Everyone can type, but not everyone can write…

As any experienced marketer knows, one of the casualties of the digital marketing industry has been the quality of marketing communication. The majority of digital marketing messages don’t communicate at all, let alone persuade.

The reason is simple – the marketing messages are written by typists, not copywriters.

I’ve written about this problem before. It also afflicts photography – but that’s another story.

Today I was again reminded of this sad reality. This time in an email from Facebook – more frequently known as Facecrook.

The From Line said the email was from ‘Lara F. from Facebook‘. Any person writing to you who doesn’t reveal their surname, instantly creates a red flag. Are they a human or a bot? Is this phishing or sp*m? Can they be trusted?

The first sentence said: “I wanted to reach out because I noticed you haven’t yet had a chance to take advantage of your free consultation with our team of Facebook Marketing Experts.

Firstly, only creeps and assailants ‘reach out’ – there is a rule for using the term ‘reach out’ in business:

The sentence is moronic in its meaning. I have had a chance to take advantage of the free (best written FREE) consultation – but I just haven’t bothered to take a chance. I don’t want a consultation – let alone from a ‘team’ of alleged Facebook Marketing Experts – all with initial capitals in their job title.

Lara F. then continues: “We’ll be available to connect during business hours, Monday through Friday.” Again, what does “available to connect” mean? Talk on the phone? Have a video conference call? Chat on Messenger? Swap messages using homing pigeons?

Let’s connect…

And thank you for wanting to do business during business hours – very generous. Why would I want to do business with Lara F. after hours?

She continued: “We know you’re new to Facebook Ads, and that’s okay. You don’t need to prepare anything before the call because we’ll start by:”

Wrong! Thanks for playing.

I’ve been doing Facebook ads since Facebook ads were available. Why make such a false claim? And why is it OK that ‘they’ know I am supposedly new to Facebook ads? Poor Lara F. doesn’t even understand the subject of the sentence she wrote.

Here is what followed “…because we’ll start by:”

  • Learning about your business and typical customers.
  • Understanding your goals and how best to help you.
  • Providing resources tailored to help you grow your business.

If you are “reaching out” to me about my business, wouldn’t you do some homework first? Rule 101 of B2B marketing – understand your customer. If Lara F. doesn’t know about my business and typical customers, why the hell does she assume Facebook is a channel worth using?

And why would I share my company goals with a strange team I’ve never met, or a person without a surname?

The email was only three sentences – but had way more than three fundamental errors. The first sentence started with “I”. The second with “We’ll” and the third with “We”. Not one sentence started with the word ‘you’ or ‘your’ or ‘you’re’. In the three sentences there were six uses of “I”, “we” and “our” – completely abusing “The You Rule” of copywriting. (See Below)

The subject of the message was mainly Facebook, not me the recipient of the message, whose business Lara F. is chasing.

There are two major problems with this email:

  1. It was not written by a copywriter, it was written by a typist with a poor grasp of writing
  2. It relies on marketing automation, which suggests minimal human involvement, hence so many errors or ability for me to respond

I did try to reply to Lara F. but the message didn’t really come from her. It came via a marketing automation system with the address donotreply@facebookmail.com – another giveaway of the low trust and quality of the message and sender.

I’m sure if Lara F. needed surgery, she’d want an experienced surgeon with the requisite skills for the job. She wouldn’t want someone who claims they are a surgeon just because they’ve hung around a casualty ward. So why do digital marketers like Facebook’s Marketing Experts use inexperienced typists to do the valuable (and money-making) task of copywriting, just because the typists hang around digital marketing offices?

So I am pleading with digital marketers. Please use copywriters and save us from wasting our time digesting your word vomit – or leave the industry now. Both outcomes will make the industry healthier. Go on, do it for the good of the industry.

You might find this worth reading too:

The You Rule

The most powerful word in business writing is ‘You’. Far too much business writing is about the writer, the writer’s organisation and the product, service or point of view the writer is trying to sell. Far too little is about the reader, out of whose pocket flows the money that keeps us all employed. Or not, as the case may be.

Make your business writing about the reader. This is especially true if the reader is already a customer. When this is the case, the first two words out of your computer – in almost any form of business writing – should be “Thank you”.

This does two things, both beneficial to your cause:

1. It grants the power in the relationship to the reader. The reader is the patron; you are the supplicant or servant.

2. It reminds the reader that he has a relationship with you or your organisation. It identifies you as someone with whom he has done business in the past, and therefore with whom he may want to do business again.

Here’s a summary of the You Rule:

  1. Write about the reader, not the firm or its products.
  2. When you use the word ‘YOU’, always make it singular.
  3. If you’re writing to customers, open with ‘Thank You’.

And always use you, your, yours, you’ll, you’re way more often than I, we, we’ve, we’ll, us, our, ours, my or mine, throughout your message.

© Malcolm Auld Direct Pty Ltd 2022 | Commercial In Confidence

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