Honest Abe Lincoln is quoted as saying "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."
I wonder why anyone feels the need to fool anyone at all!
But we see it all the time in marketing.
Conrad forwarded an email to me this morning from the lovable Dean Jackson. Here's an excerpt:
"The subject line of a personal email has a completely different "tone".
Go to your inbox and look up your last 3 to 5 personal emails. Emails you know were only written to you.
They don't try to trick you into opening them. No curiosity, open loops… or any outlandish claims.
They are really very simple.
Usually, just stating the obvious - what the subject of the email is.
I think the reason for this is...
When you’re sending an email to your friend… you’re not really concerned about getting them to open it.
You just want to make it clear - as succinctly as possible - what the email is all about.
Here’s an interesting experiment for you to try next time you’re about to send an email to your list...
Imagine you’re writing this to your best friend. What kind of subject line would you write if that was the case?
Hold on to that subject line. Write it down immediately. Don’t over think it, or trying to make it better.
Now, what I want you to do next is...
Yes, use it instead of one of the "typical" marketing subject lines that scream "open me!"
Press send and...you’re done!"
Here's the Thing...
What Dean wrote is true, but it's also a huge oversimplification.
Personal emails can have personal, boring subject lines because they really are personal.
Non-personal emails can put on a personal "mask" but that's all it is.
Like telemarketers who call from local area codes and ask for you by first name, like you were best friends in high school.
As Conrad and I always teach, the From line makes all the difference in the world. It's more important than the subject line.
Personal-sounding emails that turn out to be marketing messages may increase open rates -- especially the first few times you use them. But you're not really fooling people, at least not for long.
You may have heard Gary Halbert's famous "A-pile/B-pile mail" speech. He argued that people open their mail over the trash bin, tossing out anything that doesn't look personal or "Your Electricity Will Be Shut Off Monday" urgent. The only way to guarantee you'll get your mail opened is to make it look like a personal message.
If you had a gun to you head, and getting your mail opened was the only way to keep your cerebellum inside your skull, that's what Halbert would've advised you to do.
That's one way to approach the problem.
Most people haven't heard Bill Jayme's position: Never disguise the fact that your ad is an ad. People don't like to be fooled. If they open up what looks like a letter from grandma and it's a sales letter for some doohickey, they won't be happy with you.
Instead, he put exciting, curiosity-inducing teasers on his envelope.
Jayme became a LEGENDARY direct mail copywriters using that philosophy.
Here's the REAL Truth
So which approach is the right one??
Allow me to suggest a compromise.
Not disguising sales pitches as personal messages. Not blasting your list with superlative-filled marketing messages, either.
How 'bout this? Build a real relationship with your audience.
Then you can send emails that actually are semi-personal. Your reader won't feel tricked by your subject lines. And your From line will increasingly become one that people pay attention to every time.
You won't have to fool anyone any of the time.
I bet you'll sell more, too.
P.S. Part of the purpose of Email Copy Boss Daily emails is to illustrate how this works in real life. Watching how we do email can make you a better email writer.
That's why I'm glad you're reading!
Just like any other relationship, the key to a strong bond is consistent communication. Emails That Make Sales keeps you locked and loaded with personal emails all month long.
If you want to get rid of the awkward silences between you and your list (and the revenue gaps that come along with them), Emails That Make Sales is worth looking into.