Strive to inform and persuade - not offend or annoy

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Yes, sometimes I’m a grouchy old lady – but I think I can safely assume that I’m not alone.

Some words used in marketing – both in sales promotions and in content marketing – are so irritating to me that I delete the messages without reading them.

A phrase that’s been around for quite a while is “Crush the competition,” joined by “Crush ‘em!”

For one thing, we should all be striving to outshine our competition, not “crush” them. Our mission should be to help people achieve their goals - not to hurt someone.

I’m sure part of my hang-up stems from a seminar presentation given by a marketer that I find offensive. He made marketing sound like going into battle – with stealth techniques. Those techniques were to be used not only on the competition – but on unsuspecting consumers who could be tricked into buying products. I don’t hear much about him any more – perhaps it backfired.

The over-used word that annoys me lately is “hacks.” I don’t know why, but the word is offensive tocomputer hacker me. Perhaps because I think of “hacking” as a negative activity regarding websites, email, and databases. I do NOT want to be hacked!

Meanwhile… Everywhere you look someone is offering life hacks, marketing hacks, money hacks, cooking hacks, cleaning hacks, and on and on.

If I see that word in a subject line I delete the message – no questions asked.

I’m really not a fan of “political correctness” – and I think far too many people are just looking for something to whine about. You can tell me “blonde jokes” all day and I promise to laugh, not scream.

At the same time, as marketers I think we all need to be careful about the words we choose.

Think about the words or phrases that annoy you – and assume that your prospects probably have some of the same prejudices.

How else can you get your message quickly deleted?

With a pop-up or a slide-in that won’t go away.

This morning an email promised 40 content tips for better marketing. That sounded interesting, so I attempted to read it. Nope – not unless I signed up to download something or other. The slide-in covered most of the screen, so trying to read around it would have been annoying – and no matter how many times I clicked that little X it wouldn’t go away. Good bye website.

With content that doesn’t deliver on the subject line’s promise.

I’ve come across two or three of those lately. The subject line offered specific information, but the headline and lead-in on the page were on a completely different subject.

Maybe they were going to get to the information later – or maybe it was an error. I don’t know, because I left.

question marksWith a message that makes no sense.

You may have gotten this one lately. Someone writes with an offer to “cooperate.” Then the message goes on to say that they’ve read several different blog posts and think that we’d work well together. The blog posts they cite aren’t mine, so what the heck are they talking about?

When I delete those messages, I get follow-up messages, asking me why I haven’t yet responded. Perhaps I should write back, but that might also be a mistake. So I’ll continue to delete.


Image courtesy of freedooom


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Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Marte - I don't even bother to be offended anymore - the delete key is just an inch away from my little finger, which has bulked up nicely from the exercise, and I'm quick to use it. Maybe it's just that I'm an old irrelevant demographic, but very few subject lines appeal to me. Have a great weekend!

Apr 14, 2017 01:38 PM #1
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Dick Greenberg I don't get offended unless the writer has a "sewer-mouth," but I do get annoyed. Some words are like mosquitoes buzzing around - I just want to slap them and get them away from me.

Apr 14, 2017 02:10 PM #2
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good evening Marte Cliff ,

I chuckled when I read your post. We all have phrases that annoy us..I like Dick Greenberg have learned to hit the delete button on a regular basis! LOL!

Apr 14, 2017 06:46 PM #3
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Dorie Dillard I'm probably "cutting off my own nose" by deleting some of those "hack" messages, but ... I do it anyway. I also permanently delete anyone who loves using the "f-word." 

Apr 14, 2017 07:42 PM #4
Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

It is always good to be aware of our own prejudices and realize every one who reads our work has their own. As they say, your writing will attract people who tend to agree with you, and push away those who don't. That can be good.

Apr 17, 2017 08:45 AM #5
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Marte Cliff Promise never to use the word hacks around you...or anyone else.

Apr 18, 2017 06:34 PM #6
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Marte- I've never been a big fan of overused buzz words.  Back in the day, I swore I'd walk away from the next person who said "Let's rap." Political correctness is highly overrated in my book. And yes, I'm about ready to strangle the next pop-up, pop-in or whatever interferes with my reading. 

Apr 19, 2017 05:56 PM #7
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