There are all sorts of tricks for getting people to subscribe to your email list and open the messages that arrive in their inbox, but it’s another thing altogether to keep people signed up and listening. A big part of keeping attention has to do with the tone you set in your first emails and carry on throughout all of your communications.

Your tone consists of branding, but it also consist of the type of relationship you create with your readers, and since it’s largely a one-sided conversation (though it doesn’t necessarily have to be), how that relationship folds is largely defined by you.

Personal Emails
Source: flickr.com/photos/rahulrodriguez

Today I want to talk about setting the tone from the start so that your readers are more receptive and attentive. Here are five tips.

1. Never Email Just to Email

The first step to setting the right tone with emails is to not be too trigger-happy with them. Ignore marketers who tell you that it’s imperative to email everyday or every week, for example. Are there times when this is necessary or expected? Sure. But don’t do it just to do it.

Over-sending will quickly call your intentions into question. By only sending them valuable emails when it’s forthcoming, you communicate to them that you aren’t just one of “those marketers.”

2. Don’t Refer to a Group

Your readers aren’t fools. They know they’re not the only ones receiving your emails. But if you want to create a more conversational, friendly vibe, it’s always best to act as if you’re speaking to one person. It’s more personal.
Use the word “you” as often as possible, and avoid talking too much about “the list,” your subscribers, and other group-oriented realities.

You want to build a relationship, not continually remind them they’re in a marketing funnel.

3. Give Them Something They Can Use

Do your best to make every email you send as useful as possible. Include at least one unique, useful, and actionable tip in each email you send. People don’t subscribe to your list just because they want to hear you talk. They want your emails to somehow improve their lives, whether on a personal or business level. Deliver on that expectation and you keep subscribers.

4. Be Yourself

Email marketing is a very personal thing. These people have handed you their private emails and invited you into their worlds. The key word in that sentence is “you.” They don’t want to hear from a company, they want to hear from a person.

The person emailing should be a single person, if possible – it helps if the email comes from a private-looking account, like James@YourWebsite.com for instance.

Also, use your own personality. You can be semi-formal without being too stuffy. Dry, corporate-sounding writing will bore people and immediately distance themselves from you. Feel free to interject stories from your personal life sometimes, without overdoing it. Keep it short and sweet, but remind people you’re a real person.

5. Have a Heart

One of the most important tone-setting tricks is analyzing your purpose for sending emails – what you subconsciously express through your language often starts with your mentality.

Poor Bounce Rate
Source: flickr.com/photos/theemailguide

Empathize with the fact that people do not like to be sold to constantly. There’s a real person on the other end of those emails. Put yourself in their shoes.

Do you like someone using the email relationship to sell to you all the time? Do you like them to think about themselves more than they think about what you want?

Or do you like them to “have a heart” with you? To respect your busy life and your limited amount of patience? To care more about you beyond just being a resource for fattening of the wallet?

Never forget the humanity of your readers. Connect with it on every email. Always keep it in mind, and strive to create a truly valuable experience.
If you get it right, you’ll notice a huge difference not only in email open rates but sales as well. How do you set the tone in your email sequence?