08 Jun

Can you get round cynics?

As we become increasingly aware that our details are being scraped from various places, our data is being sold on lists (regardless of guarantees that ‘we won’t pass your details to third parties’), and everyone is trying to sell us something, is it becoming nigh on impossible to get messages through to a cynical audience, when approaching them directly?

Using myself as an example, I simply will not answer any calls from ‘unknown number’ or ‘private number’ – nor ‘0843’ or ‘0333’.
In fact, I won’t even answer to a normal landline or mobile number that I just don’t recognise.
If the call is important, then the caller will leave me a voicemail, and I’ll call them straight back. If they don’t/won’t leave a message, then it was a spammy sales call which I didn’t need to waste my time on.

When it comes to salesy texts, I’m even quicker off the mark. I can see, at a glance, what a text is about, and they’re instantly deleted if they’re spammy.
I’m certainly not replying with ‘STOP’, so that the company sending the texts is aware that my number is ‘live’.

So what about emails?

A good friend of mine, and digital supremo, posted this in relation to email subject lines.
I agree with what she says; try to sound human, make people laugh, pique their interest.
Maybe your email will still get deleted, but at least you stand a fighting chance of that not being the case if you use something non-spammy and vaguely amusing.

For the record, I instantly delete (without even looking at the rest of it) any email with a subject line like;

‘Is your business growing as fast as you’d like it to?’

‘I have to tell you about this’

‘This seminar could change your life’

I haven’t got time to read that crap, and I’ve seen those subject lines dozens of times before: no thought has gone into them.

Actually, I find that a little self-awareness / self-deprecating humour works wonders.

When I send out my newsletters, I give them subject lines like; ‘Does anyone actually read newsletters any more?’ or ‘It’s Friday. Waste time. Read this newsletter’.
I know that people have their inbox flooded with other newsletters and sales emails, so I’m making them aware that I know this – I’m empathising.

I guess, in many ways, a lot of these spammy texts, sales letters, and emails work through sheer volume. That’s how the companies/individuals sending them can go back to clients and say they made ‘money’ or ‘ROI’.
If you send 2,000 sales letters/emails/texts, then – by the law of averages – 20 people would respond (a decent response for a direct mail campaign is around 1%).
If the product for sale has a high price, then those 20 responses/sales would get counted as ‘great ROI’.

I don’t see that as a skill though. I see that as ‘throw enough mud against the wall and it’ll stick’

What I do see as a skill, is getting 10% of 2,000 people to respond to (or even bother to open) that email, and that happens within the first two seconds: when someone reads the subject line.

An obviously spammy, salesy subject line will – to my mind – never get that 10% to respond, but something that’s little bit different stands a fighting chance…

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