There’s no denying that Matt Ellsworth has a unique style. A certified email marketing genius, and all-around funny guy, his insights never disappoint. In “I are not a robot”, Matt walks you through how to apply the Four Organ Theory to your headlines to give them greater mass appeal.
Drawing on his experience as a standup comic, Matt gives you a crash course on how to enliven dull subjects. Through hilarious examples like his “cloud to butt” Twitter bot, to his dick jokes per week (DJPW) graph and some touching success stories from experiment.com, Matt injects a new human element into content and email marketing.
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I are not a robot: bringing humanity to data
Messaging matters. How you sell someone on your idea or product makes a big difference in how they feel about it. And, people like to feel good. At least, I do. So if you can make someone feel good (or not annoyed) your marketing will be far more effective! It really is that easy.
But I see so many people do it wrong. Big companies, small companies, individuals – it doesn’t matter – bad marketing is everywhere.
It’s time we put a stop to bad marketing. I want you guys to think – really think now – about how you structure and present your messages. And, specifically, how to do that in a way that is fun, not boring.
In this post, I’m going to show you a couple of techniques that you can use to spice up your content – and turn you into a real, live human marketer.
Robot Marketing – what NOT to do
Before I get to the insights and learning section, I want to give you guys a little look at some of the emails that I receive.
This one is from Miss Devine:
“On going through your profile, I decided to send you this mail because I like us to get to know each others very well so that I can inform you for the reason to reaching you, which got me interested in you and I appreciate your maturity because like matured people, person.”
This is a terrible email! It’s not personalized at all. Nobody has ever called me mature – like, ever.
Now, I actually know a fair amount about emails – I send a lot of them. Hundreds of thousands in fact. I even have a course that teaches you how to scrape data from the web to create amazing personalized emails and to pound conversion rates through the roof. And I do it all using import.io.
Just to demonstrate the power of what I’m talking about, here’s how you can redo Miss Devine’s email to be highly personalized to me:
“I’m going through your profile and I just realized how handsome and charming you are.
Will you send me money? I’ll be waiting for you.
Now that’s better. Sure it needs a better sales pitch, but at least it’s personalized to me. By calling me “handsome and charming” it shows she clearly knows me 😉
If you want more of that sort of thing, you can find my course on Udemy.
Why should you believe me
At this point some of you are probably thinking: Who is this guy?
I’m a startup bro, but I’m also a stand-up bro. Ever since I started doing standup and (trying) to be a comedian, I’ve started to see how well the two different disciplines compliment one another.
I learned a lot of things doing standup that helped me to be a better marketer. And since standup is absolutely terrifying, I want to show you guys some of the things I’ve learned since I started practicing both of these disciplines.
Have a little fun
The first thing you have to learn is not to take yourself too seriously. If you’re not having fun marketing…how can you expect your audience to have fun?
It’s time as startup people we realized that data, startups, all that stuff – it’s all pretty dull. At least the way we talk about it certainly is. But we can make it fun. We can have a good time with it.
Take headlines for example….
“Why Amazon should fear Microsoft in the cloud”.
Pretty boring, right? Nothing really grabbing my attention here. But if we have a little fun with it, we can make it more interesting for everybody.
To prove this, I made a cloud RSS feed that finds any headline which says “cloud” or “the cloud”. Next, I created a Twitter bot to automatically post these headlines.
That alone isn’t funny at all, right? Until I change “cloud” to “butt”…
And so, @cloudplug was born!
It’s actually based on a very popular Chrome extension called cloud to butt plus. It replaces the word “cloud” and “the cloud” with “butt” and “my butt”, to play to your seventh grade sensibilities.
Take a look at that headline now:
“Why Amazon should fear Microsoft and My Butt”
It’s great right? Some of the other greatest hits:
- “Moving to my butt (or finding reasons to wait)” – I’m sure we’ve all had that question.
- “Google buys Firebase, Fills Butt Apps Hole” – I dare you to say that three times fast.
Cloudplug got a lot of people to engage with me. Like this guy:
“I love the internet because of this”
It feels so good when people genuinely appreciate what you’re doing.
Of course I realize that you can’t just put butt into all your content. It’s just an example to get your creative juices flowing. The point of all this is that we don’t have to accept things the way they are. We can use our creativeness to find new ways of looking at and talking about traditional subjects. Now comes the real work to make your messaging better.
The four organs theory
Because everything needs a theory, I’m going structure my advice around this thing called the four organs theory from a book called ‘Don’t Be Such A Scientist’ by Randy Olson.
The basic principle articulated in this book is that domain experts get what’s called the “knowledge curse” and they get too specific, too jargony (read: boring). They aren’t able to make their messages appeal to a broad audience. The idea is that if you appeal to one of the four organs, you’ll have a lot more success in making your messages more appealing to a wider audience.
For each organ, I’ll walk you through an example of someone that took something that a lot of people may not pay attention to, and gave that thing mass appeal.
The four organs are…
Head, heart, gut, sex. That’s it. You start at the head, and you move down – that’s not even a joke, that’s how it is in the book, I swear! This guy, Olson, is a scientist who went into Hollywood to learn these kind of tricks and methods to make his messaging go further.
You start in the head, meaning you appeal to people’s smarts. Then you move down to the heart – where you appeal to their emotional sensibilities. The gut is intuition – ie spur of the moment thinking. And sex, is obviously sex appeal – we’ve all heard that sex sells, and in some cases it’s true.
You don’t have to check all of these boxes. My point is that there are more ways to appeal to your audience than just relying on how smart (you think) they are. Do you make all your decisions with your head? I didn’t think so.
The head is all about appealing to people’s sense of reason. It’s the stuff you’re used to writing about. So if I want you to buy my course on Email Marketing I might come up with a message that talks about engagement and click rates. You’re smart people, and I think you are all capable of making reasoned arguments and presenting facts, so I want to focus this post on the other three organs.
The heart refers to messages that appeal to your emotions. Like a cute kitten, or a sad story about someone’s struggle.
For example, my friend Cindy runs experiment.com which is like a kick starter for science projects – which helps scientists get funding for their research and development projects. One of the campaigns on her site is run by Sonia and Erick.
Sonia has been diagnosed with a rare disease called Fatal Familial Insomnia. The problem with getting funding for research for this disease, is that it only affects one in a million people. It’s really hard to get broad mass appeal for solving something like this because it affects such a small portion the population.
So instead of making their story about the disease itself, Sonia and Erick told a story about how Sonia found out her mom had it when she passed away, this made Sonia decide to get tested. The story went on to say how she and Erick have since quit their jobs and dedicated their entire lives to researching this disease. Really inspiring stuff! It tugged at people’s heartstrings and Sonia was able to blow past her funding goal.
Their inspiring story has rallied people around their cause. You can check them out on experiment.com. If you’d like to get involved, you can find them at cureffi.org.
The gut is about appealing to our instant (gut) reaction. It’s like your intuition. The book actually refers to it in terms of your personal communication and how to sell your story through body language.
Sarah is doing research on how bobtail squid choose their glowing bacterial partner. Not really mass media type stuff. Squids are kinda gross and scary looking after all.
But Sarah had her heart set on researching the bobtail. Because the bobtail squid uses a special bacteria so it can glow on the bottom. At night, ocean predators use the moonlight to find silhouettes of the prey they want to attack. By glowing, the squid can avoid being seen (and therefore eaten). Sarah wants to learn more about how squid choose the right bacteria to see if we can use that knowledge to further our research on immune systems.
So how did Sarah get people to be interested in is?
She humanized the squid by having a competition to let people name the squids in the experiment – an adult squid and a junior squid. By changing people’s initial gut reaction from a negative to a positive, Sarah was able to exceed her funding goals by more than 200%.
The moment you have all been waiting for… sex. This one is pretty obvious. You see a pretty lady in a perfume commercial and you buy the perfume because you want your girlfriend to look like Scarlett Johansson. We know it doesn’t work like that, but we’re attracted to things that are beautiful and sexy.
Now, not everybody is going to have a message that has sex appeal and that’s okay – it’s still worth thinking about just in case.
Take Vegetarians. They don’t generally make you think “sex” – at least they don’t make me think “sex” (I love bacon too much). But, when I show you this graph…
…it might change your mind 😉
That’s the four organs – now go out there and market like a human.
What is Extract?
Extract is one full day jam-packed with data stories that will entertain, educate and inspire you. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about data, told by the people who know it best. Our speakers hail from some of the most successful and innovative companies in the business. You’ll hear data-driven talks on everything from beating the competition to creating the next unicorn. And our workshops will showcase the best of the best in data tooling. You’ll get an exclusive look at some of the latest technologies and pick up first-hand tips on implementing new strategies.