WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE TWO EMAIL SUBJECT LINES?
1) QuickBooks Tips & Tricks!
2) It's official! We're rewarding you with Unlimited Digital Access for 39 cents a week
The difference is this: one is disingenuous BS, and the other is spam.
The spam subject line is straightforward and honest. It's offering tips on using QuickBooks.
The disingenuous BS comes from a major national newspaper.
They're pretending that making you pay for their service is a "reward."
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, STOP PRETENDING YOUR OFFERS ARE GOLD!
This is an ongoing problem in advertising.
(Do you sense a screed coming on?)
In radio, you see it all the time from small, local advertisers who think their cheesy enticements are somehow the magic carrot that will have listeners flocking to their business.
When I was working with local advertisers, and a client would come to us with an "offer" like "come spend thousands of dollars and we'll enter you into a raffle for a cheap item you don't really care about," the conversation would often go like this:
"Would this offer make you want to go into someone else's business?"
"Then why should it make anyone else want to go into your business?"
IN EMAIL, CHEESEBALL OFFERS ARE AN EPIDEMIC
Even major national advertisers are acting like their disingenuous come-ons are the Emerald City of enticing value.
I've had to unsubscribe from the emails for a major national office supply retailer.
They routinely would send me offers loaded with ALL CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!
And a quick search of the internet would prove that the "deep discounts" being advertised were no better than anyone else's retail pricing for the identical product.
It became insulting and has left me with a sour taste for the brand.
I now find them suspicious and less than honorable.
THIS IS A PROBLEM
When it begins to feel like there just isn't a whole lot of difference between "reputable" advertisers and spammers, it's bad enough.
It's worse when it feels like the spammers are somehow more honorable when it comes to the honesty of their sales message.
They're constantly selling me benefits.
They're never selling me discounts.
They're certainly never selling me fee-based access to something as a "reward."
It's hard to believe that it's possible to even say this.
WHY ARE SPAMMERS THE ONES WHO LOOK LIKE THEY'RE TAKING THE HIGH ROAD?
Why are legitimate, national advertisers looking like spammers?
Who's in charge of all this?
Where is the Division Of No BS Advertising when you need it?
Is it possible that someone of a certain age at the top is saying, "Let's put the kids in charge. They understand all this digital stuff better than we do."
If so, they certainly don't understand the human psyche when it comes to persuasion, that's for sure.
This screed brought to you by unlimited digital access to Hot Shots, the enormously expensive weekly screed about million-dollar profit secrets for small-business owners. Available free, as usual.
Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.