Facebook Gets Personal (And So Should Your Email Campaign!)

Consumers spend more of their online time on Facebook than on any other website. Social networking has always been personal and scheduled changes to Facebook profiles take the narcissistic focus to a whole new level. Profiles will turn into Timelines that chart a user’s lifetime achievements and milestones all the way back to their birth. It’s a new depth of personal.

Your customers already spend a lot of time on personalized social networking sites. And people trust recommendations from people over brands. What does this mean for your marketing? Well, the more personal you can make your brand, the better your email marketing campaign will resonate with your subscribers.

Personality is important, especially with the rise of mailbox filters and Hotmail’s new features that separate “graymail” from personal mail. How can you make the connection for subscribers to prioritize your messages?

We have two different approaches you might want to consider.

Connecting With People

One approach to making a personal connection in the inbox is to get interesting. That means getting interested in your subscribers and their likes and dislikes.

Seth Godin gives this advice for marketing to today’s more self-focused consumer: To be interesting you have to be interested. “It turns out that the best way to appear interesting to someone who cares a lot about himself is to be interested.”

Get to know your subscribers before you market to them. If email marketing is about the relationship, that relationship starts when your subscribers realize you’re interested in them, too. A recent Forbes article puts it this way:

“In addition to sharing your latest content and linking to info on your most recent event, have conversations. Don’t spam everyone with an automatic feed of your blog, or repeated entreaties to Please buy my latest product! Instead, engage actively with the community.”

That means getting to know your subscribers and letting them get to know you, too. The more you get to know your subscribers’ interests, the more interesting your brand becomes. And the more you know about your customers, the more you can connect with them on a personal level.

But that’s just one side of the coin. What about making your brand a person itself?

Presenting Your Brand As A Person

People use social networks – and to a large extent, email too – to connect with other people online. And when it comes to buying decisions, “people like buying from people.” That’s what often makes social proof tactics so effective – people want to hear from other people what makes a brand, product or mailing list so great.

The flip side to getting personal is creating a brand personality. Personality gives your brand credibility. Your company isn’t some abstract entity, it’s made up of people with likes and dislikes, interests and goals. Giving your brand personality means drawing out the human aspect.

So what does a human brand look like? It’s all in the personality, which is all in the presentation. No Man Is An Iland defines it simply as “anything that distinguishes [your] email from the mediocre.” Using a human tone in your emails can lift your messages from ordinary sales pitch to personal conversation.

I like this email from Modcloth, an online retailer. Their subject line draws me in like a juicy tip from a best friend:

Unlike the following blog broadcast, which is thin on both information and personality:

Another take-away from this example: Stay away from using a “noreply@” address like the brand above if you’re trying to establish personality. (This dentist also uses “noreply” as his From name – an even bigger no-no!) Real people have real email addresses. Using a do-not-rely address hurts your brand’s credibility when you’re trying to make a human connection.

The main points to focus on here are to keep your brand approachable and focus on the people who make up your brand. Include tips or personal insights from your employees for a personal touch, and talk to your subscribers like you’re a person, too.

What’s Your Brand Personality?

Which approach do you take when it comes to getting personal?

Do you make a connection by focusing on your subscribers or do you make your brand sound human? Maybe a mix of both?

What kind of personality techniques have worked for you?

Learn More About Email Marketing and Facebook


  1. Jerry

    12/1/2011 11:48 am

    I really need to ‘personalize’ my email campaigns. So thanks for these timely tips 🙂

  2. Wald

    12/1/2011 6:31 pm

    Great post !

    It’s all true, personal communication for human marketing…

  3. Tracey

    12/1/2011 8:52 pm

    I used to write what I thought was useful information in my newsletters and blogs but didnt get many comments from my readers. I recently changed to videos where I shared inspiring stories and I’m now getting many more. Your article confirmst that I’m on the right track and should continue with the videos and stories, thanks!