Thursday, June 29, 2017

Beware the schemes of politicians and preachers...

photo by admiller via Flickr

Just need a lure of some kind...

Hi Jeff.

I got this weird email from you yesterday and thought I'd drop you a note. Subject line: "Hey"

Your email creeped me out. It had used-car salesman all over it. First, you called me "Friend" and I don't even know you. "Hey, Friend." Or maybe, you think my name is Friend?

Then it was all chatty and intimate. You hope I enjoyed my weekend. Was I having a great day, today? You seemed to think it was Monday, but it was Wednesday. I was all, like, wtf?

Worse, it had quite a stalker vibe to it. You know, the "Hey, you aren't opening my emails, wha's up?" I felt spied on. How do you know I'm not opening your emails and why do you care? Just how many emails have you sent to me? Were they creepy, too?

And lastly, there was this ultimatum thing going on.

I had this dentist once who insisted I visit him at least once every two years and when I missed this deadline (a deadline previously unknown to me, I might add), he sent me a fancy letter on purple paper and told me to make a damn appointment or he was going to drop me. Did I make an appointment? Nope. It was my opinion that he worked for me, not the other way around. I'll see a dentist when I please and not before.

Anyway, I didn't know who you were, Jeff, or why you were emailing me, so I looked you up and I'm still not sure. I do know that you've got quite the go-get-'em attitude. Every time I go to a different page (or back to the one I was just looking at) at your website, little boxes pop up wanting me to give you my email address. Frankly, I'm surprised your website can't see that I already gave it to you, seeing as your such a spy and all.

You are a salesman, no doubt. You want to tell me how to sell a lot of books. And you use yourself as an example. You've got a few bestsellers! But the thing is...your books are about how people can sell books. So...I'm not sure your techniques are going to work for everybody.

This makes me think of the whole "writers selling to writers" thing. Writers spend a lot of energy, it seems, seeking out other writers on social media. Let's like each other's Facebook pages. Follow each other on Twitter. And I'm all for that sort of--what do they call it?--I can't think of the word...something tawdry I bet. But I'm all for it!

I just don't think that writers are my target audience. But they're yours. Well...all creators, I think, judging by the wide net it looks like you're casting. That being said, I'm sure you have some great insights and information that would be helpful. I guess I just haven't paid much attention to your emails. I can't even find any, other than the one I got yesterday. I must have deleted them in that last purge of the trash. They couldn't have been that interesting.

But I wanted to say that a lot of people use Outlook for their email. (I'm not all that computer savvy, so I hope this doesn't make me sound expert-y.) We can read your emails without actually opening them up. But, yeah, I confess, I've probably been ignoring you. I think you're selling something and I just don't have time.

Judging by your picture at your website, you're a nice enough guy. (Though, to be honest, you've got a tad resemblance to Paul Ryan and that can't be good.)

Would this face lie to you?

I think I got a free ebook for signing up to let you email me. I'll try to find it and look at it. So little time for all the things we want to do; am I right?

But you see, there's the problem, right there, if you ask me. You offered me something, in exchange for my email address. That's pretty typical, I think, when it comes to advice on how to get people's email addresses. But as you see, it doesn't always work. I got the freebie, haven't looked at it, didn't find your subsequent emails of interest or of value, and thus, you got no follow-through. What happened?

I think I know what happened. And, as I'm working right now to launch my own email newsletter for readers and book lovers, I would like to thank you for the lesson in what not to do.

Don't try to trick people into giving you their email addresses.
Don't use a lure, as if people are fish to catch and toss into your bucket.

photo by James Palinsad via Flickr

Is this what I am to you?

Don't send people subsequent emails that bore them or have no relevance to them.
Don't try to guilt them into continuing to receive your emails after your spy metrics show they're not engaging.
Don't threaten to dump them from your list.
Don't call people "Friend." Ever. Even if they are your friends.
And don't bug people too often with your emails.

I haven't decided yet if I want to keep receiving your emails. I do appreciate that you gave me a date by which I had to make my choice.

I just wanted to let you know that I found your approach sketchy and I am wondering if it works. (Not really. I'm not going to emulate it whether it works or not.) It must work because the worst politicians and preachers use it. And they're definitely selling some pretty unappealing stuff, aren't they?

The "Hey, friend" pricks my skeptic sense every time. I think I'm going to blog about this phenomenon. Don't worry, I won't mention your name.*

That's all. Thanks,


PS. Dude, what the hell. I just got another one. Subject line: "Is everything ok?" Your neediness is creeping me out.

PPS. That's right. I'm getting ready to launch an email newsletter about books! And maybe cats and chocolate. But mostly books! Maybe other creative stuff, but only incidentally. Seriously, mostly books! So, if you're into reading, and you want a monthly newsletter about books! drop me a line and tell me you want to subscribe. I promise I won't get all creepy and needy if you ignore me.

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