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10 Things I Learned From My Spam Folder Today

On a whim, I opened my spam folder today to see if I’ve been missing anything.

The answer is I’ve missed a LOT. Here are some of the highlights…

1: Text-to-speech videos are annoying.

Not all spam is spam. Sometimes someone you recognize turns up in your spam folder. In this email, I clicked the link to the video he recommended about “What So-in-so taught Such-in-such About Success.

The video was only 2 1/2  minutes long but I couldn’t make it past the first 30 seconds. Stock photography slides and text-to-speech software made it unbearable to watch. If he had used a real voice to narrate the video, I likely would have stayed to the end.

2: You Can Buy an Award from a Well-Known Magazine

I am soooo tempted to tell you the name of this business magazine, but let’s just say that you almost certainly have heard of it. In this email, they are giving helpful instructions on how to apply for their Best in Business Awards.

You can choose from 37 (yes, THIRTY-SEVEN) different industry categories in 3 different company stage categories and 3 different company size categories. You can apply to as many categories as you like, and each application costs you just $345 dollars. Oh yes, and they will be choosing multiple winners in each category, so your odds of winning something are pretty good. In fact, I suspect EVERYONE wins.

I took a look at the application – at 3 pages long it’s not exactly extensive or comprehensive. Something tells me they are far more interested in collecting application fees than finding the Best Businesses. And yet any company that buys wins one of these awards will be able to flaunt it for recognition, brand exposure and credibility purposes.

Yes, I know this has probably been happening for decades and maybe I’ve been a little naïve, but somehow I’ve thought these awards were supposed to MEAN something.

3: I Won a Free Lottery Ticket



4: Some Marketers Think I Don’t Have a Life

I’ve noticed that some (many?) marketers vastly overestimate my attention span, free time and interest in watching their sales video. I’m reminded of a Mark Twain quote: “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one.”

Marketers: take the time to remove the drivel and fluff and sharpen your message into something I WANT to watch or read. Please.

Here’s the email that caught my attention: “We’re about to start the LIVE training where you’ll see first-hand how you can tap into email lists of 150 MILLION consumers and target any offer you wish.”

Yes, I know it sounds too good to be true, but I was curious, so I clicked the link.

What I found was a headline and a recorded presentation 2 hours and 40 minutes long. Nothing else. No bullet points to entice me to watch the confounded video. No copy to tell me why I need or want to invest nearly 3 hours watching this behemoth. Just a counter telling me I had 7 days, 10 hours and 51 minutes to… do something. I’m not sure what.

If you want me to watch your sales video then you’d better give me some great reasons WHY I want to watch it. Tell me what I’m going to learn in the video, what benefits I’m going to get even if I don’t take your offer, and yes, tell me there will be an offer, too. Even though I already know that, I like you to come clean about it upfront because then I can start to believe the other things you’ve told me, too.

And another thing – I GUARANTEE that no recorded sales video needs to be 2 hours and 40 minutes long. Cut the beginning introductory B.S., get right into the meat, give me 3 to 10 awesome how-to’s that I can immediately use and then make your offer. Tell me up front what I’ll discover in your video, make it enticing, keep the video to 60 minutes or less and I promise that unless my house is on fire, I’ll watch it.

5: Turning Affirmations into Questions can Speed Your Success

This is something I already knew but I appreciate the reminder.

When you say, “I am thin and healthy,” your mind naturally argues with your affirmations like this: “That’s a lie! I’m fat and sick and I know it!”

Instead of making statements, ask yourself questions such as, “Why is it so easy for me to be thin and healthy?”

When you ask the question, your mind works with you to find the answers. “Because I eat small portions and I take walks every day!”

6: Bootcamps Are Still Awesomely Profitable

Okay, I’ll admit upfront that this email was poorly written but it still got the message across.

Essentially a big name – a VERY big name – in marketing was giving a boot camp that was starting TODAY.

The big-name would kick off the event and then hand it over to others to perform the actual teaching. Smart. His name sells the event but he’s no longer having to do the work himself.

Attendees would not only learn what they need to do to vastly improve their marketing systems; they would also be DOING the work during the virtual boot camp.

This is awesome for a couple of reasons. First, the attendees will immediately have something to show for their money, making it much easier to upsell them to something higher priced later.

Second, you don’t need nearly as much content for your boot camp. If half of your time is spent letting the participants do work, that’s the time when you don’t have to be teaching.

I suspect their goal here is to give a taste of their big and expensive marketing/coaching program to their best prospects – people who have already spent $197 for this boot camp. I’ll bet they close 30-50% of them on upgrading (just an educated guess).

The first bonus takes no extra work for them because it’s recordings of the live event. The second bonus is a monthly live Q and A, the perfect place to gently upsell those who didn’t buy into the expensive program at the end of bootcamp.

Please notice what happened here: Reading a single email in my spam folder reminded me (and maybe you, too) of an entire business model that is super easy to implement and highly profitable, too.

7: This Marketing Guru’s Email Account Got Hijacked

I can’t name names here, but a certain marketer’s account apparently got hijacked. (Either that or he’s entered the sex trade industry.)

While his emails used to be all about getting traffic, making online sales and so forth, now his emails are offering me dates, sex and… well, you can use your imagination for the rest.

The thing is, this didn’t go on for just a day or two. It continued for two WEEKS.

I cannot imagine the damage this has done to his brand. Personally, I can tell you that while his emails used to land in my inbox with no problem, they are now all in my spam folder, even though he has gone back to talking about internet marketing.

Folks, you might want to protect your email accounts like your business depends on it.

Because it does.

8: I Won More Lottery Tickets

In fact, I won over a dozen lottery tickets in the last 5 days alone.

I had no idea I’m so lucky!

Good thing I checked my spam folder.

9: Completely Over the Top (Sometimes) Works

Marketing messages aren’t about what we want to tell our prospects, but rather what our prospects want to hear from us.

In the interest of always learning, I subscribe to lists outside of my own interests and online marketing. Because what’s working in, say, dating (I’m happily married to the love of my life) might also work in another niche.

This email in my spam folder is selling a program to single women who want to find love. To me it’s completely over the top and borderline ridiculous, but I know it’s probably working because I get emails with this sort of language all the time.

I’ll paste a portion of it here:

“I’m about to show you a DANGEROUS text that you really only want to send to guy… …if you are READY for him to fall head over heels for you like love-sick, high school crush. Just one TEXT and even a guy who blew you off before can become obsessed and won’t have the willpower to stop himself from chasing you. ==>Discover it HERE The text might appear a little silly at first… But the reason it works is it pumps up a man’s adrenaline, urging him to keep chasing you over and over. This will even work when he is currently obsessing over another woman… Because it immediately awakens a fresh enthusiasm of DEEP LOVE for you that’ll make him completely forget other women. And every bone in his body will be aching to earn your heart in ways you’ve only see in movies. If you haven’t seen this yet then this is going to be a game changer for your relationship. ==>Dangerous Text – Are You Sure You Want Him To Chase You This Hard? Putting aside the… ugh… language of the email, the basic message is this is texting program is so incredibly effective that we need to warn you it might be TOO effective.

Imagine you’re selling a traffic program – “This program is so effective we have to warn you that your site might crash and customers who desperately want to buy your product might email you night and day until you sell it to them.”

If you’re selling a weight loss program – “We cannot warn you enough that this program is so effective, if you do not stay within the limits prescribed then you will lose weight TOO FAST and no one will recognize who you are and security guards at your job may arrest you for impersonating, well… you.”

If you’re selling a gardening vegetable fertilizer – “Warning!! This is the one product that will pump up your pumpkins to the size of a house and make your neighbors get a restraining order on the 30 foot tall sunflowers blacking out their view of the sky.”

Ha! I love that last one.

10: How to Bring Everyone Back to You

An email from a favorite source – James Altucher – landed in my spam folder. In it he gives 11 pieces of advice, and here’s my favorite:

Make Everyone Else Look Good

I had a professor once who said he didn’t care if anyone knew who he was. I didn’t understand.

He said, “If my students become famous, then I’ve done a good job.”

Make your boss look good. Make your spouse look good. Give all credit to your employees.

If you are always the source of “credit” then everyone will come back to the source.

Strong people don’t put others down. They lift them up.

And that’s awesome advice I’m going to carry with me and use.

And now you know what I learned from snooping in my spam folder today. Have you checked yours lately?