I do not wish to be “reached out” to

I get a lot of email from new companies and products, some of which I have asked for, some of which is sent as the founder thinks I might be interested. That’s great – I love looking at new products and services, especially where they might be relevant to what we do.

That said, there are phrases used in these emails that are highly likely to cause me to unsubscribe from your list. The phrase that prompted this post was used in three emails that I opened yesterday morning,

“We will reach out to you … “

This is an example of business speak, meaningless words and phrases used instead of more straightforward English. I find they are often used by very small products and new startups – perhaps to try and make the company look more established. Or maybe they creep in to cover up an insecurity when writing marketing emails, not the natural territory of a developer launching a product. However I think they are potentially confusing, and certainly don’t enhance my opinion of your product or service.

In particular with services that know more about me than my email address, using the phrase “reach out” worries me. If you tell me you are going to reach out to me, I have no idea if that means you intend to email, pester me with phone calls, or show up on my doorstep. The first is usually fine, assuming your product is in any way relevant, the second and third are most definitely not. I’m more likely to close my trial account and unsubscribe if I think I’ll be bothered by unwanted sales attempts.

If you are selling an digital product or service then, with a few exceptions, you are an exporter from day one. The majority of us do not want to limit our audience to those who understand American English. If you use idioms in your marketing emails that don’t translate, you risk confusing an international audience.

We don’t tell our friends that we will “reach out to them with a good time to meet for coffee”, so why talk to customers in that way? We’re a tiny team of two at Perch and have never tried to make ourselves out to be anything else. We sign off our newsletter emails as being from “Rachel and Drew” and try to write as if to a friend. It works well, I love the fact that our customers will respond to us in kind, using our names and opening up a conversation.

Have the confidence to write in your own voice, to speak to your customers as you would a friend and avoid the dreaded business speak.

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