Mastering Email Tone: How to Craft Messages That Resonate

email tone cover image with a tuning fork

Email tone shapes how your message feels through the words, sentences, and style you choose and how you arrange them. It determines how people see your brand and react to what you’re asking them to do. 

Getting the tone just right might sound easy, but it’s actually quite tricky — it can make or break your connection with a customer. To master email tone, you need more than just strict rules; you need to understand what your audience needs and how to talk to them in a way that resonates.

And that’s what we’re to help you achieve. 

Understanding Tone in Email

In email marketing, crafting the perfect email message is essential to engaging the reader with your content. The content of your email is at the heart of your message and can make or break your campaign.

Think about it! The way you say something is just as important as what you say, especially in written communication, where there’s no voice tone or facial expressions.

The tone of your email shapes how your readers feel after they read your message. Your words can make you seem formal, light-hearted, friendly, rude, condescending, or even passive-aggressive.

Register vs. Tone 

Depending on what you want to achieve, your message can take on different different levels of formality. This is technically called register, but most people also refer to it as tone.

The table below explains the three types of registers.

Register Feature Use 
FormalNo colloquialism
No jokes  
Business emails
Announcing important news
Informal Simple language
Hints of humor
Building rapport
Welcome emails 
Abandoned cart emails 
Semi-formal Simple but formal 
Educational content 
Guides and how-tos
Different types of email tone 

In addition to register, emails can also carry these tones to enhance understanding and engagement:

  • Humorous: Keeps things light and fun.
  • Friendly: Warm and inviting.
  • Appreciative: Shows gratitude.
  • Encouraging: Motivates and uplifts.
  • Urgent: Creates a sense of immediacy.
  • Emphatic: Highlights important points.
  • Persuasive: Aims to convince.

Choosing the right tone can dramatically affect how your message is received, so consider your audience and your objectives carefully. 

Note: Moving forward, we won’t separate tone and register to keep things simple. After all, this isn’t a literature article.

What Does Tone Consist Of?

Your email tone consists of the elements that convey your attitude towards the subject or the audience.

These elements are: 

  1. Choice of words. Words carry different emotions and meanings. For example, “Thanks a bunch” and “Your efforts are appreciated” both serve the same purpose but create different feelings in the reader. 
  2. Punctuation. We use punctuation and symbols to express emotions. Exclamation marks, periods, all caps, or no caps can all suggest different tones. For instance, writing in all caps might seem urgent to you, but others could read it as yelling. 
  3. Emojis. Emojis are becoming more popular in the email copy. You can use them to clarify your tone or prevent misunderstanding. 
  4. Sentence length. Short sentences often make messages feel friendly and casual, while longer sentences are typical in professional and business emails.

Why You Need the Right Tone in Your Emails

“It’s not what you said; it’s how you said it.” This sentence pretty much wraps up everything we need to know about the importance of tone in human interactions. 

In email marketing, the right tone can be the difference between a successful campaign and one that falls flat. Just like a heartfelt talk can clear up misunderstandings in a personal relationship, the right tone in your marketing emails can really connect with your audience. Get it wrong, though, and you might lose them.

How email tone affects your business: 

  • It reflects your brand personality. Whether your brand is serious, professional, or light-hearted, your email tone should match the identity you want to portray.
  • It helps you convince the audience. The wrong tone can spoil even the best product promotion. For example, if you come off as bossy, your readers might ignore your call to action. Make sure your email tone fits your message.
  • You can build trust with your readers. A consistent tone that resonates with your audience helps build recognition and trust. Your readers are more likely to trust your brand if they can “hear” your familiar tone in every communication. 
  • It makes you stand out. With the increased use of AI in email marketing, many emails sound the same these days. Your unique tone and style can make your emails feel more personal and stand out.

How To Pick the Right Tone for Your Emails

To choose the right tone for your email marketing messages, you need to think about what you want to say and then decide the best way to say it to achieve your goals. Let’s unpack what that means. 

The Purpose of the Email

What you’re trying to accomplish plays a huge role in setting the tone of an email. For example, if you’re writing a B2B email for lead generation, you’ll want to sound serious and professional. 

On the other hand, a welcome email to a new B2C customer should be friendly and warm to start building a strong, trusting relationship.

The Audience  

Who you’re emailing is just as important. If you’ve emailed someone before, you probably know the right tone to use. But it can be challenging when it’s your first interaction. 

Think about their relationship to you and their professional status. For example, you’d likely use a more casual tone with a colleague than with a manager or a B2B partner.

For marketing emails sent to many people at once, segmentation and personalization can help. By dividing your audience into groups, you can tailor your tone more effectively.

One of the best things you can do is to read the text from the reader’s point of view. How would you feel if you received such an email? You may even want to play around with different tones to see which one hits the mark. 

The table below recommends different email tones for different situations:

Email PurposeAudienceRecommended Tone(s)
Welcome EmailNew customersWarm, Friendly
Product PromotionGeneral subscribersExciting, Engaging
Customer SupportExisting customersHelpful, Reassuring
Internal CommunicationEmployeesCasual, Informative
Event InvitationMixed audienceInviting, Enthusiastic
Feedback RequestProduct usersApproachable, Encouraging
Holiday GreetingsWide audiencePlayful, Heartfelt
Company UpdatesStakeholdersFormal, Informative
Special OffersLoyal customersExciting, Persuasive
Examples of different tones for different situations 

Your Brand Identity

Use your brand identity as a guide. If your brand is known for being cool and casual, keep your email tone friendly and warm. However, if your brand is viewed as more serious, your emails should reflect that.

Consistency helps your audience recognize your brand instantly, even without seeing your name. 

But remember, it’s okay to mix it up for special occasions. For example, emails around the holidays can be more playful and light-hearted because people are generally in a festive mood.

What Should You Do To Make Sure Your Email Has a Positive Tone?

It’s never a good idea to write marketing emails with a negative or neutral tone. After all, you’re trying to build a relationship with your customers, and nobody likes to interact with a brand that makes them feel bad.

Besides being mindful of the vocabulary, power words, and emojis you use, follow these tips to achieve and maintain a positive email tone. 

Be Helpful  

Regardless of the email’s purpose, always show the reader that you want to help them. Whether it’s an abandoned cart email or a confirmation email, use language that shows you care about the reader and want to help them achieve something. 

You can do this by highlighting the benefits of your message for them and making the value clear.

Start and End the Message with Positivity

The first and last parts of your message can have maximum emotional impact on the reader. So, incorporating something positive in these sections can help maintain positivity. 

For example, you can start by thanking the reader for interacting with you or congratulating them on a win. End with a friendly wish or a positive sign-off to leave a good impression. 

Be Direct

Always be clear and straightforward with your message. Avoid vague or ambiguous terms that might confuse the reader. 

By directly stating what you want or expect, you eliminate any potential misunderstandings and keep your communication effective and efficient.

Use Tone-checking Tools

If you are unsure about your message tone, you can use online tools that help you see how it sounds. 

Grammarly, Sapling, and Toolsaday are easy to use and use AI to give you valuable insights about your text tone.

Maximize the Impact of Your Email Tone

Besides everything we’ve explained so far, consider these tips to make your emails more effective: 

  • Be polite and respectful. It’s great to be funny and friendly, but make sure you never cross the line. Always use respectful language and steer clear of any words that could be seen as disrespectful or vulgar.
  • Watch the length. While not technically part of the tone, the length of your email can affect how your message is received. Keep your emails short and sweet to show you value the reader’s time.
  • Keep things simple. Your audience doesn’t have time to decode your elaborate language. Keep your text smooth and easy to read, and say things concisely and clearly. 
  • Be consistent. Picking a tone for your marketing emails isn’t limited to the email copy. This tone should run through all parts of your message, including the subject line, CTA, and sign-off. For example, if you have a casual message, don’t use a formal sign-off. 
  • Mind the design. Although not directly related to tone, your email design influences how your message is perceived. Avoid long lines and big blocks of text. Make sure there’s plenty of white space, and use email fonts that are easy to read and look good.  

Align Email Tone and Lead Magnets for Explosive Growth

As you work on perfecting your email tone to better connect with your audience, there’s another powerful tool you should sync up with — your lead magnets. Lead magnets are key for building a quality email list because they offer valuable insights or benefits in exchange for contact details.

Now, imagine being one of the few email marketers whose lead magnets outperform by an incredible 800% in click-throughs. What’s the secret weapon for these impressive results? 

That’s what you’ll learn in our Lead Magnet Multiplier mini-course. 

This is our stash of top strategies, and guess what? You can get into it for free. All we ask is that you finish the four sessions over seven days. Don’t worry; they’re so interesting and easy to grasp that you’ll fly right through them.

Ready to watch your click rates skyrocket? Sign up for the Lead Magnet Multiplier mini-course today! 

Best Tones for Marketing Emails 

As an email marketer, you send different types of emails to your subscribers. Let’s look at a few scenarios and the best tone to use for each.

Abandoned Cart Emails

When people leave your site without buying, they might just need a little encouragement to complete their purchase. They could be unsure if your product is right for them or worth the price. 

Craft your message to be persuasive, enticing, and helpful. Highlight the benefits and offer them a reason to complete their purchase.

Take this example from Better Brand:

abandoned cart email tone example
Abandoned cart email from Better Brand. Source

The email starts by pointing out what the customer is missing by not purchasing. It also includes their name for a touch of personalization. The text focuses on the product benefits and offers an exclusive deal, but it doesn’t pressure them. Instead, it lets them decide freely.

Welcome Email

Welcome emails should be friendly, simple, and conversational. Start with a brief introduction to your brand, using a bold and confident tone to draw in the reader.

Let’s see a good example here. 

welcome email tone example
Welcome email tone. Source

This message is friendly, concise, and to the point. It doesn’t bore the reader by rambling about the brand and tells them what to do to get the most out of their experience. 

Sales and Offers

Promotional emails about upcoming sales and offers need to be persuasive and create a sense of urgency. But you should avoid sounding too salesy or insincere. Show that you’re genuinely interested in helping the recipient get a great deal.

Consider this effective example:

special offer email tone example
A special offer email tone. Source

This message is sincere and doesn’t try to push the reader. It creates a sense of urgency and tells the reader what to do to get the offer. 

Maximum Deliverability and Maximum Engagement with Campaign Refinery 

At Campaign Refinery, we understand that crafting the perfect email tone is key to engaging your audience. But stellar content deserves stellar deliverability. 

That’s where we come in. With industry-leading deliverability rates, we ensure that your engaging emails are seen, read, and acted upon.

With Campaign Refinery, you get the best of both worlds: exceptional engagement through the right tone and the assurance that your emails won’t get lost in the digital shuffle. 

Apply to join us today and experience email marketing that truly delivers!

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