A Marketing Mistake

Today I want to talk a little bit about a Marketing tactic that doesn't work:  Insulting Your Prospects.   Well duh!  It sounds pretty obvious - you shouldn't try to make your potential clients feel dumb, right?

Well, let me share a recent experience I had that felt more like a big annoyance than an awesome sales tactic.

Several months ago I received an email from a Virtual Assistant who had downloaded one of my free ebooks that went something like this:

 "I would like to make you aware of multiple spelling and grammatical errors throughout your book 'Twitter Tips for Virtual Assistants'.  If you would like to hire me to proof and correct this, here is my contact info...."

For me - this is a huge marketing #FAIL.  Why?  For a few reasons:

1.  You start right out of the gate by insulting your prospect.  When I read that sentence my brain sees it as: "I found errors that you were too dumb to find yourself...but I'm not going to tell you what they are unless you pay me".   Do you think that makes me want to contact this person and pay them for assistance?  Heck no.

2.  You are offering a Service to me that I actually DO for others.  Seriously.  As a fellow VA, I have 2 clients who currently use me solely to proof and edit their writing.  This is like sending an email to a plumber offering to help them with their plumbing. Do you think that plumber would be insulted? Do you think that plumber would be picking up the phone right away to get in touch with this person?  Would you send a Social Media expert an email offering to fix their Social Media? Another, heck no.

3.  It feels like a trap.  Aside from the fact that no one likes to be told "You made a mistake" there is the even worse part of the pitch:  "you have to pay me to find out what it is".  Feels kind of like being backed into a corner and I'm not getting any warm and fuzzy feelings about working with this person.  Remember that potential clients want to work with a VA they know, like, and trust.  Was this a warm and likable e-mail? Do I feel a positive connection to this person? Heck, to-the no.

Don't get me wrong - other people have pointed out errors in my ebook AND on my website AND in my blog posts and I appreciate that immensely!  I do make mistakes (sometimes big ones) and  I fix 'em up myself with a big fat 'thank-you' to whoever pointed them out. But when you are 'pointing out my errors' as a crappy sales tactic and trying to 'trap' me into hiring you? It ain't gonna work.   

A better idea?  This person might have sent me an email to say "Hey Lisa, Thanks so much for your free ebook! I wanted to let you know I found the following errors because I knew you would probably want to fix them.  If in the future, you are looking for someone to proof a book, I am an expert and have great rates!  Here are the things I found..."  

Now THAT might be someone I'm interested in speaking with down the road.

Be careful of your wording when contacting new clients!   Being positive, friendly, and immensely helpful trumps insulting every time.

PS - To the person who wanted me to hire them as an editor:  I hired someone else to edit my ebook. Any spelling and grammatical errors you found were intentional.  I put them there on purpose to add some draaaammmma to my writing. Good luck to you.


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