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Choosing your Marketing Voice

by Randall Craig on August 21, 2015

Filed in: Blog, Branding, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Marketing, Presentations

Tagged as: , , ,

Have you ever considered why some emails resonate, and others seem just a bit off? While the general topic of copywriting has been handled here quite well, too often emails – especially ones that for part of a marketing automation sequence – fail because of one thing: voice.

Consider these four examples:

1) Passive Voice

Neglected fee payments will cause access to be lost.
Membership department

2) Active Voice

If you neglect paying your fees, you will lose access.
Membership department

3) Corporate Value

This is a courtesy warning that if you do not pay your fees within 48 hours, you will lose access.
Membership department

4) Personified voice

Jennifer, I’ve recently reviewed our records, and it seems that your annual fees are still outstanding.  One of the many benefits of being part of our community is our online services – available at no charge to members.

As the deadline is fast approaching (next week), can I ask you to take care of payment? Here’s [the link].

If you have any concerns about your membership, might we have a short conversation? I can be reached directly at 416-256-7773 ext. 101.

Sincerely,  Randall

Which of these four are better?  While you might prefer a personified voice (#4), this might not always be the best choice. The key point is that there is a spectrum of choices that are available, and we don’t always consider the voice that would be most effective. We think only about “efficiency” and what might sound “professional”. Default-mode writing is not always the most effective.

This week’s action plan: Voice issues creep in everywhere, from invoice transmittal emails, to broadcast emails. This week, find one email where a change in voice will improve the outcome. Then find another. And another.

Marketing Insight: Voice also creeps into our own voice. How you phrase what comes out of your mouth has a direct impact on the receiver’s openness to your message.   More than a logo, color scheme, or jingle, voice profoundly impacts your brand.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
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Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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