Reverse Psychology

“Don’t buy anything for Dad this Father’s day”

That’s the subject line of an email I received from Cactus Outdoor Clothing yesterday, and whoever wrote it deserves a medal.

They deserve a medal, because they managed to cut through the barrage of Father’s Day email marketing efforts, and flip the ‘buy this thing for Dad’ approach completely on its head.

The email from Cactus goes on to explain that most Dad’s simply want to spend time with their family, so you don’t need to buy them anything. But if you must buy them something, outdoor gear would be a great choice.

Well played Cactus Outdoor. Well played.

As a business, you recognised that consumers are sick and tired of being sold to, so you took a different approach – and your subject line had my attention instantly.

And even though you said not to, I want to buy something from you. Maybe a mountain bike bag for my next trip.


If you’d like your email campaigns to cut through inbox clutter like this one from Cactus does, let’s meet and brainstorm your approach.

ps – here’s the email from Cactus Outdoor. There are a few other things I’d change, but the most important thing (the subject line) is first class.

j j j

There’s a problem with social media

The problem is ownership.

You might have 5213 likes on Facebook, but let’s be honest, you don’t own them, because Facebook does. And they can whisk them away at any moment, or charge you more to reach them.

And that’s why you need to know which channels you own, and which you rent.

You own your website. It’s a tool to generate sales, enquiries and collect email addresses amongst other things. That’s why it’s the core of your digital marketing effort.

You own your email database. You’ve built it. It’s yours to use respectfully, and it’s one of the best ways to remind people you exist without having to spend money.

But when it comes to Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin, you’re renting.

Yes, renting does have benefits. Like exposure to an audience you couldn’t have gathered yourself.

But you shouldn’t build your house on rented land. Because the landlord might kick you out or put the rent up.

Build on the land you own first. Your website. Your emails. Then leverage your rentals to get the word out. That’s the right order.

j j j

Shooting the messenger

There’s a misconception that email marketing sucks.

Why? Because we’re all tired of getting lousy emails from businesses trying to sell us stuff.

But don’t shoot the messenger.

Don’t let everyone else’s poor email-marketing practice put you off – because email isn’t the problem, it’s the approach.

When it’s done right, email is the most powerful weapon in your digital marketing arsenal. Seriously.

Heck, for Likeable, email is the only thing we do to seek clients.

We’ve sent 85 emails over the last 3 years, and we’re grateful to have grown from a one-man-band into a small team.

Time to reconsider your stance on email?

Take the first step and arrange a meeting with us, visit

j j j

Why social media is like sugar

When I first started Likeable, I was all about social media.

I could see the opportunity for NZ businesses, and I knew that most simply didn’t have the time (or skills) to social media in-house – enter Likeable.

But 4 years later, I’ve learnt that social media is like sugar.

Social media is like sugar, because it’s a quick, attention-grabbing fix that feels great – but for most businesses, doing social media in isolation isn’t part of a balanced digital-marketing diet. Read More

j j j

Revealed: 4 things I’ve learnt about Digital Marketing

Are you up-to-speed with digital marketing?

Without further ado, here are 4 things I’ve learnt about digital marketing over the last 4 years at Likeable.

1. Your website will never be finished.

Launching a new website is no longer the end of the digital marketing process for your business, it’s the very start.

Businesses who succeed online, treat their website as an evolving element of their business, rather than a project that comes up every two or three years.

Learn more about why your website should be practice, rather than project.

2. Social media isn’t about sales.

Back when social media was shiny and new, businesses rushed to get there – in the hope that social would be the silver-bullet in terms of generating sales. Read More

j j j

The 3 excuses you’re using for not email-marketing to your customers

You know you should be email-marketing.

Because you know that those who have bought from you already, are more likely to buy from you again.

And you know that email-marketing is one of the most effective, low-cost methods of reaching them.

But you still don’t do it. And here’s why…

3 reasons you’re not email-marketing to your customers

If you’re not emailing your clients, it’s likely for one of these reasons:

1. Collecting customer email addresses is hard work

Yes, not every customer wants to provide you with their email address.

But if most of your customers don’t like sharing their details with you, then you’re probably not demonstrating why doing so would be valuable to them.

You see, most businesses ask for a customer’s email like this:

Can I have your email address for our records?

But to a customer, the above actually sounds like this:

Can I start spamming you the moment you walk out the door?

See the problem? Read More

j j j

Why your business can’t ignore email marketing

Think email marketing is dead?

If so, I can understand why.

Because most email newsletters are un-targeted, generic sales pitches that deliver little or no value.

But I’ll let you in on a secret – the problem isn’t email.

The problem is with the content, not the medium – so blaming email is shooting the messenger, literally.

The trick with email marketing is to write about what your customers want to read about, rather than falling into the trap of writing about your business or what product you have on special this week.

Why your business can’t ignore email marketing anymore

Your customers might not be on Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram – but they probably have an email address, because it’s practically impossible to exist in the modern world without one (sad, but true).

And whilst email might not be sexy – it works when it’s done right.

After all, how else could you contact each of your 1,853 customers without racking up a travel bill that looks like a telephone number?

5 hallmarks of great email marketing:

  1. Personalised with the recipients first name (eg, Hi John,)
  2. Short and easy to scan, skim read or refer back to if needed
  3. Delivers customer value (is entertaining, inspiring, educational or informative)
  4. Links to longer content if needed (keeping the email short)
  5. Is soft-sell in nature (because no-one likes being sold to anymore)

Sending an email newsletter soon?

If so, avoid this mistake that I made with my first email campaign.

Not email marketing yet? 

Get in touch if you’d like to chat about email marketing for your business.

j j j

Email marketing: 5 mistakes to avoid

It’s no secret that email marketing actually works.

When done well, email will remind people you exist, demonstrate your expertise and drive sales.

BUT in a world of crowded inboxes, are your email newsletters being ignored because of a few simple blunders?

Give your email newsletters the best chance of success by avoiding these 5 mistakes…

Top 5 don’ts for email newsletters

1. Don’t write a sloppy subject line

The first thing your reader is going to notice is the subject line of your email newsletter – and your subject line has just one job: to get your email opened. Read More

j j j

Pain or pleasure: Which email subject lines work best?

Got an email newsletter coming up?

If so, you’ll know that the subject line you choose will have a large impact on the number of recipients who will open, read and click your email.

And with this in mind, I thought I’d share the results from a recent experiment – and my findings might change the way you think about the subject line in your next email campaign.

My email subject line experiment

Over the last 8 months, I’ve sent 35 email campaigns to an average of 280 people (not a big list I know, but I’m working on it!)

These 35 emails have had subject lines which can be grouped into 2 main categories:

  1. Positive email subject lines
  2. Negative email subject lines

Here’s a bit more detail…

Positive email subject lines

26 of the subject lines focused on sharing knowledge or learning something new, for example: Read More

j j j

3 reasons why your logo shouldn’t be in your email signature

If your logo is in your email signature then you’re not alone.

Because it seems that the whole world doesn’t know that having an image within an email signature is a bad idea.

Why’s it bad idea? Because it’s a pain in the backside for everyone who gets your emails.

3 reasons why having your logo in your email signature sucks.

You send lots of emails right?

Here’s the problem when you include a logo…

  1. Your recipients think each email they receive from you has an attachment (it does, your logo!)
  2. When a recipient forwards one of your emails, they automatically forward your logo too
  3. And despite both of the above, many of your recipients won’t even see your logo unless they have ‘images turned on’ in their email programme. For example, recent stats show that 43% of gmail email users read emails with images turned off.

Email Signatures: What to do instead

9 times out of 10, your recipient already knows you and your business name (if not, it’s called spam), so instead of including your logo, include a simple link to your website.

The same goes for your social media profiles.

Instead of including a Facebook icon in your email signature, include a simple link to your Facebook page (it’s more likely to be seen and clicked, and it’s less annoying).

Ready to go image free in your emails?

Open your email programme, find your email signature settings, and hit delete on whatever imagery is sitting alongside your contact details.

Looking for more detailed instructions? Sorry, that’s all there is too it.

Here’s to happy image-free emailing!

Cheers, Dan

ps – who do you know that needs to read this article? Spread the word!

j j j