Posts

She scoffed when I told her I write emails…

  grumpy elderly woman with a butterfly necklace and a blazer tucked over her shoulderI was in the Delray Beach Marriott.

I had just wrapped up a solid two-hour networking extravaganza at the famous and insanely valuable Job fair at the end of AWAI’s Bootcamp.

I was in the middle of a gaggle of copywriters waiting for the elevators. We were hyper and jazzed about our careers and the opportunities that were afoot for everyone.

One woman was among us, but not part of the group. She looked like she just came back from the beach and she wanted to know what everyone was so excited about.

She pulled me aside and asked me, “What do you write?”

… and I was still in the groove, marketing myself and trying to stand out as an email copywriter. So I blurted out, “I write emails.”

“Emails??” she scoffed. “I thought you were a real writer… I thought you wrote BOOKS!”

All the other copywriters turned to look and hide their giggles… this lady was really bellowing at me and I could feel my face turning bright red.

I wondered when that damned elevator would show up because this lady was still scowling at me like I was the world’s biggest moron. Emails, indeed!

But, whatever.

I don’t have to impress her.
Because I can tell you for a fact that writing emails is totally awesome.

Just last week I was sending one email a day to my client’s list. We’ve been trying to sell tickets to an yoga retreat in Mexico.

The early bird tickets were $3,500 (and the regular price is $5,000).

Our goal was to sell ten tickets. I’m not a math genius, but I believe doing that would bring in $35,000.

Not bad for a bunch of stinkin’ emails!

The best part is that we sold more than ten. 🙂

I’m just really pleased to get some good results for my clients… and to go to bed knowing that the money that I charge is WELL worth it, because of the ROI that they are getting.

So, did I explain all that to the lady at the elevator?

Of course not!

Not with her giving me the stink eye like that… (Gosh, you’d think she’d be in a better mood after spending the afternoon at the beach!)
Anyway, if you’ve been thinking of using email to increase your sales, give me a call.

Eek! It’s a black widow. Kill it!!!!

I saw a black widow on the way to my car at the airport on Saturday night.

She walked across a parking space, under a black corvette, across the street to a messy web where she snacked on yesterday’s butterfly.

Ever since I moved to New Mexico I have been terrified of black widows.

One of my husband’s friend’s kids got bit by one in his sleep and ever since I heard that story I’ve been expecting a black widow to jump out of the closet, bite my face and lay eggs in my corpse as it cools on the hallway floor.

So my whole being is screaming “Kill it! Kill it! Kill it!!!!!”

And yet, another part of me is going, “Wait. I can’t. I’ve never seen a spider walk across a parking space before. Where is she going? What’s going to happen next? Is she going to hunt? I want to see THAT and take more pictures.”

(Also, I had new boots and I didn’t want to get black widow guts all over the sole… so for a while I thought about running it over with a Smart Cart that someone had left out)

It reminded me of how you and I approach emails in our inbox. We see an email and think “Delete it! Delete it!” and we want to squash that message until it’s good and dead.

The reason I didn’t kill the spider, and the reason that I don’t delete emails that I wind up reading, is that I was curious. This spider doing something unexpected and I was too curious to kill it. I wanted to keep watching because I was being entertained.

Another reason that I didn’t kill the spider was that she was giving me something valuable… she was giving me something to post on my own timeline.

I was posting pictures of her on my Facebook page and people were commenting on it. Killing her after that seemed a little ungrateful.

Plus, she was just being her bad-ass self.

So listen. A lot of people will tell you to send emails less often, because they won’t get read or they might get deleted or your readers will get made because they’ll think you’re sending too often. Don’t listen to those people! They’re wrong and they’re giving you terrible advice.

Like the black widow, you have butterflies to catch and people to eat. You’re going to have to set the trap and weave a little more of your web every day or you will starve.

Let me know if you need help with your emails. I have an open slot for daily emails. When you do it every day you get the best value.

If your business can benefit from daily emails, call me at 505-515-7001 or send me a message at email@mandymarksteiner.com.

Talk to you soon!
Mandy
P.S. Daily emails are incredibly valuable. But you have to do it right. You have to pique curiosity, surprises your reader and makes them want to share it with others.

My nasty bar fight with Ben Settle taught me how to turn batshit-crazy complainers into paying customers

Young pretty businesswoman woman headshot.

This is the face I made when I saw some of Ben’s subject lines

I love meeting famous copywriters in the hotel bar at AWAI’s annual Bootcamp.

But when I saw Ben Settle sitting there, drinking beer with his friends, I felt a surge of anger that I couldn’t ignore.

It was crazy. I’ve never met him in person and yet I’d been holding a grudge against him for months. Maybe more.

I don’t know if he realizes (especially since I was giving him the stink eye right off of the bat), but I am actually his ideal customer. I really get a kick out of writing emails to my list… and people like getting them. I get lots of compliments.

The problem is I don’t always get as many sales from those emails as I need.

(Before I go any further, I have a confession. I have no interest in getting “more hours”. My biggest ambition is to spend less time at my desk and still make more. Is that so wrong?  I have three young children who need a lot of time and attention. If I can just figure out how to use my newsletter to make more money my life will improve in such a dramatic and profound way that it brings tears to my eyes every time I imagine it.)

That’s where Ben Settle enters the picture… he knows how to turn emails into income.

I’ve been getting Ben’s sometimes-more-than-daily emails for at least a year… maybe two. While a lot of small business owners fret about sending emails out too often (they’re afraid of “bombarding” their readers) Ben tells people to write emails much more often and make an offer every time so that you can make money.

He has done very well for himself sending out daily emails where he sells something. Rumor has it that he makes over a half a million dollars a year working fewer hours than I do. He shows people exactly HOW to do it in his newsletter, Email Players, which costs $97 per month.

Ben Settle appears to have the solution to the #1 problem in my life. What could I possibly have against him?

I’ll tell you what!

I was about to fork over $97 for his newsletter when one of his a female readers accused him of not being very welcoming to women, and in general, sounding like a male chauvinist. He said that he looked at his numbers, saw that most of his readers were men, and so he was going to write stuff that appealed to his readers and his buyers… which were men.

Even though I know that it makes perfect sense to look at your numbers and write stuff that appeals to your audience, I was still pissed. What about me? I was willing to pay him month after month, but now I felt overlooked, and underappreciated.

Just so you know, I can hold a grudge. Every time I saw a subject line from him like “How to pick up hot chicks with email” or “Why blonde chicks never get speeding tickets” my fury grew.

There was an email about an upcoming podcast episode titled “The strange (and amusing) parallels between psycho chicks and bad clients.” He and his guest were going to discuss “What copywriters should tell their woman to do when she nags and complains to him while he’s trying to work.”

First of all, that sentence makes it sound like ALL copywriters are men. Which means that I’m not included in the group. That copywriting is just a big old boys club with a giant “No Girls Allowed” sign.

Then there was: “Why entrepreneurs always attract batshit crazy chicks.”

Again, it just makes it sound like ALL entrepreneurs are men. It makes it sound like we live in a world where there are two categories of people; male entrepreneurs and the bat-shit crazy chicks who are attracted to them (… and they’re just sitting around dreaming of the day when they can nag and complain when the men try to work).

I couldn’t stop obsessing!

I see myself as an entrepreneur… would Ben Settle automatically lump me into the “batshit crazy chicks” category?

There was only one way to find out…

I moved my drink into my throwing hand and walked up to his bar stool. Rather than tell him what a big fan I was (which would have been true and polite) I told him that I didn’t read all of his emails and I thought he was deliberately trying to repel me from his list.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Every time I’m on the verge of buying, you annoy me with your sexist subject lines.”

Yup. Those were fightin’ words, and he and his friends stood up and formed a semi-circle around me.

I probably looked aggressive and bitchy, but I felt pretty nervous. I was expecting him to blow me off, embarrass me, or somehow put me into my place.

Instead, he smiled and said, “What specific subject lines piss you off?”

It was my chance to tell him what I really thought, to his face. But I found myself completely thrown off by the look of eager expectation on his face. It was so disarming, that I set my drink gently on the bar. I wouldn’t have to throw it in his ace after all.

Then I told him in as much detail as I could what was going through my mind when I got his emails, and telling him why they were turning me off and making me now buy. He continued to ask questions, and treat me like someone giving valuable feedback (rather than someone trying to start a fight.)

I said that I would go back to my room and show him the exact email that he sent that originally set me off.

But when I got to my computer, I couldn’t remember where the exact email was. Instead, I typed in “chicks” and got 13 emails from him, all with the word “chicks” in the subject line.

I sat down to write my “angry” email, but realized that I had already forgiven him… and was ready to buy his newsletter.

Here’s why:

  • He did something completely rare and unexpected:  He stopped what he was doing to listen carefully to my complaint and actually hear what I had to say. All too often when people get in fights, all they do is try to prove that they are right and the other person is wrong. They’d rather unfriend each other, fire their clients, or they bottle it up for months rather than lay everything on the table and get past it.
  • He didn’t try to tell me that I was wrong.
  • He made it easy to get it off my chest by asking a lot of questions. Normally I find it really difficult to tell people about problems that I have with them. I clam up. This time I was able to say what I needed to say.
  • He stayed calm. Why does that matter? It just let me know that he is successful enough that one complaint isn’t going to bother him.
  • He did something that made me laugh and reminded me why I wanted to be his customer in the first place. As I was telling him off, rather than get upset he seemed pleased that he made me have a reaction, even if it was negative, which I thought was funny. The whole point of marketing is to get people to respond, and he was clearly processing everything through the “how are my readers responding?” filter. Even as I was telling him what I thought was wrong with him, I was still thinking that I want to be more like him.
  • He made me feel important. He listened as if my complaint was actually valuable to him, because it gave him an opportunity to get even better.

The next time one of my customers complains or comes to me with a problem, I’m going to take a page from Ben’s book and do my best to stay calm, listen to the person and use the complaint as an opportunity to improve an area of my business and improve the relationship with that individual.

In many cases, people come up with problems and objections just before they’re ready to buy. If you handle the situation the right way, you can make the sale. (I ended up getting the subscription, and am checking my mailbox for the second issue right now).

How about you? Do you have any tricks for handling complaints? Tell me about them by sending a note at email@mandymarksteiner.com