Amazon and Tone

Let’s look at two examples from Amazon and how they handled tone.

In this email, Amazon is just letting me know they’re sending me what I ordered. They want to have a friendly tone. Hey friend! I’m sending you your stuff! I almost expect them to ask me what I’m doing this weekend.

Amazon casual

Now look at this email. Here, they’re telling me that they’re raising the price. The friendliness is gone. They know it’s bad news, so they don’t want to be casual about it.

Amazon Formal Tone

How can you use this information? This is a case of good news/bad news. With good news, a friendly tone is more important. With bad news, be more formal.

One more note: In both cases, notice how there are no wasted words? I especially like the second paragraph of the second email. A bad writer would introduce the second paragraph with something like, “There are several reasons we’ve decided to make this change” or “We hope you’ll appreciate the reasons for this change.” But you can always delete sentences like that. Just say what you have to say and be done with it.

We thought you’d like to know
on its way
We hope to see you again soon!


We are writing to provide you
No exclamation points

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