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no more dishonest automated emails

Automated email I recently received: “We were just having coffee the other day, and your name came up.”

Hm. Somehow, I doubt that.

If you’re not sure what an email marketing funnel is, they’re pretty useful. A gift/freebie/opt-in of some kind, such as a checklist, worksheet, ebook, or discount, is given in exchange for an email address. Additional services and offers are pitched via email, private group, whatever the case. You move through the “funnel” in different ways depending on the business type and how much you follow and interact with them.

The end goal is for you to go from passive visitor to being an engaged super-fan (who buys stuff). Nothing wrong with this. It’s marketing.

Done right, email marketing funnels are a very effective method for getting quality leads for your business.

The problem I have is not with sales funnels. It’s when those marketing tactics go off the rails into blatant dishonesty.

Of course, this isn’t exclusive to email funnels, and I’m not criticizing this one company for this one thing. How many “live webinars” have you signed up for that are so obviously recorded and automated, it makes you cringe?

“We believe this is the moment for big brands to take the idea of authenticity seriously. Our data tells us people around the world understand and value the concept.”

~ Geoff Beattie, Fast Company

It isn’t that funnels are bad, or webinars are bad, or any of that. It’s that lying is bad. If it’s not live, don’t say it’s live. And I will overlook one email with an odd, unlikely line about my name coming up over coffee, but 3-4 in a row that all start that way (or with a similar line), and I lose interest. Quickly.

no more dishonest automated emailsI think that the desire for transparency and honesty in business is pretty universal, and studies back me up.

Just because something might be effective, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

Take pop-ups, for example. Most people hate them. Yet, they still pop up everywhere (hahaha. ahem). They keep showing up, because like it or not, they’ve proven to be effective. A lot of tactics that I personally dislike are effective, and I’m not going to knock all of them. I’m not everybody’s target audience or client.

It doesn’t matter if I don’t like what another business does, because if it works for them, that’s great.

Pop-ups aren’t typically dishonest, though. No, I don’t like being in a position where I have to click something like, “No – I hate saving money!” to close a pop-up, but I can live with that. I dislike weird guilt trips from bots who don’t know me, but I don’t feel like they’ve insulted my intelligence completely. For me personally, it’s not exactly a deal-breaker.

Sending out a set time and date for a “live webinar” that is clearly not live, is dishonest. Plain and simple. Sending an automated email that says specific things like, “I was just walking with the CEO earlier, and he asked me about you,” is dishonest.

You shouldn’t have to lie to keep somebody interested in what you’re offering.

Yes, this goes for marketing as well as dating. If you feel like you have to lie, maybe there’s a deeper problem.

For what it’s worth: it’s not dishonest or lying to showcase the benefits of your offer, or promise amazing service, or anything like that. That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s important to be positive about what you offer to your clients, and there’s nothing wrong with focusing on those positives. You don’t have to list out every single potential problem in order to be viewed as “honest”, in my opinion.

Just don’t blatantly lie. If you haven’t yet won any awards, don’t claim to be award-winning. I’ll keep beating this dead horse, but don’t call it a live webinar if it’s a recording. It’s ok to say that it’s not live. We get it – you can’t be everywhere, all the time. Don’t insult our intelligence.

Give your clients, and potential clients, the benefit of the doubt.

Not everybody will like what you have to offer, and that’s ok. Give people the benefit of the doubt, and remember that “your people” will appreciate what you offer. Although there’s more to growing a business than just being yourself, that’s a good start. To thine own self, be true. And honest. And that’s all, folks.

Related reading:

Can You Hear What Your Client Isn’t Saying?

When FOMO Gets In The Way of Business Decisions

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Ashley Ann

Just a little obsessed with website development, content marketing, blogging, and helping you use better strategies to grow your business online. And Reese's cups. Can't forget those.

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