You’ve probably called customer service before when you’ve
experienced an issue. During a service call, you’ll often be
forced to deal with an automated phone menu, one that asks you to
“briefly explain the reason you’re calling.”
This system tries to diagnose your problem without ever
connecting you to a real person.
While this can simplify customer service for companies,
navigating through the predetermined prompts can be endlessly
frustrating for you as the customer, especially when all you want
to do is speak to a real human.
Unfortunately, your customers might be feeling the same way
about your emails.
If your marketing automation strategy isn’t right on the
money, your customers could have that same frustrated feeling,
especially when receiving frequent or robotic emails. Their time is
valuable, too valuable to receive unhelpful emails.
If that hits too close to home, it’s time you use marketing
automation to humanize your emails. Read on to discover four tips
to implement right now to make sure your emails don’t sound like
they’re coming from a machine.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation is at the center of any good email
strategy, allowing you to set up your emails to be sent
automatically based on a workflow or customer journey you’ve
established. These emails can be triggered by anything, including
behavioral changes, purchases, and even time factors.
When you group multiple automated emails into a single workflow,
you have a
drip campaign. This strategy is a powerful way to send emails
automatically (without using valuable time and resources to email
On the surface, manual emails may seem like a better approach to
humanizing your process, but what if you have a million customers
in your database? Even fifty subscribers can be too many. It would
be impossible to individually email each one, especially if you
want to communicate during every designated touch point of the
But despite that, only about
half of companies are using marketing automation.
But even with a powerful drip campaign, you need to take steps
to make sure your emails are scalable and feel authentic. You can
accomplish this with segmentation and personalization.
How segmentation helps marketing automation
You probably already know not to send the same message to all of
your customers at the same time. After all, why should a longtime
customer and new subscriber receive the same message? They’re at
completely different points in the buyer journey.
Segmentation is one of the best ways to group your contacts.
This tactic is critical for running successful email campaigns
because you can deliver catered messages to specific groups of
people, during times when they expect to receive communication from
There are many ways to segment your contacts. You could do basic
segmentation based on demographics and purchase history, or you
might go as in-depth as targeting them based on their preferred
The bottom line: The more you know about your contacts, the
better segments you can create. This knowledge will help your
marketing automation, and your emails will seem more human.
How personalization helps marketing automation
Sending to the right group of people at the right time is just
one piece of the puzzle. You also need to make sure your
marketing automation uses personalization for your
This starts with gathering the right information. The more you
know about your customers, the better you’ll be able to offer
them personalized experiences. For instance, if you understand
their purchase or behavioral habits, you can cater content in your
emails based on their interests.
You do have to be careful with personalization. As great a tool
as it can be, if you make a mistake, it can backfire. Consider the
example from Pinterest, which accidentally sent
congratulatory wedding emails to single women. People who
received the message in error quickly pointed out the mistake on
However, when done well, personalization can go a long way at
improving your authenticity marketing and improving email
4 basic tips to make your marketing automation seem more human
The simplest ways to make your marketing automation seem more
human is to use a good mix of segmentation and personalization. But
this isn’t the only way to make your customers feel like
they’re talking to a real person.
Here are four basic tips you can use to create a human
1. Personalize the email subject line
If there’s one easy personalization win, this is it. Adding a
personalized element to an email subject line can
increase open rates by up to 26%. It can be as simple as using
the first name of the contact, which you should have in your
Image Source: Netflix
If you go this route, just make sure you proactively address and
fix a potential (and unfortunately common) error with personalized
subject lines. Create a default name that can be put to use, if for
whatever reason there’s no first name attached to any
Otherwise, you’ll see the “first name” code in the subject
line. For instance, if you’re a beauty company, your default name
could be “good-lookin’,” or if you run an extreme sports
website, you could go with “thrill-seeker.”
2. Be conversational
There will always be a debate between marketers over
using HTML emails or plain-text emails. If used properly, both
are fine, as long as your customers engage with them.
Although formatting can play a big role in humanizing your
automated marketing, you should be paying more attention to the
copy in your emails. You should be writing your emails in a
This means avoiding stuffy words unless they’re necessary.
Studies have found big words
don’t make you look smarter, and unless your content is
extremely technical, you should avoid technical jargon
Television journalists are taught to write their stories to be
understood by a mass audience. Email marketers might want to think
the same way, at least for most industries.
3. Send emails from a real person
Receiving an email from a
no-reply address can feel deeply impersonal.
Brands will sometimes do this to signify the email account
isn’t monitored. Although they’re doing customers a favor by
letting them know they shouldn’t respond, you could also turn
customers off by doing this.
Email marketers should always be looking for ways to engage with
their contacts. Customers will feel a stronger human connection if
they are able to ask questions and get real responses. This
doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use your real email address,
For instance, if you change the “From” field to something
like Ros at Campaign Monitor but retain an admin email, then Ros
doesn’t have to worry about Out of Office notifications or email
bounces flooding her inbox every time an email is sent to a
You can easily create a dummy account specifically for email
sends and filter out the bounced back emails. Then you can
concentrate on responding to the real inquiries.
4. Don’t just set it and forget it
One of the great things about marketing automation is that once
you turn it on, it does most of the work for you. But that
doesn’t mean you can just forget about it.
Brands that aren’t testing their emails are missing out on
vital opportunities to improve their authenticity marketing. As
with all email campaigns, you should be A/B testing everything you
can to determine how your customers are interacting with your
Remember, customers are more likely to engage and respond to
emails if they feel there is a personal connection. Tinker with
your copy and the many elements in your email body to find which
messaging feels the most genuine.
Personalization and segmentation are the two best ways to make
your marketing automation emails seem human. If you’re sending
timely messages to the right people, the experience will seem more
authentic and unique.
To deliver an authentic experience with automation:
- Use personalized subject lines
- Use conversational language
- Send emails from a real person
- Follow-up whenever possible
It’s so important to pay attention to email content.
Personalize the copy as much as possible. This can be done with a
name in the subject line or with dynamic content that’s based on
behavior or past purchases.
Finally, test constantly to see what’s working. These simple
tips will add a human element to your emails in the age of
The Human Element: Making Automation Seem More Natural appeared
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The Human Element: Making Automation Seem More Natural