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Ask GH: What do you guys think is more effective - Casual v/s Professional tone in e-mails?
Depends on the industry—but my most successful outreach to tech leaders and press has been *exceptionally* short, to the point, and friendly.
In other words, above all—be brief.
I don't think there's a blanket winner here. It should be sensitive to the situation, the brand personality, and the dynamics of the specific customer-business relationship.
But to answer the implicit question: "professional but genuine" is usually a good tone to shoot for if you're not sure. People will tune out stuff like marketing speak, legal speak, or any wall-of-text spew that doesn't account for readability and what the *customer* is going to care about.
Depending on the situation.
Newsletters - Casual
Client Emails - Professional (Though their Industry and level of knowing you can make it casual)
Each and every email should be a different style - I tend to go with the concept of keeping a specific writing style and sticking to it.
I always start with a professional tone and get a feel for how the other person communicates. Most of the time I find that everyone wants to be "business casual".
I agree with Jim on the brand personality. Like my website is intelligent but casual in personality.. so I make my point in the emails but also I keep a casual tone. Works great for me because it brings me more replies and I end up becoming friends with the associates. So if it matches your brand personality, give casual approach a try.
Personally, I'm more of a casual guy. But, both work.
It depends on who you're talking to, but in my opinion, it depends more on your personality. I'm the same w/ everyone.
Totally depends on what sort of company you are, and what sort of company you're sending the email to.
Doesn't matter what we think - this is ultimately dependent on the variables of your situation. If you really want an answer, one could be "whatever fits the personality of your company." Run tests if you can.
Testing will get you the answer for sure but what I've found works really well is to insert questions into your email and trying to answer them throughout the copy. Such as, "Are you looking for x?" (explain how you have it) or "Do you have a problem with x?" (explain how you solve it). Finding the right question requires some testing, but i've found that in both email/PPC adcopy it works really well because psychologically people will say "yes" in their head, and then proceed to read how you solve their problem.
While the book is a bit hokey - I learned a lot from Joe Vitale's Hypnotic Writing about how that question asking works well in web copy. Worth a try!
I like the "psychological hook" strategy. Gotta try that book now. Thanks.
I like this technique -- however, it can also backfire. They can answer no :)
I really feel like you've got to feel it out in a case by case basis. Sort of like talking to a client in the office and then making your way to lunch with them, then out at a bar. If you can talk to them in every one of those settings odds are you're not going to be straight laced and boring as hell the whole time.
Ogilvy talked (in his book) about how they would go out at night and get drunk, brainstorm crazy ideas about their clients, and then drink coffee the next day while turning their drunk ideas into organized and cohesive ad campaigns.
Some of my most creative solutions came from processes like Ogilvy's.
In that vein, I tend to be very focused and concise (professional) when addressing issues and use openers and closers for casual nods. For instance: "Hey [Client name]! Happy Friday! I wanted to see what you thought of the report..."
"Sort of like talking to a client in the office and then making your way to lunch with them, then out at a bar.".
Agree with the previous comments.
It's good to test your tone on different people. Also, if it's a reply you can see the style of the very first letter and it may serve as an example of the tone this person is normally using.
I believe the tone of voice should be defined as per the target of a particular communication.
Also the objectives of the communication needs to be set in order to get the message right. Once the message is set ask yourself: would I like this message to be delivered to me by a person that I trust or someone that represent authority. Hope it helps.
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