So I had this idea that today, for fun, I’d try something new:
Rewriting bad email copy on the fly for you … Throssell-style.
And I know just where to start …
See, yesterday I got this awful email in my inbox from my super* fund.
(*Super = superannuation = the Aussie version of a 401(k) or retirement fund)
But rather than just give it the deleting it deserved, I had a brainwave worthy of the benevolent email dictator that I am:
Why not rewrite it — and enlighten my beloved subjects in the dark arts of writing better emails?
What a wonderful idea, no?
(Say yes or I throw you into jail.)
Why — thank you for your flattery!
Well then, let me show you the terrible email I got.
Behold the hideousness (if you feel yourself starting to doze off, skip to the dashed lines):
Subject: Scam warning for superannuation
As a result of widespread changes triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a heightened risk that scammers will seek to take advantage of people’s uncertainty in an effort to embezzle and steal from Australians.
At these times, especially when people may be considering accessing some of their superannuation under special early release provisions, increased levels of watchfulness and scrutiny need to be applied by everyone.
BORING FUND has a range of controls and measures designed to protect your super. But there are also some important steps you can take to ensure your super stays safe now and into the future.
What to look out for:
I want you to picture my super fund as a fat little freckled kid called Spencer, standing at the front of class, nervously reading out his homework.
As he gets to this point, Class Teacher Mr. Throssell cuts him off by cupping his hands and yelling out:
Little super-fund Spencer stops, mortified.
Mr. Throssell keeps going: “Look, Spencer, stop. Just stop. That is terrible. You get ZERO marks. You should be ashamed of yourself.”
Spencer runs back to his seat, clutching his homework, tears streaming down his face.
(I think I was absent the day they taught teacher sensitivity training.)
Okay, so clearly this email sucks.
Yet it’s an important message — how to stay safe from scammers.
So how could we make it better?
Of course, there’s no one ‘right answer’ to that question.
(I mean, my three-year-old son could probably write it better: “Mama, do the bad people are trying to take your money? I will show you how to stop the bad people.”)
But, here is a slightly more fun angle we could use, which I did in a couple of minutes:
Subject: How to stop scammers stealing YOUR super
Brace yourself — the scammers are coming for your super.
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, lots of nasty baddies have crawled out of their dark holes.
Even as we speak, their filthy fingers could be typing you a scam email, or dialling your number with a sly phone call.
To pretend to be someone ‘official’ … and trick you into giving them control of YOUR super.
So what can you do to keep your money safe from these villains?
Well, you could go all-out crazy-person mode:
– Rip out your phone from the wall.
– Chuck your internet modem out the window.
– Flush your mobile down the toilet.
– And lock the front door … and don’t let ANYONE in. (Except maybe the pizza guy, pizza is always good.)
There, that should do the trick. No scammers will be getting in touch with you — EVER!
Then again, neither will … anyone. At all.
So, that might be a little over the top.
Instead, here’s what you should ACTUALLY keep an eye out for, along with some more realistic steps you could take to keep yourself safe from scams:
Which one would you rather read?
And more importantly … which one would make you more likely to ACT?
(Don’t answer, it’s a rhetorical question. I don’t need your empty praise.)
Again, this is one of a million ways to write this.
And to be fair, I foresee one big issue with my version:
Many people would get offended that a super fund is not taking their money ‘seriously’.
But that’s why it’s best to build a BRAND that attracts the right kind of people from the outset, rather than relying on one-off emails to fix bigger problems.
Then again, my philosophy on copy is simple:
Let the little keyboard warriors be ‘offended’.
My merry band of clients and I will focus on getting our message across to the people we can truly help.
And if that means being ‘unprofessional’, then so be it.
Okay, that’s class dismissed (except for you, Spencer — you’re staying back for some much-needed extra tuition).
Here’s homework for the rest of you:
By this point you should have a good idea whether my services are just what you need … or utterly abhorrent to your ‘serious’ brand.
And if that’s the case, I invite you to click the unsubscribe link below, and port your prim ‘n’ proper self out of here.
Otherwise, my client waitlist is the place to be if you want to find out when I have some space for you.
You’ll need to join my list to get on it though.