Voice and Tone for Emails
There’s one key thing to remember when you’re writing an email: you’re a human being. It’s important to sound like one. Write like you’re talking to a person standing in front of you.
When it comes to Bethel’s voice, we try to make it consistent across our electronic communication. Users should feel like they’re interacting with the same Bethel no matter what email they're reading.
It’s important that we match our tone to how our recipient is feeling. So what are our recipients thinking when they receive our emails? That depends on what we’re communicating.
We’ve outlined common types of emails to help you think about what your recipient is feeling and expecting.
Reminding your recipient...
One common type of email is the reminder email. This is the email you send when you're reminding someone to do something they already know they need to do. Maybe you're asking them to pay a fee, submit a form, or complete a waiver.
To get your tone to match your recipients, think about what you're reminding them to do and how it will make them feel. Think about how you'd remind them in person.
Announcing something new...
You might send an announcement email if you need to communicate a new piece of information or an update. For example:
- An event has been moved to a new location.
- There’s construction around Bethel’s campus that may affect your commute.
- A longtime faculty member is retiring.
Sharing what's happening at Bethel...
Marketing emails generally highlight Bethel’s programs and overall experience to potential students.
They’re tricky because you want to be excited about what you’re communicating but not overly pushy or sales-pitchy.
Examples of marketing emails:
- Showing prospective undergrad students how Bethel celebrates community (Welcome Week, Student Life, Spiritual Life, etc.), and the opportunities they’ll have as Bethel students.
- Informing Bethel alumni about graduate school and seminary programs.
- Telling people who have shown interest in Bethel programs about cohort start dates, informational sessions, etc.
Inviting your recipient to an event...
There are a lot of events that go on at Bethel, including Homecoming, Festival of Christmas, and Parent’s Weekend (that list obviously isn’t exhaustive).
We want to make sure people in our community (students, parents, alums, staff and faculty, etc) know the details and feel welcome to join us.
Asking for support...
At their core, solicitation emails ask for money. I know that this type of email can make people uncomfortable, but once we’re honest about the purpose of the email, we can start to get real about the tone we should take.
- Voice & Tone
- Rules for Web & Email Writers
- Bethel Style Guide
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