In this Full Stack Audit, we analyse Cairngorm Coffee, an independent coffee shop and supplier in Edinburgh, Scotland. At Furlough, we look at brand marketing strategies, social media, advertising and SEO. We help brands improve their businesses across the board.
How to Amplify Your Brand’s Voice Through Email Marketing in 2021
As a brand you need to know who you are, what you stand for and how to communicate that effectively.
You might think that all a successful business needs is a stand out product or service, but in actual fact it’s the overall brand experience which contributes to a brands success and authority.
A brand with a great product can work.
But a brand that nails their unique voice will connect more with their target market, leading to more sales and loyalty over time.
According to renderforest.com, 25% of people recognise brands by their unique voice, but sadly, less than 10% of brands maintain a high level of consistency across their product and marketing efforts.
You want to aim to build a brand that stands the test of time.
By developing your brand voice, it will not only impact your email marketing in a positive way, but your entire business.
So what is a brand voice?
Your brand voice is one of the features which makes up the entire identity of your brand.
A successful brand voice will capture your audience’s attention because it will resonate with that person’s values and personality.
Before we go any further…
I encourage you to ask yourself these questions:
- What is the purpose of your brand?
2. What qualities does your brand value?
3. What is your brand mission?
- Who are we not?
If you are clear on these aspects of your business, you are on the right track. We need this information to curate your voice.
There’s a lot of back end research and development that goes into your brand voice before you even touch email marketing and the copy that goes with that.
Take a look at these mission statements from established brands for some inspiration.
Who is your audience?
It can be very tempting to craft your brand voice and business decisions around your own personal preferences.
I urge you not to fall into this trap!
Sure, it might appeal to you, but will it resonate with the people purchasing your product?
We connect with people who share the same values, that goes for brands too!
Consider carrying out customer persona studies.
Find out exactly who your customers are, their likes, pain points, job titles…
You can go deep with this!
The more you understand them the more targeted you can be.
Go as far as analysing how they speak, slang words they use, their preferred humor and how they talk to each other.
Next, you’ll want to look into competitive analysis.
Are you getting a sense of how much research and psychology goes into a brand voice before you put pen to paper?
Once you understand your customers, it’s time to think about your competition.
Oversaturation in the market is something that really bothers me. You want to make sure that your brand stands out, and doesn’t seem like a carbon copy of your competitors.
If you copy and paste your brand identity and voice, you’ll have to start competing on price…
It’s a slippery slope that’s best avoided!
Check out this guide to customer analysis and competitive acquisition for a more in-depth discussion on the topic!
Identify your core values.
Think about what your company stands for and which values align with your brand.
Your core values won’t just affect your voice, but it will also affect how your company makes decisions, so think carefully about which values best resonate with your business.
Take a look at these examples of two companies in the car industry, and how their core values differ.
Even though they are within the same industry, their differing values will cause each company to go in a different direction when it comes to written content. Having consistent messaging within your emails will encourage trust within your brand. You want your audience to know what they are getting from you, every single time.
How to develop tone of voice
Once you are happy with the initial research stage we can then develop your tone of voice, accurately.
Here are some decisions which will impact tone of voice
- Casual Vs. Formal
- Humour Vs. Seriousness
- Exclusive Vs. Accessible
Writing down, and agreeing on several characteristics will impact how you use structure and language throughout your email copy.
Take a look at how different these brands, Cunard and Virgin, come across based on their tone of voice.
Cunard has a formal and nostalgic tone, whereas Virgin leads with a casual and fun voice.
As you can imagine, although their tones are vastly different, keeping consistency makes customers trust and feel safe purchasing with their brands.
Use real-world scenarios
Once you have established your characteristics, you’ll want to turn this into a reference chart with “do” and “don’t” examples:
Here is a brief overview of what that could look like:
Grammar and Vocabulary
Your brand characteristics and tone of voice will contribute towards your direction with grammar and vocabulary.
Swearing: With swearing, it can stand out where appropriate, but used in the wrong context in the wrong brand, can be deadly. Let your team know what is and isn’t acceptable, especially with something controversial like this.
Slang: If your brand is very controversial, this can work in your favour. You must keep in mind though, if you’re targeting an older generation they might not understand or resonate with this type of languaging. It could result in certain demographics feeling alienated.
Technical jargon: sure, if you are a B2B software company targeting marketers with the latest data driven service, this could be a way to validate your in depth knowledge.
On the other hand…
What if you were a B2C electrician? Your customers probably don’t want to know what that magic box is when you fix their lights. They just want to know that you can provide them with a great service, and that they are in safe hands.
Grammar: Are you okay with being a rule breaker? Are you customers Grammar Nazi’s?
If you are establishing yourself as a formal brand, it makes sense to use correct grammar.
Do you think the Ritz, with its elegance and splendour, would suit casual grammar?
Do you think the Ritz would use this creative in an apology to their customers?
I think not.
Comprehensive brand guidelines
If you want to maintain consistency across teams, setting out comprehensive guidelines will help you maintain your identity.
Guidelines should be very specific, but easy to understand and follow.
The more examples you have to backup your guidelines, the better.
Here’s an overview of the topics I provide within my client brand voice identity decks
Bear in mind, I will have done my market research, and competitive analysis beforehand!
- An introduction about the brand, including the brand story and mission statement.
- A look into the target market including potential customer profiles.
- I establish the brand’s core values and what that means.
- I craft key messages that the brand wants to convey.
- I establish who is speaking, the viewpoint and tone of voice.
- A characteristic analysis with do and don’t examples.
- Grammar, slang and vocabulary guidelines.
- Various examples of text conversation, to help marketing and awareness efforts.
If you are an existing brand
Audit your existing content and ask yourself. Does this fit in with what I want to convey to my customers?
Compare your best performing emails and social media posts, with your worst. Work out what’s going right, and what’s holding you back, for a better insight into your current strategy.
You can take what’s currently working and use it within your updated and improved brand voice guidelines.
Using your voice in email marketing:
Now we get to put brand voice into practice!
Here are some tips to get you started.
Try to personalise your emails as much as possible.
The one on one treatment will make your customers feel special and that you want to take care of them.
To achieve this personalisation, you can:
- Use the word “you” instead of “you guys.”
When you use the word “you” it means you are referring directly to that reader.
Did you notice how many times I have used the word “you” in this article? That’s for a reason!
I’m giving away all my secrets now aren’t I!
- Use Autofill within your copy.
There’s a reason all of those email sign up forms ask for your name. It’s so we can communicate with you directly!
Once we have this information we can customise emails to refer directly to that person. Your readers are more likely to pay attention to your email if you say their name.
Check out these comparisons and tell me which is more engaging.
“Hey, check out our top athleisure picks for you!”
“Hey Roslyn, check out our top athleisure picks for you!”
The second line is much more effective because it makes the reader feel like the brand has recommended products to specifically suit them.
It’s the little details like that which will contribute to a winning brand experience.
A clear and consistent brand voice will make your business feel more human.
Establishing easy to follow rules will enable your team to hone in on the core of your business and write content which is recognisable and authentic.
Customers value connection.
If you can connect with your target customer base, you will stand out amongst watered down brands.