#emailmarketingfail: The Infomercial

The email you are about to read is one I had to look through multiple times to verify that it actually came from the martial arts publisher it purports to.

The thrust of this message is to announce a DVD is going on clearance. That’s it. However, just for laughs, I print-previewed it to see that it would take up five pages of 8.5×11″ paper.

Read this email in the voice of Billy Mays or your favorite TV pitch person. You’ll be glad you did.

February 11, 2014 2:30:27 PM CST

Dear Adam,

Please don’t stop reading until you’ve seen this entire message… it’s important!

More important than all those other emails with the “high priority” exclamation points in them?

Recently, you told us that you wanted one of two things from YMAA, or both.

Or none. I don’t specifically remember taking a survey. Can you give me a reference point? No? Hmm… okay, go ahead.

Well, something happened a few days ago that enables me to help you with both of these.

You could have just said “helps” and gotten rid of the term “enables” entirely. This email isn’t about sales enablement (which is an actual term, to those who’ve never heard it), and so far, it’s not talking about drug addiction.

Please let me explain what happened…

(Some Dude) called me at an odd time of day.

Wait, who?

(Some Dude) often works directly with (Renowned Author) and is the person responsible for producing all of the exceptional videos […] that we publish and share throughout the globe.

Thanks for clarifying.

Then he dropped the hot water on me.  You see, (Some Dude) has been working hard on re-designing the cover image of one of our top ten, most-loved products of all-time. It’s (DVD) it’s on DVD. I have to say, objectively, that it is so energizing you will literally feel an amazing energy buzz just by passively watching the video preview clip. Seriously, watch the less than two-minute clip and you’ll feel it too:

Three more paragraphs like this follow.

Now I have to be totally upfront with you… the difference between last year’s version and the new version that will come out a little over four months from now is that only the cover design will change. The old design on the outside of the DVD box is really good… it’s just not great. So (Some Dude) has been busy improving it. BUT the actual […] experience that (Renowned Author) gives you on (DVD) is incredible… ABSOLUTELY TIMELESS.

Wait. I skipped over this part when I got the email. They just put a version of this DVD out last year, and they’re sending me down this rabbit whole just to announce a new design for this year’s?

Yada yada yada, this DVD has sold for $39.95. Until now.

I am going to allow the first people to claim one of the last 92 copies of ‘slightly old package-designed version’ of (DVD) for HALF-OFF. (You already know price is has been $39.95 this year) [Editor’s Note: This parenthetical is in the actual email] If you’re one of the first 92 people to help me liquidate my last copies–you’ll get your copy for only $19.97.

This next part is where it gets real good.

BUT here is the catch… You’re going to have to act fast to get your copy! Why?

First, I really don’t like to discount our products like this. As I mentioned, the price of the version with the new cover design will still be $39.95, so this will be a good way for you to try (activity), if your new to it, or to re-energize yourself, if you’re not.

Second, I found out recently that we now have almost 30,000 customers who regularly visit our web site and the number is growing each week. I might be totally wrong, but I believe we will sell out of all 92 copies within the next few hours. If not, they will surely be gone in a few days. Once these are gone… they’ll be gone for along time—until the re-packing is complete and the price of the new stock will remain at $39.95.

The sender blathers on some more about how good of a deal this is, etc.

I fully support this publisher, which made it really hard to call out its uncharacteristically awful email. You guys have done better. Don’t let slop like this fall through the cracks again.

Marketing Takeaways

  1. Infomercial scripts don’t lend themselves well to email.
  2. Get to your call to action up front.
  3. Stop wasting so much space and words.

By Adam Bockler

Adam Bockler is a B2B marketing professional, a black belt martial arts instructor, DDP Yoga instructor, and a personal trainer.

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