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Now You’ve Called Me {FIRST_NAME} How Could I Possibly Not Listen?

There is a reason why I regularly highlight what I consider to be both good and bad emails on this blog.

And, no, before you ask, it is not that copying and pasting emails into a blog post is taking the easy way out!

I do so because if you are reading this blog then you are also probably trying to make money online. And if you are trying to make money online then sending emails probably plays a significant role in your day-to-day activities so it is vital that you get it right.

Ok. So here is a headline which caught my attention as soon as I opened my inbox:

{FIRST_NAME} Do You Have a PayPal Account & Want Thousands of people send you $20 each?

Now there are elements I both like and dislike about it:

Let’s get the bad out of the way first and this must be a lesson to everyone who uses an autoresponder or viral mailer.

If you are going to do personalization in your mailing then be sure you get it right because calling me {FIRST_NAME} is not going to make me feel special.

Either ensure that you know the software you are using well enough to ensure the personalization options actually work as you intend them to work or leave this feature well alone.

In my book no first name in the header is better than {FIRST_NAME}. I use Aweber as an auto-responder and it allows me to test my emails by sending a single copy to myself first before I send it out to my entire list – a very handy feature indeed.

I like the fact that this headline asks a question. Question-type headlines can be very effective indeed. In fact the question asked in the above headline is quite good. A little long, perhaps, but it certainly made me want to find out more and go on to open the email.

Unfortunately, as often happens, the email itself left me totally unimpressed.

Have a look for yourself:

{FIRST_NAME} this is not some ‘get rich quick’ or MLM program. This is actual, get paid work!
This system does NOT involve any of the following:

* No Selling Products
* No Gambling or Casinos,
* No Cold Calling,
* No Going To Strange Business Meetings,
* No Sending Emails,
* No Dealing With Mailing Lists,
* No Recruiting,

The email went on to list ten more examples of what it was not about but never once even hinted at what it was about. I’m sorry but if you are pitching me something in an email and you only tell me what the offer is not rather than what it is about then I don’t want to know.

Oh, and calling me {FIRST_NAME} once again doesn’t exactly help either.

Tomorrow I will share an example of a great headline and a great email I received the very same day.



4 Responses to Now You’ve Called Me {FIRST_NAME} How Could I Possibly Not Listen?

  1. Nina Nestoroff UNITED STATES June 28, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Hey Patrick,
    Great post, I know exactly what you mean. I hate when I get those. Unfortunately, the other day I was the victim of too little sleep or something and did that exact thing. I was SO embarrassed when I realized what I’d done.
    I use TrafficWave and it has a proofread feature so I should have caught it. However…

    Anyway, I can’t wait to see your “good” example.

    BTW… I’m extremely envious that you’re spending the weekend in NYC with all those cool people. I should have planned better.

    • Patrick Griffin
      June 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

      Hey Nina…don’t tell the others but I have done the firstname thing myself once or twice. That can be our secret. ;)
      And yes I am super excited about New York…I will keep you all updated on this blog though.
      Thanks for your comment. P.

  2. John P. Bell
    June 29, 2011 at 7:17 am #

    I have also been a victim and perpertrator of the infamous {first_name} headline.
    So now i never use it, i either get straight to the point or start off with a generic ” Hey Guys did you hear….”
    But i guess i could start making my email recipients feel really special and give them a cutsie nickname like ” Sugar Booger ” or something to that effect. ;)

  3. John Bell UNITED STATES June 29, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    LOL, awesome post!

    Whenever I see this it cracks me up.. as if sending emails on safelists wasn’t easy enough the sender won’t even take the time to fix the tokens?

    They are clearly very invested in their business. LOL..

    On a side note I saw that many of you are perpetrators.. lol.. ALWAYS proofread.. sure it’s easier to just not include their name, but including their name returns better results, so if possible include it