Shame Based Email Marketing Tactics

Sometimes I get on email lists because it is for a service I might use in the future. There was something interesting to me about it when I originally checked out the web site.

Either I do not currently have the money for the service, or it is not the right time. I let the emails come because they can give helpful info or they a reminder for me about the service.

There are several places I get occasional emails from, including Ooyala, Freelance, Elance, some colleges, and some educational services.

The main thing that will keep me on their list is informational emails that give some kind of advice, or information. I also do not mind polite reminders and things like price specials and upcoming events.

I notice the content of these emails because I used to work writing copy for my friend’s business, incuding mass emails. I find the psychology aspect of writing enticing copy interesting.

One thing that pisses me off is when these emails turn rude, degrading or condescending. I have no patience for rudeness from a company.

If they still want to keep you on the hook as a future customer,  they should treat you with respect, whether it is the first email they have sent you or the 12th.

Every now and then I read an email subject header that says something like…

“Are You Avoiding Us?”…

“Why are You Keeping us Waiting”…

or…

“We Still Haven’t Heard From You..”

These are a rude psychological game that uses  gaslighting tactics based on  presupposition.

They are trying to imply that you have been rude,  based on some unspoken agreement you had with them.

There is a subconscious “suggestion” of a relationship between you and them.

They want you to feel that …because you subscribed to their site you are obligated to respond to their emails.

Responding to their email  would be by buying their service or product.

Logically you know that “just calling to chat”  with them is not what they are after.

There is a cognitive dissonance created. How can their feeling be hurt if they have no personal feelings for you?

Yet there it is in the email header….”Is there Anything We Can Do to Hear From You?”

It uses the “social obligation” guilt that is culturally built into people.

If you have a relationship with a person then you are supposed to respond to messages from that person.

The… “Are You Avoiding Us”… email header is targeted right to your guilt trigger.  Worse than that….it is attempting to elicit SHAME.

You have apparently already offended and hurt them. This means you should feel ashamed.

There is a presupposition that you made some kind of unspoken relationship agreement with them…but in fact, you did not.

Know this…There is no “relationship obligation” or “social contract” between you and any site you subscribe to.

Remember …It is not rude not to respond to emails from a business trying to sell you something. You have not requested a relationship with them.

By subscribing to a site you are merely giving them permission to send you emails.

You realize …This is not a 2-way obligation, yet when you read shaming statements they elicit an emotional response.

These companies are creating their mass emails in order to generate business. Although part of you knows this is not a personal email, the type of language used makes you feel like it is personal.

These email headers like… “Did We Do Something Wrong?”… are pre-written, mass emails that are carefully written to sound like they were tailored to you individually.

This kind of wording implies that you have hurt their personal feelings and also implies that you are unusual because you have not responded to them.

Companies have someone trained at manipulative copy writing,  to design these kinds of emails to go out after the 4th or 5th email they send you.

Not all companies use this tactic.

In fact most do not.

This works to the advantage of the petty companies who manipulate their customers in this way. If you got these all the time,  you would not feel the same way when you received one of them.

The header… “Is it Something We Have Done?”… is designed to make you feel like you were inconsiderate and heartless.

It implies that there is more to the question they are asking you. The question is asking to be completed by your brain….”Is it  something we have done to……”

“Is it Something we have done to make you hate us?”

“Is it something we have done to hurt your feelings so that you felt you had to hurt them back?”

“Is it something we have done to deserve this treatment from you?”

There is an NLP technique called being “specifically vague.”

The technique itself is not good or evil. It can be used to help people in hypnosis. Or it can be used to elicit guilt.

The idea is that you lead the person towards an idea or an emotion and let the person fill in the details themselves.

The sentence… “Is it Something We Have Done?”… is dangling in your mind.

Your subconscience will fill in the rest of the sentence for you.

“Is it something we have done to make you disreguard our feelings?”

It puts you in the mindset of a personal relationship, and pushes any buttons you may have related to your relationships.

This kind of tactic is low. It is dishonest because it is covertly trying to elicit a feeling of shame in you. As if you should feel like a bad person for neglecting their feelings.

There is another “presupposition” here as well. It is that they even HAVE feelings for you.

Much of your emotional responses are pre-conscious. The emotions are triggered before your conscious brain can analyze the situation.

Your subconscious brain draws emotions up based on associations. When you hear someone complaining that you have been neglecting them, your brain will associate it with someone in your life that has said this to you in the past.

You will feel that shame associated with neglecting someone and this is a painful emotion.

Since the subconscious brain is designed to make you go away from pain, you then will automatically begin to consider ways to reduce the negative feelings.

By continuing not to buy the company’s service, you might continue to feel these uncomfortable emotions. Maybe you should just buy something…or at least call them….

Once you respond.. they have you. Their sales people will do the rest.

They made you feel like you were the only customer that never responded to their emails. …Now they will make you feel like you are obligated to buy….why?….because you responding to the email.

All marketing is about psychology and eliciting emotion. That is how marketing works.

But the companies that try to SHAME  you into buying by using these gaslighting and NLP (neuro linguistic programming)  tactics are worms and snakes in the grass.

These are narcissistic tactics. Manipulation by shame is used by toxic people.

Delete the emails and unsubscribe. You do not want to do business with them.

 

 

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