The Importance of Voice in your Auto-Responder Series

Updated on | By | Under the Category Email Marketing

Make no mistake about it, if you want to sell online, collecting emails by getting people to subscribe to your auto-responder series is one of the most effective ways to sell. In fact, compared to targeted search and social media advertising, email marketing blows away the competition. How can it not?

After all, these people have given you express permission to message them. They’re basically telling you they want to hear more from you and they’ve trusted you enough to receive your email. Every email you send out is a very powerful opportunity to make a sale. Unfortunately, too many online marketers don’t use this power. They waste this opportunity by sending spam. They waste this opportunity by sending unrelated garbage and notifications to people who subscribe to their mailing list. Talk about wasting a golden opportunity.

If you want your mailing list to truly make money, you have to start paying attention to the importance of voice in your auto-responder series. The best converting mailing lists are those that don’t just collect emails and then send out periodic blasts. Sure, some people make money off this because they basically rent out the list to the highest the bidder. This way of operating is also the fastest way to lose the trust of your list members. If you really want to make money with your list, you have to get people that visit your site to sign up to your auto-responder series. An auto-responder series is a series of emails that teach the reader certain things. An auto-responder series can also be a series of information presented in a logical sequence. Regardless of the specific type of auto-responder series that you have, you have to pay special attention to the voice that you are using.

How well do you Know your Audience?

If you want to use the right voice in your auto-responder series so you can convert a higher rate of your list members, you have to start with the basic question of how well you know your audience. Most people who collect email addresses don’t really know their audience. Most of them don’t actually care. They look at email marketing as primarily a numbers game. They look at the odds of them converting one person and then they collect as many emails as possible and then apply that ratio to the absolute number. If you want to raise a lot of money and piss people off, you’re more than welcome to try this approach. However, if you really want to deliver value to the lives of your list members and have your list members become your partners for life, you need to know your audience. At this stage of the game, you need to pay attention to the pages where your traffic lands on the most. You have to pay attention to what kind of content they respond to the most. Most analytics packages will show you this information. Once you get a clear understanding of where they are signing up on your website, you can get an understanding of why they are signing up.

Your Voice is a Reflection of your Audience, not the Other Way Around

Once you have an idea of as to who your audience is and what they want, the next step is to assume the right voice. It would be nice to imagine that the best marketers are basically celebrities that people wrap themselves around. In reality, if you want to be an effective marketer, you have to reflect the preferences of your audience. Your voice has to mirror the preferences of your audience. While there’s a lot of space for your own personality here, you must still make sure that you present a persona that definitely caters to the needs and expectations of your audience. In other words, your persona and the sequence of your auto-responder series and the information that you will cover and the way you present it must be a reflection of your audience, not the other way around.

Voice and Persona

The typical voices you can employ are fairly straight forward:

You can have a helpful persona. This type of persona is all about sharing information and asking questions and conducting question and answer sessions through the mailing list.

You can be witty and sarcastic. This is a little bit edgy. This is a little bit pushing the envelope here. You have to understand that humor doesn’t normally translate well across boundaries. If you have a mailing list that has a lot of people from a different culture, your attempts at humor or wit or sarcasm might just fail to resonate with them. It might even offend them so you have to really be careful regarding employing a witty or sarcastic approach. Many people might not get the joke. Many people might not get the references.

You can be the Go-To Guy. The go-to-guy is the friendly neighbor. This is the person that you go to if you have some sort of emergency or if you need some sort of help. The go-to-guy is such an authority that this person has pretty much mastered the whole series of questions that would normally come to mind regarding the niche that you cover. The go-to-guy’s persona is kind of a blend of the helpful persona and a friendly neighbor.

Mr. Alarmist. Mr. Alarmist is a voice and persona that looks at the negative things or the negative side of your niche. It is the person that rings the alarm regarding things that your audience should fear or should be aware of. There are really only two basic emotions when it comes to selling: fear and greed. The helpful persona, the witty and sarcastic and the go-to-guy personas appeal to the greed or the positive range of emotions. Mr. Alarmist is all about fear. Mr. Alarmist is all about the negative side of things. But they all lead to the same road. They all lead to you making money off your list members. You just have to make sure that your Mr. Alarmist’s voice or persona doesn’t go too far. You donít want to come off as paranoid. Paranoid is off-putting. Paranoid doesn’t close any sales. Mr. Alarmist is all about being cautious and it’s all about protection.

Your Voice Must Always Fit your End Goal

It is too easy to get carried away with your persona and voice. Whether you’re using the helpful voice or whether you are playing the Mr. Go-to-guy, it’s too easy to just get caught up in the persona and you lose track of your goal. What is your goal behind adopting such kind of voice? Your goal is obviously to convert. Conversion is the key. Unfortunately, many online marketers try to fit the wrong voice with the wrong audience. Once you have studied the earlier parts outlined above, you would know who your audience is. You would know why they come to your website. You would know the types of content that they’re looking for. In a rough sense, you know what their needs are. Why would you pick a voice and persona that doesn’t fit those needs? Your voice and persona must fit the needs of your audience. It must be a reflection of your audience and this must all consciously lead to you making money. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time. Otherwise, you’re just entertaining them. Sure, you can still generate sales because of the know-like-trust-buy process, however, you don’t need to go through that long process if you don’t have to.

Graphics, Font, Text, and Layout are also Part of your Voice

A lot of our LAN marketers think that just once they have the voice and persona down pat, they’re all set. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, you might be leaving a lot of money on the table is you don’t change your complete email auto-responder series to fit your voice and persona. You shouldn’t just focus on the content of your text, the sequence as well as the level of information that you are presenting. It goes way deeper than that. Everything must point towards conversion. Everything must point towards your voice. As the old saying goes, all roads lead to home. Make sure you set up your auto-responder series in such a way that your graphics, your fonts, your text, your layout and all other parts of your emails highlight your voice.

Headline Styles Must Not Conflict with your Persona

A crucial element of email marketing is the headline. You have to write headlines that get clicked. If your subject lines don’t get clicked, your email doesn’t get read and when your email doesn’t get read, you don’t make money. It really is that simple. With that said, you shouldn’t adopt headline writing styles that conflict with your persona. The last thing you would want is to use a Mr. Alarmist headline writing style when your content is sarcastic and the go-to-guy, or has a helpful voice. Every little contradiction or clash between your voice and any elements in your email can lead to confusion. Confusion can weaken your email’s ability to convert your list members.

Your auto-responder series exist for one reason and one reason alone. Well, it should. What is that reason? To put money in your pocket. This is why you need to make sure you pick the right voice and persona as well as all graphic and textual elements to boost your chances of converting your list members. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time. Otherwise, you’re just focused on empty entertainment that at the end of the day, doesn’t pay your bills. Pay attention to the tips outlined above so you could unleash the power of voice and persona to boost your bottom line.

About the Author: Lewis Crutch

As the administrator of Marketing Bees, Lewis Crutch manages all of the free advice and tips available here on the Marketing Bees blog as well as spending time putting together in-depth marketing related courses covering a wide range of topics including email, content and social media marketing.

4 Responses to “The Importance of Voice in your Auto-Responder Series”

  1. Kevin Ocasio

    Hi Lewis,

    I have to disagree a bit with this here… “you shouldn’t adopt headline writing styles that conflict with your persona. The last thing you would want is to use a Mr. Alarmist headline writing style when your content is sarcastic and the go-to-guy, or has a helpful voice.”

    If your first goal with email marketing is to get the email opened (and it should be), then using the same style of subject lines can actually have the opposite effect. If a reader sees the same style of subject, they’ll begin to get used to it and tune it out after a while, which will lower your open rates. The occasional change in style and tone of your email subject can have a dramatically positive effect on open rates.

    • Lewis Crutch

      I understand where you’re coming from although the reason for being consistent with the subject lines is to build up a brand and reputation that your subscribers come to recognise. The subject lines shouldn’t be used to trick people into opening up emails but because they want to open the emails.

      • Kevin Ocasio

        I agree they shouldn’t be used to trick people… like those silly emails with a subject that say something along the lines of “You’ve Just Earned a $500 Commission!” … subjects like that are complete nonsense.

        • Lewis Crutch

          My biggest pet hate is people using RE: and FW: to trick people into opening emails. It may work initially but will just lead to a high unsubscribe rate.


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