Something kind of funny happens when you start building an email list.
In the beginning, your list is small enough where you’re well within the bounds of Dunbar’s Number. You probably know most, if not all of the subscribers in your list personally. Or you’ve at least probably interacted with them via email or social media before.
But once you pass the Dunbar limit, you start to attract a lot of people who you have never met IRL before.
And as your list grows and grows, there’s absolutely no way you can ‘know everyone’ who’s on your email list.
Once you cross this chasm, a strange phenomenon starts happening.
You Start To Get Hate Mail
This is the fun part of owning an email list that few people will tell you about.
People – for some reason – will start talking shit to you, via email.
They will voluntarily opt-in for your list. You’ll continue to send emails out just as you’ve been doing. And a tiny percentage of people will arrive at the belief that they are perfectly justified in pointing out your grammatical errors… or tell you why you’re wrong… or they’ll just plain talk shit to you and tell you to go fuck yourself.
This actually happens.
People do this.
And it is hilarious!
I Secretly Wish I Got More Hate Mail
In a moment, I’m going to show you a few examples of some of the hate mail I’ve gotten recently.
But before I do that, I want to quickly explain – to the best of my abilities – why I think this happens.
For starters, there are a lot of stupid people in this world. Some people must think there are robots manning every single business owners inbox?
I’m not sure if it ever occurs to these hate-mailers that there is actually a living, breathing human on the other end of that email they just sent.
As a marketer, I spend an inordinate amount of time caring for my email list… because I recognize that there are living and breathing people with real problems and real hopes and dreams on the other end.
But these hate-mailers don’t play by the same set of rules.
I think they’re probably lonely people.
Very sad people.
My guess is, they’re very unsuccessful… and resentful towards people who do find success in this world.
I mean… have you ever met a successful person who spends most of their day talking shit to people who send marketing emails?
I actually don’t get a ton of hate mail, considering how much I email my list.
I have a great relationship with my list. (I know this because my people buy a lot of stuff from me and they have conversations with me every single day.)
But sometimes I wish I got more hate mail. Because then I’d have more of these idiots to write about.
Alright, enough nattering on…
Let’s reach into the mailbag and take a look at some of the recent hate I’ve gotten.
Exhibit A: Somebody’s Parents Didn’t Love Them…
The other day I wrote an email about a subscriber who asked for a discount on one of my courses. He also said he was planning on getting a refund for another course he bought to pay for mine.
I explained how I don’t ever give out discounts, for any reason.
I thought this was a teachable moment. And I used that email as kind of a Public Service Announcement to let the people on my list know where I stand on this issue.
I also wanted to repel some people who are course junkies – people who buy stuff and never use it and then talk shit about you because ‘that guys stuff didn’t work.’
I don’t want those people in my life.
I like surrounding myself with winners.
So in the email, I basically said:
- I don’t give discounts
- Why did you think it would even be a good idea to ask for a discount?
- If you plan on getting a refund for someone else’s course just to buy mine… what’s going to happen when you want a different course? Are you going to ask me for a refund too?
- An if money is really that tight, get your shit together and then come back and buy. I don’t ever want people going into debt for my stuff. I know I’ll leave sales on the table because I hold that belief, but I’m not looking for people who have a ‘lottery ticket’ mentality.
So I sent that email out.
And the guy who wrote that email actually replied to me and apologized. He said he was going to use this as motivation to get his act together.
And I told him we were cool.
I don’t harbor any ill will towards this person.
I hope he does turn his situation around and achieves a lot of success in life.
I genuinely hope things work out for him, just like I hope all of my subscribers are able to find success in life.
So all was good.
Until some other mouthbreather – who wasn’t even the subject of the email – decided to chime in with a well-reasoned, completely rational response…
WHO HURT YOU!?!?!?!?
What has to happen in your life where you actually respond to a marketing email with those words?
Here’s what I think happened…
That email was meant to turn away people who are predisposed to look for discounts and ask for refunds and who have an entitlement mentality.
This person read my email and got triggered…
This person’s brain short-circuited a little bit.
And they decided to take out all of the frustrations in their life on little ‘ol me.
My response back was a simple, yet elegant…
“Who hurt you?”
I am still awaiting a reply from this offender.
Hopefully, we can be friends one day.
Exhibit B: The Only Person On Earth Who Doesn’t Understand How Memes Work
This next one really made me laugh.
I recently got back from a vacation in Italy. It was a wonderful time.
While I was away, I didn’t email for like 10 days.
Upon my return, I really wanted to have an awesome subject line with a little humor mixed in.
So for that first email back, I went with: I went to Italy and all I got was this case of diabeetus…
Now, there’s a few things going on here:
- This is obviously a play on all those tourist shirts you see that say “Someone I love went to Orlando and all I got was this T-shirt!”
- I wanted to playfully highlight the fact that I turned into Carb-zilla while exploring the motherland.
- I love memes
People liked the email.
Except for one mouthbreather…
Now, this guy is the last of a dying breed. Kind of like how there are some tribes out there in the Amazon who are completely cut off from civilization and still use Stone Age technology, this guy is one of the last people on Earth who doesn’t understand what a meme is.
Case in point…
Where do we even begin with this one?
So much is happening here.
First of all, I love his subtle jab in line #2.
“You’re peddling copywriting expertise…”
What a deliberate choice of words.
As if I’m some gypsy on the street corner trying to fleece your pockets as my partner distracts you with a palm reading.
But I get why he took this jab. I checked out his FB biz page and he only had 20 people who liked it. Ouch!
(Like I said before, failure breeds contempt.)
Anyway, let’s move on…
The next awesome thing about this email is this guy actually thought I didn’t know how to spell the word diabetes.
He actually thought that.
Like, that thought actually registered in his brain.
“No spell check even?”
Um… no bro. Spell check is for losers.
Typos don’t matter. And if you ever wrote copy, you’d know that.
Of course in your copy, you want to remove as many spelling errors as possible. But if you’re writing thousands of words each day, you’ll probably inadvertently let one slip by the goal post. It’s just bound to happen if you’re a real writer.
And you know what?
Nobody will ever give a shit.
(Except for this guy, of course.)
I personally have never lost a sale because of a typo. Most people don’t know how to read or spell anyway.
I’ve often found that the people who get this triggered by typos in any written piece are either (a) bitter because they’ve never written anything great, or (b) to dumb to add anything else to the conversation.
This guy is probably a little bit of both.
Here’s the funniest part about this whole exchange…
He didn’t recognize this mispelling was a clear and obvious reference to a Wilford Brimley meme.
Need I go on?
This meme is probably at least 10 years old.
Get with the times, bro.
Here’s another awesome part:
“I don’t doubt you are very capable in other ways… but I don’t get how a spelling error that egregious slips through.”
Last time I checked, I write about copy and email marketing. You didn’t sign up for my list because you wanted to learn the latest and greatest grammar innovations.
I’ve sold tens of millions of dollars of products in dozens of niches. I’ve spoken on stage multiple times and published a book on email marketing.
But yeah, sure.
I probably can’t teach you anything, just focus on the typos.
And then, the Coup de grâce…
“I had to unsubscribe.”
Bro… you think I care?
People unsubscribe from me every single day.
Get in line, hombre.
Should I cry myself to sleep tonight because you unsubscribed from my list? Am I supposed to be hurt by that?
If you’re going to unsubscribe, just do it and shut the hell up about it.
Was this statement supposed to cut me?
So after reading this, I had to respond…
Do I even need to break that down?
I know this is kind of harsh, but don’t run up in my house and start talkin smack when you don’t know what the hell you’re even talking about.
Don’t @ me bro.
I don’t want people on my list who are this dumb.
Just a personal preference.
My readers are smart people. They are winners in business and in life. They come from all walks of life, but they have a common mission to do something incredible.
Those are the people I wanna help.
And those are the people I care about.
So if you’re going to try and talk shit, you’re gonna get cut down quick.
Here’s what’s really funny about all of this…
All of those blue dots means the email was delivered.
All of those green dots means the email was “read.”
DUDE DIDN’T EVEN READ MY STUFF!!!
He read one email from me before the triggering happened. One email.
And you feel qualified to give me advice on my stuff?
Go home, you’re drunk.
Let This Be A Lesson
If you are the kind of person who actually replies back to marketing emails and talks shit, it’s time to reevaluate your life.
Find a friend.
Go outside and get some fresh air.
Or, maybe take action in your life and find some success.
Because us email marketers don’t need your toxic bullshit.
If you liked this article and want to follow along with my adventures, make sure you grab my brand new book for FREE at www.themakeitrainbook.com.
3 thoughts on “Dear Angry Email Subscriber: Who Hurt You?”
hahahahahahaahahahaha this was great!
thanks Kelan – glad you liked it.
This is hilariously funny. And resonates not just for email copywriting, but also in business full stop!
Best to let these people go quietly and build a list/ tribe of people who are progressive and ‘get’ you. You’ll end up a lot happier too! ( or is that supposed to be ‘as well’ – gotta watch out for the grammar nazis!). :). )