You want to survive. Which means you want to sell what you do in a noisy news cycle.
You want to communicate with your customers – and fast.
But, it pays to pause and think first.
Do people want to read (yet!) another email about how you are cleaning the handles of your shop really, really well? No!
Do customers want to hear how (yet!) another company prioritises their health and wellbeing in these challenging times? No!
Because, quite frankly, they would have hoped your cleaning and care for them were important all along.
Some emails landing in my inbox even seem to have been pre-programmed. The alternative is that someone woke up, read the news and pressed send on emails offering:
- A sunshine family holiday like no other
- 15% off Spring breaks in March
- Mother’s Day group dining offers
Honestly, people? This was yesterday. The day our schools closed until… well, whenever and just days after most people were advised to keep a bus-width distance from everyone else they know.
Yes, your customers want to hear from you. They want to hear from you regularly. But only…ONLY… if what you say reflects what they think and feel.
Your customers are scared and confused too. They need to feel you understand what they are thinking and feeling that day.
Which means you need to nail your tone of voice.
What do we mean by tone in marketing?
Tone, or Tone of Voice, is the expression of the people and the personality behind our brands. It is how we speak to our clients – through what we write.
Tone of Voice is usually intuitive for business owners and long-standing team members.
However, these are strange times.
We are all frightened. What will next week, next month/next quarter bring for our businesses?
Which means it easy to stray from who you are, what your business stands for, what makes you special, and the reason your customers love you.
It’s easy to think that if you want to be heard, you need to shout. Please don’t.
Pause before you press send and ask…
Am I being myself?
If you are scared for the future of your business and your working family, then say so.
If you want to reassure your customers that you will remain open for business until you simply cannot, then say so.
Write as if you are talking to a customer standing in front of you. Share your fears.
It’s okay to be honest. These are unprecedented times. No one has any idea what will happen tomorrow, let alone next week.
The only thing we can hold onto is that we are all humans and we are all in this together.
If you have to sell, sell softly.
In an inbox crowded with COVID-19 messages, which ranged between official-advice dull and misjudged jokey, two perfectly pitched emails stood out.
Both came from companies I’ve bought from in the past. So, they were trying to sell me stuff. I knew that from the start.
But their sales emails felt honest, real and not at all…well, salesy.
David Gordon, founder of Bam: Bamboo Clothing sent out an email message that felt both reassuring and uplifting. He spoke to his customers as part of the BAM family, highlighting community resilience.
Jeanette Aurdal and her team at the Oak & Rope company sent a heartfelt emailabout kindness and supporting others with orders that could keep a business – and people’s lives – afloat.
I read as a customer, and yes as a copywriter, but also as a human being.
Which meant they had me. They had named their tone.