Highly personal or straight to the point – what email strategy works best for your business?

Think of your group of friends; they’re probably all a little different from each other. There’s the loud one who loves being the centre of attention; the quieter introvert who only pipes up when they have something to say; the friend who you speak to every day; and the one who you don’t get to see very often, but when you do, it’s always great.

Now think of the brands who email you – they’re all different too. Again, you have the loud and brash brands using emojis and big statements in their subject lines; those that prefer a quieter and more subtle approach; the brands who email you every single day; and those who you only hear from when they have an amazing offer.

The point is, there are many different personalities behind email strategies, and none are wrong. The trick is to find the one that works best for your business, and to determine that will take a lot of testing. Here are a few things you should consider when thinking of your email strategy personality.

Nice design vs no-fluff text

The most notable difference between business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) email marketing is arguably the way it looks and feels. The people on your email subscriber list have obviously opted in to receive communication from you, but the way in which they want to consume it could be very different.

In many cases the person in a business you’re emailing will be a decision maker – more often than not a managing director or marketing manager. These people don’t have a lot of time to sift through countless promotional emails which take their time in getting to the point (you might be in one of these roles yourself, so you’ll know what we’re talking about!). Therefore, B2B emails are often clear, concise, and straight to the point. They need to demonstrate value and explain the benefits of their service as quickly and effectively as possible to prevent them from being deleted.

On the flip side, B2C emails have a lot more room for expression. In our recent report ‘Forget friendship. Show me the goods!’ we interviewed 1,000 UK consumers regarding their inboxes and discovered that the majority use email as a marketplace rather than a meeting place. This means that consumers are receiving more emails from brands than they are from their friends and family, and 99 per-cent of respondents said they check their inbox every day

This means that B2C emails can be more creative in a bid to stand out, and that could mean impressing with a fantastic design (combined with a great message). That’s not to say that all B2C emails need to be nicely designed and all B2B emails need to be no-fluff; just think about what your target audience would want to receive.

Personalised or not?

You should also test out what works best for your brand in terms of personalising email content. Some brands go all-in with their personalisation by including the name of the recipient – or indeed, the name of the contact’s business – in the subject line and throughout the copy, while others prefer to keep their message generic. But what works best?

Well, our research found that ‘false friendship’ – i.e. giving the impression that the email was created for and sent solely to that recipient, as opposed to a mass send – was a big turn off. We found that there was a strong preference for a direct, open approach to selling rather than a softer sell hidden behind a ruse of friendship. In fact, 37 per-cent of people we interviewed called overly-familiar emails “deal breakers“.

Does that mean you should ditch all of the personalisation in your emails? Of course not – at least not without testing it first. If personalisation is working for your business, you’d be crazy to get rid of it just because of one survey, but you’d also be crazy not to test how well your emails could perform without it, too.

Frequent sends vs only-when-necessary communication

You’ll want your recipients to be familiar with your brand, but you don’t want them to grow tired of it. You should, therefore, determine the optimal amount of contact you should have by noting any dips and rises in unsubscribe requests and opens. Again, it all comes down to testing.

The majority of people (57 per cent) interviewed for our report said that they are happy to receive emails up to once a week from the brands they have subscribed to, but almost two-thirds (65 per cent) said that they’re turned off a brand due to over-frequency. Think of how often you’re sending at the moment – could you be turning customers off, or is every email you send offering value? If you feel you may be sending some emails out just for the sake of it, perhaps it would be best to scale it back.

There’s no right or wrong email strategy overall, but there will be an optimal one for your business.

For more stats and info on personalities in email strategies, check out our ‘Forget friendship. Show me the goods!’ report.