Be Authentically Human with Email Marketing

I live in a small Montana town with a thriving main street full of warm, authentic business owners who people love doing business with. These men and women have stood the test of time, in large part because they know the value of genuine connections. They know that being a human is more important than business, and that building trust leads to long-lasting and rewarding relationships.

For a marketer, it really isn’t any different. The way to make a connection with a customer or buyer is to be authentic in each and every interaction because the human matters more than the sale. In Joseph Pine’s TED talk “What Consumers Want,” he explains that the customer’s desire for authenticity has become the basis for their decision-making — which means our focus should be on making connections with customers in order to build trust. A powerful way to accomplish that can be through email, which can help you use language that humanizes your brand, helping to foster the beginning of those long, fruitful relationships.

Why it matters

We all know how critical it is to personalize interactions, but it’s the next level to humanize. Personalization shows you know your customers, humanizing emails allows you to have an engaging conversation. When you begin humanizing, your emails will begin to stand out in subscribers’ inboxes, thereby increasing open rates and engagement metrics. Your audience will engage more if they’re having a real conversation with a real person and don’t feel as if they’re just being marketed to as a member of a broad audience.

A colleague recently reminded me that, “People don’t buy from companies; people buy from people.” This is why it’s critical to ensure your emails are authentic. When they are, you will connect with your audience, encourage engagement, show off your brand personality, and tell a story.

Where we are today

The inbox still matters for a personal touch. Adobe recently launched the Consumer Email Survey, which looks at how consumers are communicating across email and other channels, and the survey revealed that, for consumers, email is still a preferred channel. And it makes sense that email is the most preferred channel for offers, beating out channels like direct mail (17%) and social media (5%), in part due to consumers’ willingness to opt-in for emails, which is an acknowledgment that it is OK to start a conversation.

But you have to make it count. The Adobe Consumer Email Survey research shows that only 25% of emails are interesting enough to open, due in part to being emailed too often, irrelevant offers, or being promoted a product already owned. However, there is hope in humanizing. Subscribers who’ve been treated this way begin to feel more a part of a conversation, making them more likely to respond to your emails, engage in other ways, make purchases, and refer friends.

What you should do today to reach the ideal? How do you get there?

There are many tactics for a marketer to consider when humanizing email experiences that range from small tweaks within an email to putting storytelling at the center of your email campaign. Some things to consider when adding a human touch to your emails:


With authentically human emails, your emails can make real connections with your audience, where you can go beyond thinking of them as just leads, subscribers, recipients, or members of a segment. Humanizing email experiences can help make your brand come alive, as genuine and trustworthy, thus creating an opportunity for you to evolve your email marketing into something meaningful and increasing the business impact of your email efforts over time.