In a world increasingly driven by automation, it can be hard to find the humanity in the inbox. We have subject lines that are pre-determined to get opened, no matter the cost (here’s looking at you, fake apology emails). We have personalization that isn’t really personalized, or is personalized in the wrong way (hey there, <FirstName>). We have brands talking about themselves and what they need, instead of providing valuable content for their fans and customers (howdy, most B2B and political emails).

None of this really feels like a relationship, which is what we’re supposed to be building with our subscribers and customers. Think about it: email marketing is a 1 to 1 opportunity to connect with your subscribers. They are allowing you into their inbox – that’s a privilege and should be treated as such.

With all of this being said, putting a human touch back into emails is a long-overdue topic. That’s why we’ve pulled together 5 elements that will help you make your email campaigns helpful, personal and compassionate.

Consent: It’s Mandatory

You need to have permission to send your subscribers’ emails. This isn’t just a suggestion, it’s a law in the EU and Canada—and a demand by the ISPs and most ESPs. This is a great opportunity to mention that buying a list does not count as getting consent. Plus, a purchased list is really bad for deliverability.

Accessibility: Just Do It

Your next step is to make sure that your entire list can read your emails. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2017 there were more than 40 million Americans with some degree of disability, 7.5 million of whom were visually impaired.

Personalization: A Rose By Any Other Name

Guess what? You don’t need to know a subscriber’s name to personalize your email. Personalization really comes down to providing value to our subscribers. The best effect that personalization can create is making a subscriber feel like you wrote and designed an email just for them.

Empathy: Caring is Cool

Any purchase decision (yes, even B2B), comes down to emotion. Step back and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Think about what they need, not what your brand needs.

Authenticity: Just Be Yourself

The quickest way to erode trust with your subscribers is to try to trick them. There are enough people out there trying to steal data and force opens — are you sure you want to join their ranks? Trust isn’t easy to win back once it’s lost, and using tactics that temporarily boost open rates or click-throughs could ultimately hurt your reputation.

Be About the Customer

Marketing is essentially customer service, and email is a great way to let your customers and subscribers know that you care. By using these 5 elements, you can put a human touch on your email marketing, and improve your customer’s experience with your brand.