Do people really read emails that start with...

10 replies
... personal stories like: My wife has me out looking for a birthday gift for my little girl... or .... I just got back from a fishing trip with my brother.

These types of emails are becoming quite popular and I can't help but wonder if people do actually read them, especially if the sender is not that well known to the recipient.

The idea is to be friendly, put the recipient at ease and make them feel like a friend having a chat over coffee/beer. I get that.

But does it really work?

Personally, I receive a lot of junk in my inbox just like millions of other marketers. I'm not interested in hearing about some episode in your life that at first glance does not seem to be anything helpful to me. I zap those emails without getting past the first paragraph. In many cases, it's just the first sentence or part thereof.

My impression is that emails that start this way waste people's time.

Do people not want the meat right off the top?

While this method probably works in some cases, I'm beginning to wonder just how well it works. I've received some emails that chat on about their personal lives for about half-3/4 of the message before getting to the actual helpful stuff. And in many cases, it has nothing to do with the personal part, despite how hard some marketers try to make it relevant.

Of all the messages I've received like this, I think I've only read through about 5. Mostly, I read them because the story sounded interesting and I was just looking for a reason not to work - it came as a welcome diversion from the heavy stuff. But that is very rare.

Any thoughts?

Has anyone really tested this approach? Has it been tested by non-guru marketers (ie: people who do not yet have the recognition of people like Joe Vitale and others)? Has it been tested with new lists - subscribers who really don't know you?


#email marketing #emails #people #read #start
  • Profile picture of the author mikecowles
    Hi Sylvia,

    I know Gary Ambrose is a big 'tester' of what emails work and he is a big believer in adding the personal touch so that people will relate jet skiing (his hobby) with him.

    He said that the biggest open rate he had was for a subject line "it's shallawallabingbang time" (or something close to that) It was about his daughter being excited about something, but he tied it into an upcoming promo.

    I think it's an art not a science, but if done right it can seperate you from the names out there and help people to see you as a person and a friend.

    ~Mike Cowles. <><
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    • Profile picture of the author naruq
      Sylviad. I can tell you that these e-mails work. I am not saying that everybody likes to receive these kinds of e-mails. However, In some markets these type of e-mails pulls the reader in to read the rest of the e-mail.

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  • Profile picture of the author seree
    For me, it works if the sender is trusted by me. I'll carefully read about it.

    However, if the sender is a general people, I'll skip at all.

    Just my personal.
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  • Profile picture of the author jsward
    Yer I would not bother reading an email like that either. I like emails that are addressed to me personally
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  • Profile picture of the author richfit
    Certain types of personality types like those sort of emails and other don't even stand a chance of reading them. Me personally don't read those kind of emails unless it's a friend or something I have high rapport with.

    People also love to hear BAD news... They would rather about the car wreck than watch someone get married. Go figure...
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  • Profile picture of the author Ted Kopelli
    Those types of emails get the delete button immediately. I don;t care what you are doing. Why did you write to me? Get to the point aond get on with your fishing trip.

    A few marketers do this all the time, and I for the life of me, do not know why. Surely not to impress me...or are their egos so big that they cannot find a hat to fit.

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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      I don't mind a line or three at the beginning of a newsletter sharing some innocuous moment in the writer's life. Especially if it's amusing.

      Too many writers take a good thing wayyy too far, with way too much personal information...

      "Just got back from the doctor's office and all went well - glad that's over for this year." That's fine with me, shows me the writer has a relatively normal life.

      "Just got back from the doctor's office - [graphic description of prostate exam and lingering discomfort]" Way too much information.

      I look at those opening personal remarks like the small talk at a business meeting. Keep it short and harmless, break the ice, and move on...
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      • Profile picture of the author sylviad
        I agree with you John. There was a series of emails I received from one marketer who did just that... talked about his health (or someone in his family - can't recall) and in subsequent emails he provided an update on the person's progress. Now, why in the world would I want that kind of info about your family?

        Now, an email that starts something like, "just got back from Tahiti and had a fantastic time on the beach. It was a great break from our cold weather in Washington. I'd like to say I was there for relaxation, but I attended a once-in-a-lifetime conference with... (some big guru) that I couldn't pass up." And then get on with why it's something I might want to know. Humor is good, too, as an ice breaker.

        "here we go again?" Sorry if this is a repeat topic. There are huge chunks of time when I do not visit the Forum so I probably did miss any previous discussions. "whining?" Having spent the past few months deleting an increasing number of these types of emails, I just had to ask. Was it just me that found them irritating and time-wasting, or did others feel the same way?

        This "familiarity" approach to emailing your list probably works best in certain niches, but not all. Personally, I'm reluctant to use this technique because I DO find it annoying sometimes. It depends how it is used. The only way to judge whether this works in your case is to try it and see how many people opt-out. Not exactly the best method. Finding out what marketers have discovered in their niches would be a much better approach - to find out if people in your niche have tested and discovered whether or not this method is acceptable to those particular subscribers.

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        • Profile picture of the author tiger325
          The personal touch does work someone who has become very good at it is Travis Sago
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
    Here we go again...

    If you "stick to business" in your emails, people will say you are boring, lack personality, aren't building a relationship, and are just trying to sell stuff.

    If you mention personal things happening in your life, then they'll say you are off topic, unprofessional, wasting their time, etc.

    In other words, no matter what you write, somebody will whine about it.
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