Be specific

Last week I sent an email with some really terrible advice. It was titled “Be Generic” and it was written with my tongue firmly planted in cheek.

And most of you were in on the joke. Except for the unsubscribers of course. They must have taken offense to me calling out their generic presence. I even got an email saying “r u serious?”

No, I was not serious.

The positive responses were far more fun, of course.

Florian said “love it ! i will reuse something like this for my outreach ! it’s great”

Trevor wrote “Lol”

Keagile said “This was a good one.”

My favorite response was from Ricardo, who said “do a follow up post with the opposite message titled Be Specific or something along those lines. I think the email was brilliant. Have a great weekend.”

Being generic sucks

There are too many distractions in the world for generic messages to stand out. The only time for cookie-cutters is around Christmas-time (or any holiday that thrives on perfectly uniform baking for that matter).

It’s the same for agencies as it is for cereal at the grocery store. People settle for generic.

Being unique is what causes bonds with your potential customers. Otherwise, you are simply average.

You need to be compelling with the way you approach your communications. You want to leave people wanting more of what you have to say.

You need give people a reason to care about you. To make them feel something (whether it is positive or negative).

We don’t usually associate emotions with business. But your prospective clients are human. They are drawn to extraordinary efforts. They recognize when you go above and beyond to deliver. When you communicate with thoughtfulness. When you have their best interests in mind, instead of reading from the operations manual.

Make things personal

When you ask nearly any client “what is your favorite part of working with X Agency?” – what comes to mind? The people. 

It’s what keeps relationships strong. It’s what increases client satisfaction. It’s the emotional investment that we make in finding meaningful work. This isn’t always intuitive – we are trained to think that business is business. Personal is personal. And they should never mix.

Of course, there is a line that can be crossed into too personal. It happens far too often in the workplace. But that doesn’t mean we should give up personal connections and take away the human element. That’s an overcorrection. Take a stand. Build strong, professional, relationships.

Make it worthwhile

Most clients can see right through your BS. They can see when you are playing it safe. And they become indifferent. They check out. They seek a new, more exciting relationship.

While you are mailing it in, they are interviewing other agencies. Looking for that spark. Seeking that honeymoon phase of a new agency relationship.

This is a relationship business. Don’t be generic. Otherwise you will be just as forgettable as the rest.

Be specific. It makes all of the difference in the world. 

Which version do you like better? Wandering generality or meaningful specific? Leave a comment!