You guys ever buy a new car?
I bought a Prius in September—eight months ago, mind you—and I’m still shocked at what some companies are sending me in the mail and trying to scam me with.
Since buying things like cars and houses are public record in the US, you could probably find out everything about the transaction between me and my Prius: how much I paid for it, what year it was made in, and what color it is.
Heck, you might even be able to find out its VIN and which dealership I went to for my last oil change.
So the fact that I purchased a car is fair game for anyone willing to dig through public records to advertise to me.
Which is fair enough. I’m all about targeting your marketing efforts to your ideal audience based on any and all information available.
But what’s really crazy is the fear tactics these companies get away with writing… on the envelope!!!
Alright, so that information in the bottom corner is technically just the law for interfering with mail that doesn’t belong to you… but do you see that scare tactic they’re putting in place?!?
I mean, I knew exactly what this company was doing… saw right through it. And you know what the first piece of mail I opened from that day’s pile was?
And since it’s been eight months since the purchase of the car, things have slowed down a bit.
But in the beginning, I got at least three new pieces of mail every single week with a WARNING: YOUR VEHICLE MAY NOT BE COVERED IN THE CASE OF AN ACCIDENT.
Helloooo….. scary, much?
(After dropping thousands of dollars on a vehicle, I think so.)
Sure, I guess it’s technically possible that I “may not” have insurance—but the dealer wouldn’t let me officially buy the car until I had a printable insurance card for my specific car from my insurance company.
I spent at least 45 minutes in the dealership making it happen. I have freaking car insurance.
But even though I KNOW I’m covered, when I read the covers of those envelopes and the greetings of those letters, there’s still a quick tightening in my chest. There’s still a twinge of worry that there might be something wrong and I might face an all-out financial and legal catastrophe if I get in an accident.
There’s still the initiation of that fight or flight response in my body that I must react to and deal with, even if I can identify the intellectual reason behind it while it’s happening.
Because as smart as we are for being able to reverse-engineer these kinds of reactions, it still doesn’t make us any less human. Those reactions still happen… even to us.
So this isn’t so much of a ‘teaching’ post as it is a rant on how well this copywriting stuff I’m teaching you works.
And if unethical companies are using it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be using it too. I mean, at least you’ll be using it to do good in the world.
Plus, these companies totally piss me off and I really wanted to rant about it publicly. (But do you blame me?!?)
I’ll never condone doing anything unethical with your copywriting, but I wanted to take the opportunity to shine a light on exactly how effective this stuff is in prompting people to action.
So thanks for listening to my rant.
Now go out and be those smart, ethical marketers and business people I know you are.