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Opinions are Like A$$holes – Does Your Org Have Too Many of Both to Succeed?

October 29, 2013 | Justin Gray | No Comments |

Imagine sitting at your desk, crafting the perfect email. You deploy said awesome email and it receives a 22 percent lift in the classically beloved email metric – opens. You are so proud. Well friend, revel in your engaging content creation brilliance while you can, because it’s about to end. Two days later you’re sitting at that same desk, demoralized, because your boss commanded that you “tone down” the email.

Why fix what is obviously not broken? In classic corporate America style, someone with a better title than you – your boss – received it and didn’t like it. Why didn’t he or she like it? That’s the easy part. Put simply, it wasn’t like what you normally do… you know, the same lame emails you used in 1995.

Whether the subject line is too aggressive1, or the body copy is too sarcastic2, or the call to action is too unexpected3, innovation in email marketing is both revered and terrifying. Revered because, when done right, the results can be impactful (see below) and terrifying because, if it doesn’t work… the world implodes? Riots in the street? Strongly worded letters come flooding in?

I’d actually love for someone to fill in that “…” for me, because I don’t get it.

When’s the last time you received an email that was so creative and personable that you were like, “I’m never doing business with these people! Who do they think they are talking to me like a person instead of a nameless, faceless corporation?”

I’m talking a lot here about email, but the idea of conversational marketing spans across all content creation – from brochures to social media. I was so impressed when Kenny (a guy on our services team who has a whole Twitter feed, @Buckleisms, for his one-liners) shared this #anti-corporate Twitter exchange from Walmart: “Oh Walmart, you had me at “stylin’ and profilin’”.


So, what is a poor marketer with great, creative content ideas to do when “the man” is stifling his or her creativity? Well, you could work for an agency and write blogs with bold language in the title. Or, if you really like that stuffy, corporate gig, use the stats. No one who writes or does research on content marketing best practices is proclaiming that boring, long-form newsletters sent Monday morning are garnering amazing results. Instead they’re finding things like this:

It’s also important to note that just because industry experts tout using a more conversational approach to content writing, doesn’t mean it will absolutely work for you and your organization. But hey, at least it’s worth a shot. Great marketing is also about just having the [PR Redacted] to give it a try. Everyone has an opinion, but the deciding factor of the best opinion is ultimately left to the results. So, at the very least, I think you owe it to yourself and your email marketing program to give that classic 1995 email blast a new-age contender.


1 I love a dramatic subject line… a couple of my favorites I couldn’t convince any client to let me use – “size matters.” and “Who’s that sneaking around outside your window?” I’ll let your imagination wander on what they were promoting… you would’ve opened though, right?

2Reachforce, a LeadMD client, sent out a lead generating juggernaut earlier this year (see below), leading up to the Marketo Summit, which received increased activity across the board. A 345 percent increase in clicks, 117 percent increase in opens and responses like, “That is a frickin’ awesome email! I will absolutely come find you because this cracked me up.” And “Lol solid email….best way to market to people who do it for a living.”

3 The 22 percent increase mentioned in the first example is something that really happened because I was simply asking the reader to download an image within the email to see an interesting chart… no whitepaper download, no watching of a video, and some people just couldn’t understand who would do that. Turns out a lot of people.


In case you are being inundated with the same AMAZING marketing emails that I am, I thought I would share an easy cut and paste you can use for your replies:

“Hi – Yes I am excited to go to {(Marketo Summit)}, thanks for asking {(unnamed sales rep who never contacted me before)}. It will be life-changing!

And yes – Your booth sounds amazing, too. Your incredibly creative {(ipad)} giveaway is sure to be a great traffic builder. You’ll be demoing? At your booth? Who would a thunk it? Yes, your solution will certainly change my demand generation life – or would if you understood my {(buyer persona)} {(company revenues)} {(experience using Marketo)}.”

Oh yes, those sales guys. We hire email copywriters for a reason, yo.

So, no cheesy emails.

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