Well Played: Language That Retains Leads

Eric and I are both acquaintances of Brian Massey, the Austin-based e-mail marketing expert who bills himself as The Conversion Scientist. Since we met at PubCon, I’d received email updates from him. It had been awhile since I’d gotten any conversion tips from Brian, but I just figured he was busy.

One day, Brian sends out an update noting his absence:

This summer I’ve generated some of the best content ever on the things that make business websites generate more leads and sales… it’s just been a great summer. Through writing, audio and video, I’ve laid out some of my most useful and actionable work, all of it online and all of it open to everyone.

The problem is, I didn’t tell you about it. I haven’t sent out an email all summer.

That was September 7. Brian soon rectified this situation in a big way- I was getting something new from Brian nearly every day, and it was making me crazy. I had to say something, so I hit him up on Twitter.

He responded with concern:

We chatted back and forth for awhile, I assured him it wasn’t the quality of the content, but the frequency of the emails that was bothering me.

And then, the master stroke:

Sliiiiick. Super slick. Because my gut reaction to this tweet took me from being crabby about getting too much of a good thing to saying “whoa there. I’m on the what? I don’t want to quit being special.” I wanted to stay on the -personal- list. Who cares how many people are on it, it’s the -personal- list, and I want to be on it. With one phrase, I felt like an insider. Why would I want to defect to the weekly email when I’m on the good list? The one that must get the best, most timely information, otherwise why even have a special, personal list? That settles it, I am gonna stay on that list and that is THAT.

I’d forgotten about all the email; it wasn’t about email anymore- I felt valued, and I wanted to stay that way. It wasn’t until the next day or so that it really sunk in how precise and effortless the language was there- Brian retained a potential lead with one well-crafted sentence. It’s a trick he’s employed more than once- a recent email about an upcoming conference where he’d be speaking included the line “I’m not supposed to share [a discount code], but, hey, you are a personal acquaintance.” “Acquaintance” sounds professional, but “personal” adds warmth without being phony- a far better option than acting like the members of your mailing list are your buddies. Brian Massey, through his actions, taught me a powerful lesson in captivating an audience and retaining a lead.

Well played, Brian. Well played.