We have all experienced situations where we’ve been made to feel uncomfortable or annoyed by someone addressing us in a tone of voice we didn’t like. Using the wrong tone of voice when you’re speaking to someone, even if it’s not intentional, can put them on the defensive. Unfortunately if you do this to your email recipients you could run into serious problems with your email marketing campaigns. This is why it’s essential to pay attention to your email tone and the way you are coming across to your recipients.

Tone of voice doesn’t just apply to verbal communication. In fact, when it comes to emails and other forms of written communication, getting the tone right is vitally important. When a person is speaking, their tone is conveyed by their voice and facial expressions, without these it’s much harder to get it right, and misunderstandings are more likely.

How to avoid setting the wrong tone in emails

The tone of voice you use in your emails will affect the way your recipients interpret your business. The first step to avoiding the wrong tone is to work out what the right tone is. What impression do you want to give your recipients of your business? Are you formal, relaxed, soothing or are you cool and maybe a bit sarcastic?

Different tones of voice will work for different audiences so have a think about yours, and your overall brand message. Your marketing emails will need to be consistent with the rest of your business branding and they should all use the same tone of voice to address your customers.

Creating a set of guidelines

Many organisations take the time to create a documented tone of voice guide. This can be very useful if you have more than one person writing marketing emails or if you want to make sure that everyone is consistent in the way they speak to customers from your marketing department to your customer service staff.

A few things to include in your guidelines:

  • What words your employees should or shouldn’t use when communicating with customers or potential customers.
  • The overall tone and style that is in line with your brand values.
  • Any points of grammar that are important and can help you maintain a consistent tone of voice.
  • Examples of marketing emails that use an appropriate tone of voice along with those that are less effective.

Whatever tone of voice you are aiming for, it’s important to be aware of how you are coming across in your emails. If you appear too abrupt, or too casual when you should be formal, your recipients might get the wrong impression of your business as a whole. If you aren’t sure it may help to ask someone else to read over your email before you press send. A fresh pair of eyes can often pick up something that you’ve missed.

The right tone of voice will help ensure your message is communicated the way you want. This in turn will help you build those all important relationships with your recipients that eventually turn them into loyal paying customers.