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Case: MC102510 — E-Mail Shenanigans.

by Uncle “Judge” Alan R. Bechtold

Misleading e-mail subject lines are a pet peeve of mine. I want you to know that right up front. I’ve ranted more than once about deceptive e-mail subject lines. One of my “favorites”: the addition of the word “personal” in the subject line on any message being sent to a list of any size. For any reason.

To state it even more clearly … if an e-mail is being sent to more than one person, it isn’t personal. That’s about as basic as you can get — right?

Because this matter is close to my heart, I’m especially pleased to don my official robes and present to you my first case serving as Judge Uncle Alan on the Media Court bench. It’s an even worse case of subject line subterfuge. Worse than mass-mailed non-personal messages with the word “personal” in their subject lines.

This error in judgment occurred on October 15, 2010. At least, that’s when I received the offending e-mail in question. It was addressed as coming from Matt Bacak.

The subject line was:

“Ticket no 4JK94U - Outstanding Affiliate Commissions”

The e-mail started out like this:

“Hi Alan,

 WOW! THIS IS AMAZING

 G Sneak, the software tool that has
 helped rake in $86,143.08 in less than
 30 days is on fire and getting incredible
 reviews already!

 http://yescheckit.com/GoogleSneak

And it ended like this:

“Even if you are a total newbie with *ZERO*
 previous experience you can get started
 right away*

 http://yescheckit.com/GoogleSneak

 Kind Regards,
Matt Bacak”

Nothing in between was any more personal than that, either. All of it directed me to this Website:

Matt’s a very sharp marketer. I know him and like him personally. I marvel at some of his copywriting and promotional prowess. He’s sent out many emails before and after this one that were dead-on excellent. That only made it worse when I saw this email land in my in-box. It’s just so wrong-headed, I did a couple of double-takes, to make sure it really came from Matt.

It did.

The subject line’s the obvious culprit here. There’s nothing wrong with the overly commercial nature of the e-mail itself. It’s mercifully short and to-the-point and Matt’s not at all shy about sending straight-up offers from time to time. He’s usually an artist at it.

This subject line, however, starts right off slamming a hammer against my forehead. The use of the “Ticket ID” number implies it’s a support issue of some kind. Even when I don’t know the sender, I’ll usually open these to see what they’re about. I might not remember the incident … but I’m sure as hell gonna’ make sure I’m not missing something important. Just in case. I’m pretty sure Matt was banking on me thinking that way.

The fact that the rest of the subject line indicates it’s a matter of commissions waiting to be paid just digs the hole deeper. Who can resist the possibility there are commissions they somehow misplaced? I’ve promoted for Matt before. There might have been a mix-up somewhere.

Upon opening the e-mail, however, it got worse. I instantly saw it had nothing at all to do with any kind of ticket system response or support issue. Or missing commissions.

The email wasn’t related to the subject line in any way. There wasn’t even a cutesy attempt to “tie in” the body of the message to the subject line. Something like “hey – you COULD be getting messages about where to send your money and I set it up as a ticket because this is an emergency – you’ll miss out if you wait any longer.”

Something like that.

With no tie-in whatsoever, however, it’s a completely disjointed communication that directly slams the door on my receptiveness to the sales message itself.

I opened the message. Matt got that part right. But I was instantly turned off the moment I started reading. Turned off by the tactic, and turned off to an offer that I otherwise might have at least paid more attention to.

Listen to the judge. The judge I’m referring to here ain’t me. It’s the market. The market’s tired of this sort of game. They reject this kind of trickery and it turns away more people than it sells.

Now – maybe Matt was thinking this is going out to his list and they all know him, so they’ll know what he’s up to and open the e-mail, to see the trick. Then they can all laugh with him. If that’s Matt’s defense here, I’ll listen – but I ain’t buying it.

What about the newcomers to Matt’s list?

Matt’s a voracious list-builder. He’s bound to have a few hundred or even several thousand newcomers recently added to his list. They’ll receive this and won’t understand what he’s doing here and how it just may be a marketing message in the form of a good-natured jab. An inside joke.

“I know you know what I’m doing, and I know you know, but isn’t it fun the way I made you open the e-mail anyway?” Something like that.

The fact is, I only opened this e-mail because it came from Matt and I know Matt. I’ve been on his list a long time now.

I might even doubt a “Support Ticket” email coming from an unknown source. If they’re from someone I know, however, they damned well better really be responding to a ticket I opened requesting assistance.

That’s why I’m declaring this move a huge tactical blunder and leaving it up to you, dear jury, to decide if I’m right.

Talk among yourselves. Matt – you’re welcome to dive in and argue your case on your behalf.

The clock is ticking.

46 comments to Case: MC102510 — E-Mail Shenanigans.

  • Hi Alan,

    I couldn’t agree more, here are some email subject lines
    that I have saved that had nothing to do with the contents of the email.

    What amazes me is that most marketers have never read the Can-Spam rules. If a subject line is not relevant to the post it is spam! These people could be fined if we wanted to be jerks.

    By the way every one of these marketers have been deleted from my in box no matter who they are.

    For your spamming pleasure…

    *URGENT!* The Best Freebie Ever Offered??
    THANK YOU, Here’s Your VIP Access Link…
    Here’s some free downloads for you.
    Re: Your Order Is Complete – Please Save This Email
    Thankyou, Here’s your download link…
    *URGENT!* The Best Freebie Ever Offered??
    Blase, $197 Paid Product…Download Free
    **Very IMPORTANT** Download This Software Now (Value $97)…
    Download Request: AZZ23N987G – Please save this email!
    FR’EE download inside- a TRUE $147 value!
    Your Download is CONFIRMED
    Thank you, your download is ready…
    Your request has been approved on 8/5/2010
    Re: Your Password
    Confirmed Download Request
    Thanks! Here\’s Your Download Info…
    Re: FREE Download Confirmed
    Thanks..
    Re: Your Order Is Complete – Please Save This Email
    Response Required (Personal)
    (private) You’ve been selected.
    CONFIRMED Product Creation PDF Download

    • Uncle Alan

      Wow! That’s quite a list. Looks a LOT like my in-box on some days. I wish I could just cancel out of a lot of those lists — but it’s my job to keep an eye on ‘em … so I have to waddle through them every day. I recognize some of these subject lines. Others I wish we knew who sent them. Thanks a bunch!

  • Hey Alan,

    Spot on judgment. The other word to characterize this type of marketing is “dishonest”. Honesty has to be right up front in all communication, especially marketing.

    Keep up the good work!

    Fred
    703.203.4648

    • Uncle Alan

      I appreciate that, Fred! It breaks my heart when I see talented people step over the line. That’s another reason why we’ll be calling them on it here. Hopefully we can bring them to their senses. :)

  • The judge got it right. I have removed myself from a number of lists that I have followed for quite some time and have previously bought from for these types of headlines and they are showing up more and more often.

    • Uncle Alan

      Mike! Good hearing from you! It seems the effect this this kind of “trick” might actually be the opposite of what you should do for success, huh? We’ve got three comments here already and two (you and Blase) both point out that this is the kind of thing that gets you to REMOVE from a list.

      It’s interesting to note that a lot of marketers I know have two or more lists they send email to. One is the “hot” list — reserved for the latest, hottest new items and tips and info because they are either new to the list or just bought something, proving they are hot. After x weeks or months of not buying anything, however, people in the “hot” list are moved to a “cold” list or two. These “cold” lists then start getting hammered with tricky headlines, off-the-wall CPA offers…whatever…because the marketer really doesn’t CARE of people on the “cold” list leave or not and it still pulls in the occasional sale they otherwise wouldn’t get.

      It seems to me it would be much better to focus on KEEPING your customers and prospective customers on your “hot” list. Maybe even ramp up the value for those who haven’t yet bought.

      And — really — it’s all ok if honesty rules.

  • Yes, I agree. I was a “member” of Matt Bacak last year for about 3-4 months. The principles of the internet marketing were honest, but the ‘help’ I was getting was dubious. Why? There were these Monday night Q and A calls that were mainly teleseminar. He answered Q after Q with a quick and even similar reply. Kind of hard to follow. Then one Monday he had a Webinar Q and A complete with the answers on the screen and I was blown away and excited. Finally, my hard earned money will be put to good use as I am really learning something. There was so much content it was hard to digest all at once. But…the next Monday it was back to teleseminar. :-( I was outta there.

    • Uncle Alan

      That’s interesting, Cathy. Your experience with the training itself doesn’t sound like it fit you and you did the right thing to quit. I might have suggested, if you were still in, that you try contacting someone and letting them know how you felt about what you received.

      But — this isn’t about the actual content of the courses or training. I know a lot of people who have benefited tremendously from Matt’s trainings, courses and seminars. And no one’s training fits everyone’s style or preferred learning patterns. That’s why it’s so important that you follow leaders you resonate with personally but who also deliver their knowledge in a form that you best can learn from.

      We’re looking here at the method employed in one email to trick you into opening it, without any effort at all put into making sure you’re pleasantly surprised, educated, titillated or something, related to the subject line, in the message itself. It actually struck me as more lazy than deceitful, though the result was deceitful either way, in my opinion.

      Thanks for the feedback!

  • I have received far too many emails from ‘customer support’ ‘paypal’ and the like that for someone like Matt to be involved is really galling.

    Now I just report them as spam, yes I know I signed up for messages but I did not agree to be the victim of a con artist technique.

    Verdict: Guilty as charged.

    • Uncle Alan

      I hear you, Igor! I didn’t like making the judgment myself, but it’s the act we’re judging…not the person. In this case the act was not acceptable. Period. Thanks!

  • Alan, you couldn’t be more on target with this one. I HATE those misleading subject lines and usually just scroll down and unsubscribe immediately. I’m disappointed in our friend, Matt. To his defense, it’s possible that he paid someone to write and send out ads for him-he’s gone through a lot lately. I know he knows better.
    As you said, it may get the email opened, but there’s no relationship-building going on!
    Hugs,
    Kristi

    • Uncle Alan

      Good point, Kristi! I had no idea Matt was facing challenges lately. And it’s entirely possible this is all out-sourced. A lot of marketers do that…especially with their “b” and “c” lists getting more rapid-fire offer-after-offer. It will be interesting to hear Matt’s side.

      Everyone: remember this lesson for sure! Outsourcing your work, if that’s what is happening here, can literally hurt you if you don’t check into what they’re doing for you constantly.

  • Your honor, if it please the court, I’d like to add as evidence the massive new practice of ad swapping. Ad swaps are the single biggest contributor to this problem, because more and more emails are being sent in the name of building up a responsive list.

    An ad swap, for those who are new to this, is when two marketers mail a free offer for each other. The problem with free offers is that once a person is on 20 or more lists, the subject lines are very often identical… “free download” can only be said about 10 different ways…

    Add to that they fact that any given person may be on more than one list already, so the free download you offered Marketer A’s list will not be fresh and new by the time it reaches Marketer C or D’s list…

    I remember a time when my list would only open emails with free download in the title. Now the opposite is true. The worst thing that a marketer with star power like Matt Bacak can do is set an example with these kinds of deceptive subject lines. They may make some sales, but at what cost to his reputation and the hundreds of marketers who imitate him!

    Back to you, yer honor!

    • Uncle Alan

      Micheal! Good to see you check in on this. You brought up something that I hadn’t considered. I hear what you’re saying about getting people to open email. This obviously worked to up the open rate. If only Matt had worked that subject line into the body of the email in some way that pulled it together, it would at least have been relevant then.

  • Tom

    Misleading e-mail subject lines are a pet peeve of mine, too.

    I have emailed back some of the abusers…using subject lines marked “Personal” for instance.

    Note this email to Alan Magliocca:

    This is NOT “personal”

    Why do you persist in this Unethical Marketing????

    And, interesting that you select Bacak.
    Not only did I get fed up with his 3 Clickbank Orders
    per day…but when you Unsubscribe, he (or his people)
    just put you back on the list 2 weeks later. I did this Unsubscribe twice, same result. Now, I just hit the “Spam”—Screw him.

    Some might say He’s better than that…obviously, NOT.

    CHARLES MUTRIE is another Jerk-Off.
    He sent a “Thank You” email with 5 “Bonuses” and all 5
    of the “Bonus” Links were to someone’s Opt-in!

    I’m callin’ them out!

    Enough Rant for now…
    Love and Kisses
    Tom

    • Uncle Alan

      It usually won’t help to reply to these kind of emails. Usually they’re sent from auto-responders and the from email address is just a junk box that no one really looks at except to empty it now and then. But the letter itself is fun. I’m sure it at least made you feel better having sent it.

      Not honoring unsubscribes, in addition to sending emails with misleading subject lines, would indicate a troubling pattern. Your hitting the “SPAM” button in a case like this is justified, if you ask me. Matt’s got every right to email his lists 8 times a day with ClickBank offers, if that’s what he wants to do. But, if you try to cancel using the steps the steps outlined by the marketer (which you did), and they keep sending you more or start up again after a brief pause, you’ve got every right to consider future emails from that address spam.

      This brings to mind the ad-swaps Micheal Savoie just mentioned in his comment. It could be the case here. They’re adding you from an ad-swap list. It’s a problem that needs to be fixed, though, if that’s the case, or the FTC will be “fixing” it for us.

      As for Charles — that’s a pretty low-brow bonus. I agree. But the subject here is Matt’s email. I do want to see us all try and keep this about the ACTs … not the people. Referring to Charles as a “jerk-off” dips into personal attacks and I’d prefer we not go there.

      Thanks for the great comment!

  • Very interesting… a GREAT start for a creative, high-value blog portal…

    I’m going to check in later to see if Matt responds… his team called me to the phone at 0345 AM a few months ago, then apologized profusely…

    Does the docket have space for “Are you SURE you want to leave this page?” and the confusing OK-cancel, okay to cancel, okay don’t cancel rigmarole that follows?

    • Uncle Alan

      Heck yeah, Karridine! We’ll be hitting some outrageous upsell/downsell and exit pop stuff. Even headlines and packaging. I’ll also be bringing forth some GOOD tactics…tactics that work well and do it the right way.

  • Hi Alan,
    Recently I find myself one inch from unsubscribing from Matt’s list for various reasons. But I do know that he provides his subscribers with valuable weekly calls that are archived, and that keeps my trigger finger from shooting him down.
    Moreover, there is another obvious deceipt headline used by far too many marketers that irritates me even more. It goes something like this during a big launch: “Here’s my honest opinion about Super-Duper Product X” or “Don’t buy Super-Duper Product X Until You Read This.” Both are just false headings – ther former because the honest opinion rarely is anything but effusive praise for the product with no caveats, and the latter is just a bonus bubble which should be totally unnecessary if the launch product itself was worth it.
    The bottom line here is that Machiavellian means proliferate the IM field, and kind and honest marketers use deceit and designing methods simply because everyone else is doing it.
    Matt, by and large, is a consumate marketer. I remember in a recent launch he got the software owner to release a few more copies of a product and then blatantly declared that he would snatch up a few of them so you better hurry up. Honest? Yes it was. Trust building and showing a a caring attitude toward his customers? Nope. I felt betrayed by such antics. Do that behind the scenes.
    Matt’s antics in Case: MC102510 are not acceptable. Spammers use that tactic often. His mails are now often relegated to the trash bin, other than his weekly teleconference message.

    • Uncle Alan

      Richard — Matt’s a marketer through-and-through. I respect his capabilities and accomplishments and have no doubt that he delivers value on the other side. Especially when he’s in control of the product he’s selling and it’s not a JV partner’s product he’s just helping sell. Even there, as you pointed out, he’s been known to step in and try and make it better if it turns out not to be.

      As I pointed out, however, that only makes this particular email subject line issue more deplorable on several levels precisely because Matt should know better.

  • I say GUILTY!
    Chop off his head – Down with Email Shenanigans. But at least he was creative about it ;)

    • Uncle Alan

      Jonathan — I appreciate your enthusiasm and your decree is duly noted. Just so you know, we don’t condone capital punishment here in the family — but severe public chastisement can sometimes have an even greater effect. :)

  • Too many marketers forget that we don’t opt in to their lists because we want a ton of sales pitches. We want content — information. We are willing to tolerate an ad sent along with the content as the price we pay for free content.

    When a “newsletter” turns into a stream of sales pitches, I’m outta there.

    John

  • Tom

    BAD NEWS!

    Thought I’d keep in the spirit of the thing!

    Know what I hate most about emails marked “personal”?
    It’s that, when it comes time to send someone something
    that is…it has no priority…in fact, might not even get
    looked at (clutter blindness) or could get pre-screened
    out if someone has an assistant that assumes that this
    is just “another one of those” emails!

    These guys wreck the Trust–not at all Unlike the Twitter
    DM…a great idea, but it didn’t take long for most of us
    to hardly ever, if ever, even look at the Direct Messages!

    So, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, in summation…

    my point here, and I believe it was Alan’s too, is that there should simply be a Trust factor where common sense and courtesy dictates that some things must be “Off Limits.”

    We might all consider that those that violate “the Trust” to stoop to obviously trying to “Trick You” to open their email, should be sent “a message” that this is NOT OK!

    It is not ethical, it is not Trustworthy and therefore…BAD NEWS!

    • Uncle Alan

      Tom — too funny, dude! The “personal” thing is another issue but I have to agree. What really irritates me is that I often do hear from some of these guys with a personal email marked “personal” that is really personal to me. And I’m on the public list to stay in touch with what they’re doing. When a fake “personal” slides into the emailings I tend to see it as really coming from the marketer and open it, and I’m pissed every time I do. Some things should DEFINITELY be off-limits.

  • Charles

    Those eye catching headlines … that’s all it really is and yes I consider it SPAM to.
    - Charged Guilty – Order in the court!

    Can’t wait to see whats to come from Media Court!
    Thanks Uncle Alan er…. Yer Honor, Sir :-)
    Chally

    • Uncle Alan

      You’re welcome, Charles, and your “guilty” verdict is noted. You’re definitely not alone. Not one “not guilty” yet. I have a feeling I know how this is gonna turn out…but I’ll announce the final verdict Friday, October 29.

  • As the economy soured, I found more marketers using questionable tactics. It seemed that they lost their memories and their brains along with their stock prices.

    I’ve just been unsubscribing from them.
    My time is worth more and the constant offers that use a standard message don’t cut it.

    There are lots of really weak programs out there and a few good ones. Marketers need to be careful who and what they associate themselves with.

    It seems some people are in a race to build their lists, while others are working equally hard to destroy theirs.

    I’m still on your list, Alan.

    • Uncle Alan

      Alan — always nice hearing from you! I’m very honored you’re still on my list. And I think the economy is a big part of the picture here. Prior to the meltdown, people were using their home equity like lines of credit to try this program and that program, no matter how expensive, because they believed, as most of us did, that property never goes down in value and when it goes up, it will just add more to pay the balance even if the ever-more-expensive programs they were withdrawing those funds to buy didn’t work.

      Now the ATM is closed. Reality has set in and the sales for most of these guys have plummeted, compared to what they were able to pull in before. So the onslaught of ad-swap emails and JV offers and cross-promotions fired up.

      What’s sad is that it makes the marketer seem desperate…in addition to a bit creepy. How on earth does that help sell more?

      And if everyone reading this hasn’t checked out Alan’s amazing Newsblaze site — yer missing an amazing model to study. It’s at — surprise, surprise — http://www.newsblaze.com.

  • Hi Alan,

    I have notice a similiar trend amongst established IM marketers which is to send more with abreviated message bodies and sensationalized subject lines, it’s a shame.

    I also discussed a similiar topic on The Marketing Professional Blog about loss leader marketing tactics that are questionable as well: http://themarketingprofessional.com/loss-leader-or-lost-leader

    Keep this kind of dialogue going – it’s primo,

    Mark “The Marketing Professional” Brown

    • Uncle Alan

      Brother Mark — your post on the “Lost Leader” (LOVE that term!) is great! And so forward-thinking considering you wrote that back in ’09!

      Forced continuity was huge among the record clubs when I was a kid. And book clubs were built upon it. They managed for years to not only present you with forced continuity but also with an agreement that you MUST make X purchases in X time!

      Fortunately, new FTC law and merchant account rules are very specific. You can no longer call a product or offer “free” if there are postage and handling charges involved and you can’t call them free. You can still do the P&H thing if you want — but you have to be ready to PROVE that this is your actual hard cost for P&H, rather than the “handling” fee that covers the cost of the free package for the marketer. My recommendation? Don’t say it’s free! Point out the value of the offer, then offer them a price that’s super-low in comparison but still covers your cost of production and shipping…and point out that shipping and handling is FREE!

      “This is a $97 product I’ve sold for $97 before, but I’m willing to let you have it for a limited time only for just $5.95 — and I’ll even pay the shipping and handling!”

      That’s still pretty convincing if it’s something you’d like to check out.

  • Hi Alan, Thanks for bringing this issue to your Media Court. There’s definitely something fishy gong on here. Blase covered most of the smell in his excellent list of deceptive ‘subject lines’. It all points back to the glut of emails that are competing for our attention. I think the only reason many of us even bother to stay on the lists of the big dogs is because we don’t want to miss anything important but the sad fact is that many big dogs don’t have anything important to share anymore so they go on promoting the same-o-same-o products which must make sales or they wouldn’t even bother doing it so often.

    Serious marketers need to ‘break it down’, unsubscribe from everyone but the ones who offer consistent value and information. Simplify, adapt, overcome, and conquer spam and information overload once and for all.

    This month I’m closing the case on a dozen lists or more. It’s time to clean the pipes. Thanks Alan, Steve D.

    • Uncle Alan

      Steve — dead-on! I forgot the whole time-management issue that starts overloading so many people struggling to succeed on line, staying on some of these lists in the hope that something will come along that provides help. Dead wood! Clear it out!

  • Yes, Uncle Allan, you´re perfectly right. That´s unfair, unethical marketing, undermining the credibility of this industry that really needs improved image. Since some time everything Matt is promoting is disregarded by me. Guilt by association!
    All The Best,
    Kurt Mattsson

    • Uncle Alan

      Kurt — that’s the other problem and why this Court is so necessary. These tactics bleed over and taint even the most honest and upright marketing efforts, throwing that shadow of doubt over all of them eventually. Everyone should approach ANY advertising message with caution, read everything thoroughly and buy carefully. And call ‘em on it when they get too rambunctious!

      That was fun. I just got to use ANOTHER word from my younger days that you don’t hear much any more — rambunctious — along with shenanigans, all in the same post. Another day’s work well done!

  • Hey Alan,

    You know I’m with you 100% on this. I just got another example bogus subject line from someone this morning (who claims to be straight-laced, upstanding Mr Nice Guy who never does anything wrong or misleading):

    re: look at all the people who…

    First of all, re: means it’s a reply. And I searched over and again for an email that I may have sent to him with the subject line of “look at all the people who…” and I couldn’t find it anywhere.

    Posting a subject line to look like a reply is false and misleading. Period.

    Also, NOTHING in the email lent itself to anything to do with “look at all the people who…”. Look at all the people who do WHAT exactly?

    There are plenty of ways to get people to open and read your email without being misleading.

    Great work Alan! Keep it up.

    Lee Collins

    • Uncle Alan

      I almost replied to your comment with an RE: — and that would have been appropriate. You’re right. If your email client doesn’t automatically put the RE: in your email and you have to add it manually, chances are you’re just trying to game your recipients.

      The big thing that eliminates the need for all these tactics is CREATIVITY.

      I’ve received perhaps 15 emails in the past few days about Anik Singal’s goofs and how much they’ve cost him. It’s a good email. Well-written. An excellent example of quality marketing applied to e-mail. Until I received another 14 of them, all from other people, with the only thing changed being the reference to Anik in the third-person, rather than the first, as Anik did in his original.

      Lots of people are on multiple lists. Know this. Change the emails provided to be yours. Not just the same words from your point of view. Your own words. Re-phrase the offer. Tie it to your own life. Point out something hot in the news that makes the product even more meaningful. SOMETHING besides the same words you got out of the affiliate back office. Sheesh.

      Of course, I know you knew that already, Lee. But ya pulled my chain. Can’t resist a touch of ranting when that happens!

  • Miles Hennis

    I vote guilty as charged, although this is nothing unusual to me, I’m on Matt’s list and I would say probably about 80% of his emails are like the one shown, its not few and far between, it’s a majority. And I might add, he is not the only one guilty of such shenanigans, even newbies are doing it, what a shame, it gives email marketing and internet marketers as a whole a bad reputation and lack of trust. Most just copy and paste and steal others emails and on and on it goes, where will it stop, nobody knows.

    I’ve been getting some emails lately that are confirmations for webinars that I never even registered for.

    I probably delete 90% of the emails in my inbox daily without even reading them, sometimes just who it is from = delete.

    • Uncle Alan

      Good points, Miles. I hate the overall feeling of desperation I get from so many emails these days. The examples you and so many of the other jurors have shown here are proof. A meaningful bond builds business. This is the requirement today.

  • I saw this email as well. I unsubscribe it after I read it. Just wonder why a guru like Matt Bacak, result in using such tatics.

  • Uncle Alan,
    As a learning and growing coopywriter I look at most of the e-mails coming in as a learning experience. But I have noticed an increase of misleading subject lines in my inbox. I don’t object to receiving an e-mail promoting a product as I understand that the marketer is in the process of trying to sell me something and I am in his sales funnel after all.

    However there should be honesty in the e-mail subject lines as well as creativity, There are many ways for you to get your messages opened without being misleading.

    For example in this e-mail Matt could have used;

    Alan I found this to be amazing…

    If I am on your ist and you have bult a relationship with me I would open it to see what you found amaong. In addition the three dots at the end of the line create an air of unfinshed thought and create curiosity.

    And as Blase posted I have seen most of these lines in my own inbox.I woild say the only difference is I use them as practice to see what I can do to improve on them.

    • Uncle Alan

      David — great point. I’m not opposed to commercial messages, either. If you get something for free…you should expect to hear some offers along the way. Business is business. But you gotta get something…even for free. I get all these messages all the time, too. It was tough picking just one. But it was illustrative of the problem for which the solution, as you stated above, David, is a touch of creativity. Write something you would get a kick out of receiving. Make even your sales messages appealing, offering something of value, if only a great laugh to start the day. Then the whole world of compelling possibilities for subject lines opens up to you and some real fun can begin. Without tricks.

  • Curt

    C’mon, this isn’t the first time Matt Bacak has done this. That’s one reason I unsubscribed to his list. Frank Kern is another one that likes to use this tactic – unsubscribe again. Even Joel Comm toes the line but he is so upfront with everything and I get great content from him that I continue to subscribe to his lists.

    Not only are the email subject lines annoying but so is the CONSTANT selling of products with little to no content for free that I can use. This is the difference between marketers like Matt and Frank vs. marketers like Joel and Eric Holmlund.

    I don’t hate the game, I hate the players.

    • Uncle Alan

      Curt — honestly, it took me a long time to narrow in on that one e-mail. From Matt and a bunch of other marketers. This one was just such a perfect illustration of going over the edge, from someone who should know what he’s doing, it popped out and won the prize. Gotta run and prep the final verdict. Enjoy!

  • [...] It has caused me to hit the unsubscribe button on some lists that I have long followed. Usually it is a title that looks like a sales notification or a support request. Now it will cause me to open it as I get those types of emails regularly. “Uncle Alan” has a good post about this topic at his Information Publishing Portal. [...]

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