, and won't be reading.


2. Meet the team: Who are the people you work with, who your customers may come into contact with? Introduce customers to waitstaff, service associates, masseurs and masseuses, dog walkers, or whoever by asking three quick questions. For example, why does this person work for the business, what is his/her favorite aspect of working with customers, or what does this person like to do in his/her spare time. Be sure to include a photo so customers know who to look for.


3. Share expertise: Your customers come to you for your products and services. But the more they learn from you, the more they'll come to rely on you for information as well. And the content you share doesn't even have to be your own. If you come across an article written by someone else that you think will benefit your subscribers, include it in your newsletter or on social media and just write a quick intro to explain why you like it.


4. Involve your customers: Let your customers' voice come through, either by sharing their tips for using your products, picking their favorite dish or service that you offer, or by introducing themselves to their fellow customers.


What are the ways that you put a personal spin on your communications? I'd love to hear them. Post your comments here or on our Facebook Page.


Martin Lieberman is Constant Contact's managing editor. He develops blog posts, articles, guides, and more about email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, and online survey best practices, as well as small business and engagement marketing trends. Martin has more than 15 years of experience writing and editing content for a variety of audiences. Martin's tips, ideas, and solutions help small businesses and organizations build successful customer and member relationships. Follow Martin on Twitter at @martinlieberman.

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Hi Martin,

I think alot of businesses forget they are engaging with people online, and as you rightly state, people buy from people!

When implementing point 4 I find a good idea is a survey, just email your list what they want and then develop it of you can?



Social media marketing is one way for small businesses to compete against the big businesses when it comes to marketing.  Making your social media campaign unique, personal and interesting is of paramount importance as it keeping it up-to-date.

What the articles said is true - you need to market your business in a personal way, build up relationships with your customers and let them be the one they come to when they need advice,assistance or services.

New Member

Hi , This is Mia. I  sell wrought iron products. I have send many marketing e-mail, while haven't receive any return back from potential customer.

How can I do?

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Great ideas. I think the fourth idea is especially is especially important as it harnesses and leverages the power of social media for businesses. Customers can do just as much for a company's image as the company's marketing team.

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Great ideas.