Keep it Short, Cut Your Ego

Imagine you see an ad on Craigslist:

Two free tickets to the sold-out show tonight. First come, first served. Contact Glenn.

You email Glenn the poster, and it turns out YOU’RE FIRST: You win the tickets! But instead of receiving instructions on how to get the tickets you receive this:

Hi,
Thanks for responding. I’m glad that you are interested in the tickets. For 45 years, I have been giving away tickets to people just like yourself. I pride myself in being the premiere ticket giveaway-er in the whole Mid Atlantic region. But don’t take it from me, here is a list of satisfied people who have received free tickets:

“I’ve been getting tickets from this guy for years! It’s great!”

                                                         -Mary from Boston, MA

“Amazing! I don’t know how this guy does it!”

                                                                -Bob from Washington DC

….The email goes on and on.

You didn’t ask for this. In fact you could care less about how many years this guy’s been giving away tickets, who he’s given away tickets to, or any of that. You entered a promotion and you just want the free tickets!!!

For Glenn, it is super important that he gets his name out there. He is proud of his history of giving away tickets and making people happy. But as important as this all is to him, and maybe even to the people he’s done business with in the past, it is information that is useless and down right annoying to you: the guy who just wants some tickets.

In an alternate situation, you recieve an email from Glenn that gives you clear instructions on how to receive your tickets. You recieve them, have a good time, then you tell your friends about Glenn and his awesome ticket giveaways. Everyone wins.

When starting an incentive-based promotion or a giveaway, keep the message simple and direct. If you have to cut anything from the message, cut your ego, your history, and your case studies. Accept the fact that you are running a promotion. There’s a big chance that the majority of the people entering your promotion will not care at all about your product, they just want to win a sweet prize.

These are the people you win over with class.