For the past month, my inbox has been overflowing with the voices of marketers in festive holiday style. It’s nice to get real cards in my real mailbox from real people I really know, but most of this digital pile has gone straight to the trash.
But don’t people love seasonal greetings? Yes and no. If you want people to actually read your emails — and, yes, your survey invitations! — you gotta have voice. With that in mind, check out these three buckets…
What’s Voice Again?
When you hear my voice, you know it’s me.
This totally straightforward concept is a powerful tool you can use to review and improve your writing, marketing-focused or otherwise.
Voice is the golden thread that flows through language. It reveals something about the author, connects to the audience, and connects to the topic. It’s why some of those holiday cards you received sounded like they were from real people (probably because they were!).
Type 1: Polished to a Chill
You know those houses where everything is put away, where there’s nothing on any horizontal surface and it’s impossible to tell anyone lives there at all? That’s this type of message.
Sure, it’s clean, but that’s about it. It might be stylish, but it’s impossible to tell anything about the personality of the occupants. Who are they? What are they into?
Marketing messages and survey invitations that sacrifice personality for brevity and class are missing out. There’s nothing for readers to connect with, nothing to grab attention and nothing to inspire action.
Still, it’s clean, though, right?
Type 2: Doublestuffed Overshare
These messages come fully loaded — and not always in a good way. These are the holiday cards that explode out of the envelope with extra inserts and end up leaving glitter everywhere.
First, there’s the content: So much! It’s nice to get a personal catching-up email from someone you actually know, but when it’s a marketing stranger pouring out a heart full of irrelevance, it’s hard to get as excited.
Then, there’s the style. Rather than the clean and simple Polished version, this type glories in bells and whistles and animations and pop-ups. No fear of color or sharing here, declare these bold choices.
Finally, the call to action — or calls to action. These kinds of messages have links, redirects, and all kinds of CTAs, all screaming PICK ME!!
Sharing is caring, sure, but sometimes it’s too much.
Type 3: ICU
Sure, it sounds like this type requires surgical precision, and maybe it does. This is the holy grail of messages: something that comes from a (seemingly real) person directly to another (definitely real) person. It doesn’t have to be long and it doesn’t have to be fancy.
Simply put: I see you! You’re real, and so am I!
Much like the idea of “me-mail”, we know that people like to get messages that connect to them personally. Sometimes tech tools like mail merge work (Hi Melissa!), but real engagement requires more.
Striking the right balance is tricky, but critical.
If you’re thinking back to the last holiday greetings or email invitations you sent out and you realize you’ve lost your voice, start here:
- Identify your real purpose in connecting.
- Consider the specific needs, interests, and preferences of your audience.
- Check your content and design against your style guides, including everything from hex codes to preferred voice and tone.
Ready? Get started on your next survey invitation or holiday card with confidence — and with voice!