Please don’t make this VERY common mistake

I see what I’m about to tell you about every day.

And I know it costs people countless millions.

I got an example a few days ago.

Someone in Australia wrote for advice.

You’d recognise the firm’s name instantly – they operate all over the world – but I won’t name it for obvious reasons.

Their problem was simple.

They had decided to send out a monthly newsletter, and wanted help with the copy.

They showed me a draft. It was essentially just stuff about their service.

I was happy to do what they asked and quoted an absurdly low price.

But I felt I had to comment.

I said:

The best results tend not to come from newsletters sent at long intervals. They come from emails that seem more personal and are sent out as often as you have something interesting to say.

What works best is not straight information in the way that you are putting it over.

What people read is stuff that is interesting in itself.

Let’s say you want to tell people how to use your service.

That is useful – but boring to people unless when you write to them they are thinking of using you.

The way to get them interested is to tell a story.

Humanity always beats cold fact. That is why there is all the current (very misleading) obsession with social media.

For example, a friend once worked in sales for a parcel delivery service.

He had a great story about a firm that sent packages which had a ticking clock inside it.

Recipients feared it was a bomb. They called the police and had them destroyed.

You tell stories like that – and then add a line that says something like “If you need to know what to do and what not to do when sending parcels ” – etc.

You need human stories like that to lure people into your messages.

They will get talked about. People will like them. They will like you. They will work.

And I would be amazed if you can’t find a few such stories.

I even gave a real example:

Recently a firm switched from copying my Helpful Ideas and sending them out every two or three days to a monthly newsletter.

Their industry rating slipped from number 1 to number 4 within a year. (They are Interim Management Specialists).

Now that Australian firm may or may not act upon my advice. It may even put them off using me.

But I follow the maxim laid down by David Ogilvy.

“Tell the client what you would do in their shoes”.

If you want to know what I would do in your shoes, I would:

Email your prospects and customers more often.  Making sure every email is helpful and interesting.

And if you’d like our help writing your emails – or with any other part of your marketing – send Gerald ( an email with a subject of ‘No common mistake’.