If there is one sentence that makes me cringe when I read emails it is this -> “I have a confession to make“
Fun fact, 5-7 years ago I copied the same line from Ramit Sethi’s emails when writing an email sequence.
Today I had signed up for the Mighty Networks free trial. They call it a course, membership and community-building platform – all in one!
The platform is slick, I love their design. It is like a private social network, forum, course and membership platform. But their killer features – design and user experience. It is clean, bold and slick. Finally, it felt like a team in Silicon Valley created a platform related to my niche. (No, offense everyone else)
Most of their platform felt bold, re-imagined and slick. Including their website, on-boarding process, experiences, settings panel.
But then an email arrived. It was from the founder Gina Bianchini. ”$43,016 and the one thing I wasn’t expecting, Rajavanya” was the subject line.
And inside the email text, I saw it.
After 3 short paragraphs, those dreadful words were there at the beginning of the 4th paragraph –
“BUT I HAVE A (wait, for it…) CONFESSION TO MAKE.“
Why do I criticize it?
This isn’t a criticism for Gina. I’m sure she’s an all-round awesome human being. She has created something fantastic. The effort and work she put in to reach where she is right now must be colossal. I love her platform (aside from my usual reservations of hosted platforms).
My criticism is for using scripts without caring.
The whole email screams – scripts and patterns. And there is a massive disconnect from the MightyNetworks brand experience. I’d have no problem if this was from Gary Vee or Russell Brunson. But when it was from the founder of Mighty Networks I sensed a disconnect.
Today, people online see the exact same email scripts used by every business. It is the fastest way to lose credibility and get the“pesky sales-y marketing people” label. It is an insult to their intelligence (and a disservice to your amazing self and your incredible journey, whatever the type of entrepreneur you are!).
A Better Way
I get that people want their email to generate sales. Businesses have to make sales. But it is possible to do it without compromising your true-self.
It requires some deep soul-searching. Here are some questions to get started on that journey.
- What would emails look like if you actually believe in them? If they’re going to be bad, why?
- Can we treat sales, not as a game? Instead, as the service involved in connecting the right product and the right people?
- A better question would be – “Would you do this if the person on the other end was your loved one?”
- When emailing your friend with advice, do you worry about open rates and subject lines? I love Jonathan Stark’s take on this.
Thinking about it, I only wish Gina did things, a little differently.
- Start a conversation and ask me about my goals. (and start segmenting me in her email marketing software).
- She could have enticed me to signup for a free mini-course signup prompt and then up-sell this full course. ( Instead of making me an offer for her course right of the bat after signing up for her platform)
- Not send a marketing email without my permission. I never signed up for her marketing emails. This is actually illegal (in Europe) with GDPR laws, for a good reason.
- Seth Godin wrote ‘Permission Marketing’ in 1999. And yet, here we are 21 years later sending marketing material without permission. *sigh*