"My 3yo Pooped In The Toilet By Himself" as a Marketing Strategy

by tpw
38 replies
"My 3yo Pooped In The Toilet By Himself" Marketing

Here is a topic for discussion that I would like to see people talk about.

At a certain point, marketers start having sales to mark the personal events or non-events in their lives:
  • My dog learned how to roll over;
  • My kid ran into the table and knocked the vase off the table;
  • My wife bought new shoes;
  • My mother-in-law just went back home after her one-month visit;
  • I should be creeped out, but my boss winked at me today;
  • The cat sprayed my wife's side of the bed instead of mine;
  • My little one slept through the night last night;
  • My neighbor moved out of the neighborhood;
  • Kraft changed the design on its Kraft Mac & Cheese box;
  • They cancelled Barney on my local PBS station; or
  • Geico came up with another funny commercial.

Are you more inclined to open an email that shares someone's personal things in the subject line?

And are you more inclined to buy from someone who is telling you that they need to "pay to replace the vase" or "pay for a family members' wants"?

I see it all of the time, and for myself, I am less inclined to be hooked by such subject lines and sales messages... But maybe I am just an uncaring jerk? :p

So how about you?

What do you think?
#marketing
  • Profile picture of the author theemperor
    Sounds kind of desperate if people are doing that. It doesn't seem like the sort of thing very successful businesses do. It is just a gimmick.

    I can't imagine the brands and products I highly respect such as Market Samurai or Aweber for example doing this. The "Aweber the CEO's cat got stuck on the roof sale"? No I can't imagine this happening.

    Anyway tpw thanks for bringing this subject up it is very interesting . Would like to see other points of view.
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  • Profile picture of the author cashcow
    I'm not more inclined to buy because of someone else's life event. Actually I'm not all that interested in them because I want to know "what's in it for me".

    I don't mind if they throw in some personal stuff in their emails but it doesnt make me "like" them anymore than I did before.

    I know that Kohls and Macys never have to say anything like that in their emails but i always open them
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    • Profile picture of the author gefflong
      Originally Posted by cashcow View Post

      I'm not more inclined to buy because of someone else's life event. Actually I'm not all that interested in them because I want to know "what's in it for me".
      Agreed.


      Originally Posted by cashcow View Post

      I don't mind if they throw in some personal stuff in their emails but it doesnt make me "like" them anymore than I did before.
      Not sure about that. I do tend to buy stuff from people I "know" more than total strangers.


      Originally Posted by cashcow View Post

      I know that Kohls and Macys never have to say anything like that in their emails but i always open them
      In all fairness, Kohls and Macys aren't actual people. I would be perplexed if they sent me their info on their personal lives.
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      • Profile picture of the author tpw
        Originally Posted by gefflong View Post

        Not sure about that. I do tend to buy stuff from people I "know" more than total strangers.

        I do too, but I could care less about some things.

        And when I see personal notes in subject lines, I never open those, because I don't care that much about their personal lives.
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        • Profile picture of the author myob
          It is a gimmick. But like so many other silly marketing gimmicks, this stuff works. We laugh, because we're really laughing at ourselves, or at what other marketers are doing, IMO. But I do happen to use "personal stories" a lot in my own marketing (non-IM, and pen names ).

          People love to hear stories, especially when it's humorously self-deprecating or from the "heart" (lol), and a good story teller can drive better conversions. To add credibility be sure to preface your marketing stories with a proven classic; "The story you are about to hear is true, but the names have been changed to protect the innocent."
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
    Originally Posted by tpw View Post

    I see it all of the time, and for myself, I am less inclined to be hooked by such subject lines and sales messages... But maybe I am just an uncaring jerk? :p
    Well, then that makes two of us.

    I open emails to see what's in it for me!

    ~Bill
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    • Profile picture of the author Ben Armstrong
      Originally Posted by Bill Farnham View Post

      I open emails to see what's in it for me!
      I assume most people are the same.

      I'm on a couple of lists at the moment we're the subject line always includes "I","me" or "my".

      People don't want to hear about you, they want to hear about what you can do for them.

      I respond well to email titles like: "5 things you need to know to grow your business" or "Why isn't your traffic converting?"
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      • Profile picture of the author tpw
        Originally Posted by Ben Armstrong View Post

        People don't want to hear about you, they want to hear about what you can do for them.

        I tell people the same thing when I advise on how to write resource boxes for articles.

        People don't want to know how many awards or degrees you have... They care about one thing and one thing only... People are selfish... They only want to know: What can you do for them?

        Any words in an article resources box that do not directly address that question is wasted space and distractions.
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        • Profile picture of the author Hugh Thyer
          Stories sell. So alluding to a story in the subject line can get a good open rate. Perhaps your kid taking a s*&t isn't going to cut it, but check out Michael Senoff's emails, and Dave Dee's emails and you'll see a lot of stories in action. Hell, even check out the ones I write for my clients!

          Long and short...Stories work. Tell them in your emails.

          Different people respond to different things, so while you may not open it, people who ignore other emails might jump on it.
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  • Profile picture of the author gefflong
    I don't know. Sometimes it may work for a product that I've had my eye on. The reason for the sale itself may not matter all that much... just the fact that it's on sale.

    For example, if I've been wanting to buy something that costs $197 and I've been on the fence about it or not wanting to spend that much... And all the sudden the seller shoots me an email that says he and his wife just found out they were pregnant so they are going to have the product on a "baby sale" for $97 for the next 3 days...

    well...

    I don't really care so much that they are pregnant, but at $97, I'm going to grab that shiny thing I've had my eye on.
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    • Profile picture of the author tpw
      Originally Posted by gefflong View Post

      I don't know. Sometimes it may work for a product that I've had my eye on. The reason for the sale itself may not matter all that much... just the fact that it's on sale.

      For example, if I've been wanting to buy something that costs $197 and I've been on the fence about it or not wanting to spend that much... And all the sudden the seller shoots me an email that says he and his wife just found out they were pregnant so they are going to have the product on a "baby sale" for $97 for the next 3 days...

      well...

      I don't really care so much that they are pregnant, but at $97, I'm going to grab that shiny thing I've had my eye on.

      That goes to Bill's point: What Is In It For Me?

      But if he did not mention the sale in the subject line, would you have opened the mail based on the upcoming baby?
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      • Profile picture of the author gefflong
        Originally Posted by tpw View Post

        That goes to Bill's point: What Is In It For Me?

        But if he did not mention the sale in the subject line, would you have opened the mail based on the upcoming baby?
        Depends on if it was someone I followed all the time or not...

        Most times, probably not. But if it also mentioned a discount... then maybe.

        But again... it's WIIFM.
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  • Profile picture of the author BlakeM
    Originally Posted by tpw View Post

    "My 3yo Pooped In The Toilet By Himself" Marketing

    Here is a topic for discussion that I would like to see people talk about.

    At a certain point, marketers start having sales to mark the personal events or non-events in their lives:
    • My dog learned how to roll over;
    • My kid ran into the table and knocked the vase off the table;
    • My wife bought new shoes;
    • My mother-in-law just went back home after her one-month visit;
    • I should be creeped out, but my boss winked at me today;
    • The cat sprayed my wife's side of the bed instead of mine;
    • My little one slept through the night last night;
    • My neighbor moved out of the neighborhood;
    • Kraft changed the design on its Kraft Mac & Cheese box;
    • They cancelled Barney on my local PBS station; or
    • Geico came up with another funny commercial.

    Are you more inclined to open an email that shares someone's personal things in the subject line?

    And are you more inclined to buy from someone who is telling you that they need to "pay to replace the vase" or "pay for a family members' wants"?

    I see it all of the time, and for myself, I am less inclined to be hooked by such subject lines and sales messages... But maybe I am just an uncaring jerk? :p

    So how about you?

    What do you think?
    Not a huge fan. In fact, I almost didn't click on this thread, but just got a little curious (:p). At the same time, at least its less annoying than getting multiple emails with the same subject lines like...

    "This was WSO of the Day! An absolute MUST See!"

    If they work it in with an actual IM subject (or whatever niche the list is for) than I'm good with it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
    Banned
    In my opinion, it is a pretty weak marketing tactic. I'll take the thread title as an example. So your three year old pooped in a toilet? I don't give a damn. Its your kid, not mine. If anything, I'll trash the email instead of ever opening it. Of course, I'm a lot less sensitive to other people's stories than most.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
    Bill,
    You are slowly starting to overlap Jared's territory with all the $hitty threads
    you've started here lately. Don't forget he is the Godson of The Godfather
    and may not give you much, if any, warning before he levels the playing feild
    and starts launching cow dun your way!


    Just saying,
    Have a Great Day!
    Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author Tanner
    Well I can speak from personal experience on this as I'm one of those Marketers who recently sent out one of those "personal story offers" for the first time.

    My wife and I just found out we were having a baby (our first), and I was excited and put together a special "we're having a baby" offer.

    My email subject line for this offer was "Holy Crap...I'm Having A Baby"

    And my open rate for that email was 41.3% which ain't to shabby.

    My open rates are for the most part always in the 20 - 30% range, with the occasional high and low one.

    I'll admit I was very surprised it was that high especially with no benefit mentioned, but also certainly am not going to complain about it.

    Was I being desperate to create this offer...Not at all. I was simply excited, got an idea and made a special offer that was tied into the news of our pregnancy.

    Nothing dirty or underhanded about it.

    Tanner
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
    Tanner,
    Congrats to you the Wife and the soon to be!
    Boy? Girl?

    Have a Great Day!
    Michael
    PS, Sorry for the Hi-Jack Bill.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tanner
      Originally Posted by Michael Mayo View Post

      Tanner,
      Congrats to you the Wife and the soon to be!
      Boy? Girl?

      Have a Great Day!
      Michael
      PS, Sorry for the Hi-Jack Bill.
      Thanks Michael,

      Too early to tell though. She's only 7 weeks along right now. I'm hoping for a Boy!!!

      Bill...I'm also sorry for the hijack =)
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      • Profile picture of the author DR's Fynest
        Bill this is an excellent topic for discussion! Thanks a lot for bringing it up!

        I've seen a few of these hit my inbox and all the while I thought I was alone thinking, "Uhhh, yeaaaah... Not really interested in that."

        It really got me thinking if I was a jerk for thinking that way. Now I see it's fairly common.

        I don't mind it at all, though, if it's someone that I follow and they're sending an email because they are GENUINELY happy about an event in their life such as their daughter graduating from college.

        What I don't like is if they follow that up with the, "Since I'm so happy my daughter is going places in life, I'm having a sale of 10 of my products for a ridiculously discounted price!" :rolleyes:
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        • Profile picture of the author ExRat
          Hi tpw,

          +1 for the thread title.

          Are you more inclined to open an email that shares someone's personal things in the subject line?

          And are you more inclined to buy from someone who is telling you that they need to "pay to replace the vase" or "pay for a family members' wants"?

          I see it all of the time, and for myself, I am less inclined to be hooked by such subject lines and sales messages... But maybe I am just an uncaring jerk?
          I don't normally like the second one (pay to replace the vase) - I don't want them to announce that it's a sales email in the title and historically, I've received too many of those type of emails where the story within sounds too much like BS purely to preface a sales pitch with a personal sob-story, to try and deflect attention from the pitch (to try and 'soften the blow' of the hard pitch).

          But for example, regarding opening this thread and it's title, it's entirely dependent on whether the person has established trust. If Joe Blow used this title, I wouldn't appreciate it and probably wouldn't open it, or might open it already negatively biased.

          Because I have never opened a thread by you and found it to be a complete waste of time (you apply some thought to the threads that you start, you don't open new threads willy-nilly on a whim) then I am interested to see what the curious title leads to because you have previously established trust.

          That makes a big difference, in fact it's key.

          So I'm seconding DR's fynest's post -

          I don't mind it at all, though, if it's someone that I follow and they're sending an email because they are GENUINELY happy about an event in their life such as their daughter graduating from college.

          What I don't like is if they follow that up with the, "Since I'm so happy my daughter is going places in life, I'm having a sale of 10 of my products for a ridiculously discounted price!"
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  • Profile picture of the author J Bold
    -1 for the thread title.

    Do we really need a thread title about fecal matter?

    ffs
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    • Profile picture of the author tpw
      Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

      (you don't open new threads willy-nilly on a whim)

      I always post on a whim, but I always have something to say when I do. :p


      Originally Posted by myob View Post

      But I do happen to use "personal stories" a lot in my own marketing (non-IM, and pen names ).

      People love to hear stories, especially when it's humorously self-deprecating or from the "heart" (lol), and a good story teller can drive better conversions.

      I use personal stories in my articles and sales messages, but rarely in my subject lines or article titles.

      In fact, I submitted an exclusive article last night -- to a website that shall remain nameless for now -- that was talking about the power of storytelling, even in a non-fiction article.


      Originally Posted by redicelander View Post

      -1 for the thread title.

      Do we really need a thread title about fecal matter?

      ffs

      Well, not usually...

      This post was inspired by something I saw in my email box today. And when I was thinking about making the post, my 3yo was sitting on the toilet for the first time telling me he needed to go potty.

      So to be perfectly honest, the subject line of this post was made about a milestone in my household, to question the wisdom of others doing the same in their emails.



      p.s. I have only ever used poop in a subject line one other time, and it was there to poke fun at a buddy of mine who said, "People wake up in the morning and tell themselves they are going to go to the WF to find out why poop stinks."

      I thought that would make a good conversation starter, but even the Off-Topic mod thought it was too much, and he deleted my post.
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  • Profile picture of the author Targeted Traffic
    At times..and depending on the situation presented I guess it might work...but most of the time I would think it's something spammy
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  • Profile picture of the author AmandaT
    It really depends for me... it can be a really good hook for me to actually look at a product rather than passing it over. I forget who it was now... but a Warrior was doing a firesale to earn money for their wedding. Normally I probably wouldn't have taken a look at the WSO, but knowing how much weddings cost, I took a look and ended up deciding it was worth the money.

    I didn't buy it because of the story, I looked at it because of the story and decided to buy it. Also, if it was someone I followed a lot, there is a good chance I would buy it... It also depends on the story though. None of those would have triggered me to take a look, but the mention of saving money for a wedding, with my wedding still fresh in my mind, got me looking.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rufus Steele
      So it seems the "sort of average response" is some people would open them and some people wouldn't.

      But wouldn't the open rate depend on what niche / market you're emailing to and how 'hard bitten' the target market is?

      If someone who was on a list that was in the IM 'niche' got an email with the sort of title "My mom in law just left after her one month long visit - suddenly I discovered the secret to poop loads of traffic" I'd guess that they'd move right on and be too thick skinned and 'oversold to' to even consider opening it and wasting their valuable time.

      In comparison, someone in the cat niche say who got an email with the title "My mom in law just left after her one month long visit and you will never believe what our cat did the moment the door shut!" is more likely to get a higher open rate - based on a natural affinity to the subject nature and the likelihood that they are less oversold than the main hardcore niches.
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      • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
        I'm surprised people are not hammering the usual "Test it, and if it works, who cares?" replies here.

        I find it inappropriate when people talk about their cancer diagnosis, their kids' birthdays, their pets, their vacation plans, their comments on national affairs or their latest cool car purchase in their business email. Why should I care?

        But what can I do about it? In only one case can I remember unsubscribing from someone's list because of it - Clayton Makepeace. His constant references to "the redhead" infuriated me for some reason and he lost me forever, despite the clear value in the professional part of his emails.

        I suspect there is an introvert/extrovert split in how people respond to personal stories in business emails. For introverts, sharing personal information with strangers doesn't come naturally, and they tend not to like or respect blabbermouths very much.

        Marcia Yudkin
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        • Profile picture of the author cashcow
          Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

          I find it inappropriate when people talk about their cancer diagnosis, their kids' birthdays, their pets, their vacation plans, their comments on national affairs or their latest cool car purchase in their business email. Why should I care?
          I actually got an email a while back from someone who was talking about how they were just diagnosed with cancer and they were having some kind of a sale and it made me depressed for the whole day. I wished I never opened that email.

          Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

          I suspect there is an introvert/extrovert split in how people respond to personal stories in business emails. For introverts, sharing personal information with strangers doesn't come naturally, and they tend not to like or respect blabbermouths very much.
          You may be on to something here, I'm an introvert so perhaps that is why I dont really care for those types of personal emails.

          I do agree with the posts above that stories sell, but I think that works better when it is related to product that is being promoted - you know the story somehow makes you feel like you need the product or helps you feel the pain of not buying the product. But I dont think that "my 3 year old pooped so I'm having a sale" is really a story, is it?

          In all fairness, Kohls and Macys aren't actual people. I would be perplexed if they sent me their info on their personal lives.
          Good point. LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Well, here is another topic where you'll NOT get the
    "correct" answer from marketers. Marketers
    are the worst people to ask these types of
    questions.

    But this is all based on the principle that if
    you tell them WHY then they'll BUY.

    As far as how personal you get will all depend
    on your list and your personality--assumed
    or otherwise.

    But then this is a case of nobody admits to buying
    and reading the tabloids yet these papers make so
    much money???

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author Ansar Pasha
    Banned
    I'm with Ray on this one - the "reason why" is the driving force behind the effectiveness of personality based marketing.

    I do think some marketers go over the top, but at the same time, you're thinking of it from a "marketers" perspective...

    ... in other words, YOU might think it's silly but the majority of people aren't savvy enough to realize it's a marketing tactic.

    Ansar
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  • Profile picture of the author Marc Rodill
    Originally Posted by tpw View Post

    What do you think?
    Personal stories? I would never "fall for that" sneaky and slimy marketing tactic in a million years. What do you think, I'm dense? After all, I'm a perfectly logical and rational human being. I have an education. Don't feed me that recess time nonsense. Just give me the bottom-line. Right? If you say so...

    As usual, there is a huge divide between what people say they do... and what they actually do. The proof is in the pudding with Blake who "almost" didn't click and then you've got Michael's sincere and genuine interest in Tanner's future fatherhood. It's only natural. Now, is Michael more prone to buying something from you with the knowledge that you're a father-to-be? Who knows. If he's a father, probably. But he knows of you. That's key.

    A very popular marketer who we all know once said in the infomercial business... look. We're putting out this show. We're expecting X number of calls. At the end of the day, how many almost picked up the phone and called? How many didn't call but almost did? That almost can be the difference between a winner and a loser. Just think about what adding one "s" to a word in your headline can do, for example. As marketer's, we all deal extensively with the almost.

    As far as the Makepeace thing goes, the fact that someone unsubscribes from your list after sharing your personal stories is hardly a rock solid foundation to base any of your decisions. I hear it all the time, many people get more unsubscribes from their list when they send out 100% free content, than when they send a pitch. I'm not surprised.

    It's the same thing as coming up with a product to sell. Let's say you have an idea. Are you going to go around asking people, "Would you buy this?" You could, and many people do. But it's only one approach. Would you be better off making them an offer to actually take out their wallet and buy? Probably. But which would you bet on? Which are you currently betting on by investing your time, money and energy right now?

    Plus, like Ansar said, if you're taking it from a marketer's perspective, we all like to think we're immune to marketing. But I take the stance that we're all just as interested in other people as we are about what's in it for us. It just depends on whose better at holding our attention long enough, until the time comes to say, "Here, try this on me, risk-free."

    If you guys think you're somehow different from the average person, just simple "nuts and bolts" robots, only interested in facts and figures, lacking emotion and empathy, then I call your bluff and raise you one ham sandwich. Wheat bread, two slices Velveeta, toasted... and hold the mustard please.

    Marc

    P. S. It does help to be tasteful. Unlike the title of this thread.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    Hot damn... Marcus Rodillus.

    On fiyah.
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    • Profile picture of the author ThomasOMalley
      As you know, stories sell. The right personal stories sell.

      Joe Vitale has been very successful using personal stories in emails to his list.

      I am starting to use them in my copy with excellent results.

      Best,

      Thomas O'Malley
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  • Profile picture of the author kolbywhite28
    What a fantastic niche idea. I have been dying to get into this niche for the longest time
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    In my wedding photography industry, I see a lot of that on photographer's "about me" pages. Silly, quirky, non-wedding related mentions such as, and I paraphrase here, "I can wiggle my ears", "I enjoy changing my baby's soiled diapers", "I'm a big fan of the cartoon network", "I love eating cupcakes with sprinkles"...

    I know most photographers don't really understand marketing and look to see what the next guy's doing and simply copy that. You can't look at what a photographer keeps doing and think "must be working" because as a group they're notorious for perpetually doing things without knowing if it's working, because they think, "well at least I'm getting my name out there and/or building my brand."

    And in these cases there's a thought going around that you want to connect with brides based on "personality" and this, they feel, does it. Can't say I agree because none of this tells a bride what's so amazing about one's photos that you should hire them, totally irrelevant points to make for sure, yet that doesn't seem to stop them from getting work.

    There's also the approach that many photographers copy of talking about how much they love their spouse, how many kids they have, how much they love photography, their passion for weddings, how they were born with a camera in their hands, yadda yadda. I see lots of that too.

    Telling personal stories is supposed to be effective when the stories are allegories for pitching to a potential client or overcoming an objection, but that's not the case here. Their websites' goal is to get the bride to contact them, that's it.

    So what do you make of all this? Is it that brides don't care? Or is it that it works?
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    • Profile picture of the author packerfan
      For me personally I'm much more likely to contact someone I connect with. If I visit your about page and it says something like...

      I'm John Smith, I've shot 1,000 weddings in the past 9 years. My clients include...

      I'm going to probably fall asleep before getting to anything relevant.

      If your page keeps my interest, maybe I'll give you a call
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      Nothing to see here

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      • Profile picture of the author misterme
        Originally Posted by packerfan View Post

        For me personally I'm much more likely to contact someone I connect with. If I visit your about page and it says something like...

        I'm John Smith, I've shot 1,000 weddings in the past 9 years. My clients include...

        I'm going to probably fall asleep before getting to anything relevant.

        If your page keeps my interest, maybe I'll give you a call
        On the other hand, when I read someone enjoys handling soiled diapers and their stomach makes strange noises, I'm inclined to not want them to handle anything I may touch, like my photos. And I'm concerned their gastronomical sounds may prove embarrassing at my wedding.

        And maybe seeing some sort of resume would give confidence because for many brides, figuring out everything about a wedding requires them becoming a kind of instant expert. So they look for quick clues about the vendor's qualifications.

        So I, along with the OP, are trying to see if this type of marketing works well, and why, or is it the domain of poor marketers who don't know what else to come up with? Which means it's not about personal opinions but knowledge of consumer behavior and marketing. The question is: Does it drive conversions, or turn off more than it turns on?
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Faber
    If you ran a potty training site, golden.....

    otherwise, well, poop.
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    For Killer Marketing Tips that Will Grow Your Business Follow Me on Twitter Now
    After all, you're probably following a few hundred people already that aren't doing squat for you.....
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