Just today I received an email from Lorrie Morgan, who taught me most of what I know about copywriting. She wrote about her top 3 pet peeves in an entertaining, insightful message.
That got my wheels spinning. Instead of “pet peeves,” I think of them as crazy-making, credibility-destroying marketing strategies.
1 – People who open their emails with an intimate embarrassing anecdote involving underwear (or loss thereof), deep-dive medical symptoms, or humiliating anecdotes from their childhood (which should be repressed, regardless of what their analyst says).
You probably don’t do this! But maybe consider giving yourself some space before sharing a personal anecdote. More than once, I’ve written myself out of my content after a day or so of chill time. There’s a reason we use the term “cringeworthy.”
2 – Emails that promise “3 easy ways to solve this difficult, expensive, business-killing problem.”
You open the email. You learn all about the difficult, expensive, business-killing problem.
You want a solution? Ah…now you have to take the next step. You either buy a product…or you set up a phone call with a coach who presumably will guide you to a solution.
I believe emails should deliver value to you when you open them…an aha moment, actionable advice, and/or access to something rare or time-sensitive.
As a corollary…those emails with the subject line “free gift.” Turns out it’s a free gift only if you buy the big high-end product they didn’t warn you about.
Creating curiosity can be a powerful marketing tactic. Finding just the right amount you can “tease” might require some testing.
I created a video on this some time ago. It’s still valid information but be warned: I’ve learned more about sound quality since then. If you think you’re hearing a “meow” in the background, you’re not imagining things.
You can get away with this if you’ve got solid guru status and a loyal, responsive tribe who will follow you to the ends of the earth, no matter what. But do you want to?
3 – Defensive responses to your critics.
It’s one thing to rant against stupid practices in your industry. You deliver value by encouraging your audience to question those practices. You support those who have already begun to wonder why “everybody” promotes something so silly.
But a direct attack on you or your business? That goes with the territory. Getting defensive puts you in a one-down position.
“I got the question, ‘If you’re so successful, why are you still going to these meetings?'”
“At a live event someone came up to me to say I need to dress up more. I’d just connected with two people who became four-figure clients.”
“I’d just given a talk and sold $10K in an hour. A total stranger chose to advise me: “You should consider joining Toastmasters. You had too many ums and uhs.””
Hey, you don’t have to explain to us! We’re your loyal, loving audience.
On the other hand, I enjoyed this story, because the speaker shared a bigger lesson: turn snark into strategy. She’s not responding. She’s empowering herself with a “listen and learn” approach:
“I had just gotten off a stage, where I’d won a generous award in recognition of my success. Someone came up to me and said, ‘Your problem is, you are too corporate. You need to loosen up.’
“At first I was furious. After all, I’d just been validated with this award. But then I started to think. Yes, I am corporate. I can embrace this identity. My business now focuses on helping solopreneurs who want to do business with big companies…and they learn from my corporate style.”
See the difference?
Speaking of networking, Episode #81 of the Strategic Storytelling podcast introduces networking tips, including ways to manage the dreaded Coffee Date. That’s when someone says, “Let’s go get coffee and talk about our businesses.”
“Do you have anything specific? Have you been to my website?” I ask.
What’s your pet peeve? Add a comment or send me a message at https://cathygoodwin.com/contact/