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Why 'Best Buddy' Emails Work So Well. Sometimes.

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If you have been reading my articles for a while, you'll already know that I advocate writing online with a personal, but genuine tone of voice.

Not a dry, corporate voice.

Not a "you're my best buddy" voice.

Time and again I have seen the benefits of using an authentic personal tone.

But recently I have been seeing more and more emails that take the "instant best buddy" approach.


You sign up for some information on a site, and 10 minutes later you receive a breathless email and hear how the author has just taken his kids to the beach, but simply had to rush home and share some terribly important news about an upcoming product launch.

It's tempting to dismiss these emails.

As the recipient, you know perfectly well that the writer is not your buddy.

And you know that his or her breathless excitement is simply a device to generate sales.

But here's the thing.

They work.

But why? If they are so transparent in their purpose, and if their intimacy is so clearly false... why do these emails work so well?

I think there are two answers.

Reason No. 1: People want a better future

In psychological terms, people who respond to "best buddy" emails slip into a state of dissociation. We all dissociate from time to time.

Dissociation is a term with a complex definition. And there are various levels of dissociation.

But here's a good definition of its mildest form:

"Dissociation is a protective mechanism that exists in nearly all people. In its most mild forms, it's a part of escapism—when you get so absorbed into a movie or book that you stop paying attention to your surroundings or body, that's dissociation. Someone may walk up to you and say your name three times and you don't hear them. This is normal."

In the case of reading a sales letter or email, dissociation turns off the usual filters we apply when we objectively assess a sales message.

In other words, we allow ourselves to be carried away by the friendly tone and pace of the sales letter.

We voluntarily turn off our usual filters.

Why? Because we want to listen to a friendly voice which promises us a different and better future.

We allow ourselves to be persuaded, because we want to escape from our current situation.

This is why best buddy emails and sales pages work so well for niches like work-at-home businesses, investment, weight loss, and relationships.

These are all areas where many people want to escape from their current situation, and so they are open to sales messages that promise a better future.

Reason No. 2: Best buddy emails build strong momentum

These emails and sales pages generally have terrific pace.

There is no corporate blah-blah to bog the reader down.

Using an oral style of writing, the authors write simple sentences and short paragraphs.

And they use the best buddy approach to build that easily recognized "breathless pace."

Building momentum is crucial when aiming for high conversion rates. It's something we all need to do, regardless of the writing style we use.

Best buddy emails are ideally suited to building momentum with a fast, simple writing style.

Concluding thoughts...

The best buddy approach works within specific product and service sectors, where readers can easily be tripped into a state of dissociation... because they have problems that the writer promises to solve (weight, debt, etc.).

The approach won't work if you are selling dental insurance, or furniture to businesses.

In fact, it won't work in most cases.

But if we can learn one thing from these emails it is this: Build pace and momentum into every email and sales page you write.

And that lesson can be applied across all businesses.


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Nick Usborne (nickusborne@gmail.com) is a Web writer, author, and coach. Learn more about his work at NickUsborne.com (www.NickUsborne.com). Are you a MarketingProfs Pro member? Replay two of Nick's MarketingProfs virtual seminars, e-Newsletters: Get Attention and Build Loyalty and Developing Quality e-Newsletter Content Without Breaking the Bank.

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