How to make your brand's tone of voice zing…

We often talk about branding in terms of design. What the latest trends are and where design is leading us in the future, are topics that are discussed a lot in email. To have successful email marketing, you need great design. But you also need striking copy.

Your tone of voice is inherent to your brand, your values, and your mission. It needs to be a part of every aspect of your business, whether that’s social media, web copy, or transactional email receipts. The more you set yourself apart from the rest and create something that aligns with your brand, the easier it will be to find your “tribe” of loyal customers or followers.

In order to do this, you might need to go back to basics and really delve under the skin of your brand. Is your brand lively, energetic, and zany? Is it calm, uplifting, and a place of sanctuary? Or, is it tongue in cheek humour, youthful, and cheeky? All these things should filter into the copy you right in your emails. 

For example, if a luxury hotel was to address you with ‘Sup?’... that might be a little jarring.

Before we take a look at some great example of copy in emails, here are my three top tips when it comes to writing your campaigns:


Keep it concise

Unless it’s a travel blog style newsletter or personal memoir, keeping the copy short and sweet is the best way to maintain recipient engagement. This means you just have to choose your words more wisely. Reduce the use of passive voice and get to the heart of the message.


Read it aloud

As well as having a break from what you’ve written to gain some distance, have a go at reading it out loud to see if it flows. This helps to catch any bits that don’t quite feel right.


Get creative

Certain words when put together are like strawberries and cream - meant to be. Try out some alliteration like ‘Sizzling Summer Staycations’ or maybe mix up your CTA buttons by including first person ‘Tell me more’, or ‘I need this’. Have some fun with thinking of new ways to get the recipient hooked.


If you want to know more about re-thinking your call to actions, take a gander at this blog post.


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Here are some examples of campaigns that have some cracking copy:

Humour

Company: Wool and the Gang

Subject line: Beret Nice!

The campaign.


Having the title of their company as a pun wasn’t enough for this business. Humour is “knitted” into everything they do, whether it’s playing with language or short snappy rhymes like ‘Knit your bit’ on the website. They also come up with fairly click bait subject lines like the one for this campaign.

This campaign is also a great example of how the words work in collaboration with the strong bold images. With such an image heavy campaign, the words need to be sparse and therefore really pull their weight. The change of type between bold non-italic and un bold italic as the lead title really draws the eye to the playfulness of the words. 

The final line of the copy is brilliant too: It’s scientifically proven to make you look more French - très bien!

This tongue in cheek line adds the brand’s personality to the email, giving something which is essentially a pastime or hobby the seriousness of a scientific investigation. You know instantly that they’re an uplifting, youthful and quirky brand that’s passionate about knitting and will immediately resonate with other knitting enthusiasts.



Relevant and informative

Company: Ecovibe

Subject line: Tips for swapping over to bar shampoo 🧼

The campaign. 


Email is sometimes all about timing. Catching someone at the right moment in the day with something that’s relevant to them is the golden ticket of email marketing. After buying something through Ecovibe, they send you an email with tips on how to use the product you’ve bought. The subject line is super important here as it signposts to the recipient how beneficial this email will be to them.

Using the e-commerce product code and teaming this with some eye-catching copy, means that Ecovibe can keep their customers on board with their useful insights. 

Having the statistic of plastic waste at the start of their body copy does two things: a). It reasserts their position of authority in understanding this subject and b). It reaffirms to the consumer that the decision they made to buy this product was right. They are doing something good for the world and this supports that. 

Their emails suggest that their brand is fair, helpful, and insightful.



Emotive language

Company: Aesop

Subject line: Voyaging through scent

The campaign.


Aesop are brilliant at using language to provoke emotions from their audience. With travel being pretty much non-existent for a year, they’ve capitalised on this using their words to summon a sense of nostalgia and longing.

Through the use of alliteration: fragrant formulations, and words such as moonlit garden and windswept mountain, you’re instantly taken to a place of calm and tranquility - quite unlike your makeshift working from home office. The floral nature of the words also poses a nice contrast to the simplicity of the imagery. Short snappy type wouldn’t work here as it might for Wool and the Gang in our first example. Here it’s all about luring the reader in and taking them to another place.

Using words to describe their products such as ‘moonlit’, ‘veil’ and ‘symphony’ communicate to the reader an element of luxury. These are not cheap products and they’ve not used cheap words to describe them. The copy in their emails cements them as an aspirational brand focussed on quality.



Make it personal

Company: Audible

Subject line: 🎉 Hannah, it's your credit day! Treat yourself to a new audiobook today.

The campaign. 


This might be a somewhat exaggerated statement, but credit day is the best day of the month. Having this update teamed with the emoji in the subject line creates a sense of excitement, where just seeing this notification drives you to act and see what’s new.

Audible don’t just rely on the subject line to engage their recipient however, they use the data they hold of their customer to help make the email personal and bespoke to them. 

By storing the data of previous purchases they can offer recommendations of other audiobooks you might enjoy based on other people’s buying habits. This is particularly useful if you’re not sure what to buy next and are in need of inspiration. The email is at once both informative and aspirational.

Audible are also great at blending copy and design in their emails to instill joy. The word ‘credit’ in isolation doesn’t exactly inspire much fun or excitement, but have it alongside the word ‘shiny’ and an animation of a sparkling coin and suddenly you’re a child waking up in the morning after the tooth fairy has been.

These transactional emails solidify Audible’s brand as helpful, joyous, and a facilitator of escapism.


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Whether it’s your website, phone etiquette, email marketing, or social media, they all need to breathe your brand. Think about the words you’ll use to communicate your vision, mission and values as this will have a direct impact on the recipient. 

Decide what the email’s purpose is and hone your tone of voice towards it. Even if it’s just a transactional email, how can you make it a great experience for the end user so they come back to you? Will a simple ‘Thank you for placing an order with us” cut it?

… no, is probably the answer.


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