If your follow-up emails read like form letters, it’s hard to get customers to respond. The secret to a higher response rate is simply to add a little personality, warmth, and humor.
These five easy interventions will give dull copy a little KAPOW. These aren’t touchy-feely exercises, but rather more like structural changes that will humanize your writing. And while these tips won’t win you any gold stars from English teachers, they will help you personalize the tone of your emails.
1. Use ellipses
Did you know . . .
An ellipsis (. . .) adds anticipation to your writing. It’s kind of like a visual “Dun, dun, dunnnnnnnn.” What’s going to happen next?
Ellipses pull people in and push them to your next thought, giving the feeling that you are about to share a secret. And who do you share secrets with? Friends. People you like.
Using ellipses is great for subject lines where you’re trying to make it through the inbox triage and get people to actually open your email.
The next time you ask a question in an email, try adding an ellipsis to the first half and putting the second half in the next paragraph. You’ve just made your email easier to read and more effective.
2. Include (asides), italics, and quotation marks
Using asides is one way to add a personal touch to your writing by giving the reader the feeling that you’re talking directly to them. (Am I right?)
You can use this technique to add a tongue-in-cheek comment, state the obvious, debate with yourself, or ask a rhetorical question. Use this technique sparingly so it doesn’t slow down the flow of your writing.
3. Feature fragments
People are tired.
And in a hurry.
So they skim when they read.
Using short, choppy sentences breaks up the visual fatigue of long paragraphs. It also makes your writing mirror the casual, fragmented way that people actually talk. A bonus is that giving sentences one simple focus makes them easier to understand.
Try editing your copy to start a sentence with “And,” “But,” or “Because,” and see how more informal it sounds.
4. Sprinkle in an occasional emoji or animated GIF
You know the adage a picture is worth a thousand words. Depending on your brand, you can sometimes use a humorous image to spark a response. Let’s say you’ve built up a pretty good relationship with a customer, and then all of a sudden they’ve ghosted and stopped responding to you.
What if you sent them an email that only had this animated GIF
(credit: Rachman Blake):
5. Add a little ’60s Batman flavor
Earlier I mentioned adding a little KAPOW to your writing. The use of onomatopoeia (spelling out sounds), words that rhyme, or words that contain the letters p, b, d, g, t, or k are just fun. They help you make an impression. When your reader thinks your message is coming from a real person and not a 21-step autoresponder, you’re more likely to get a response.
Let’s put some of these techniques to the test.
Here’s a typical email I received from a car salesperson:
Subject line: Did You Get My Emails?
I just wanted to make sure that you’ve been receiving my emails. It’s important for me to know that I’ve provided the information you requested and answered all additional questions you may have.
Do you think this is the right vehicle? Are there any issues or concerns around fitting it into your budget? Would you like an update on the latest incentives?
My goal is to earn your business no matter what it takes. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to earn yours!
I know that the key to getting every customer’s business is to give the best service, have the best selection, and give our customers confidence with our pricing that can’t be beat! This is one of the reasons our dealership is so highly rated.
I hope you’re still interested in a new vehicle, and most importantly I hope to see you soon. Thanks for considering (Dealer Name).
Subject line: Great googly moogly, you’re hard to reach!
The pricing I sent you on the Toyota Corolla is about to change (and if you’re like me, you like to save money).
Please hit reply or shoot me a text at (number) and let me know a good time to give you an update.
Have your plans changed?
No problem. If you could do me a favor and reply to let me know, then I can stop filling up your inbox.
Did you know…
That our dealership has a 4.9-out-of-5 rating, based on over 1,000 customer reviews? Plus, we have more than 300 new and used vehicles in stock. And our service department is open late three nights a week.
Thanks again, (name), for your interest in the new Corolla, and I look forward to chatting with you soon.
One of the nice things about the email above is that the line about the price changing doesn’t say whether it’s an increase or a decrease. When customers feel like they’re getting emails from a real person, they’re more likely to respond—which is half the battle in sales!
Could some of these techniques help you?