Connect with your customers – Research provides clues

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I was browsing the other day when I came across this article on Mashable: Want People to Return Your Emails? Avoid These Words [INFOGRAPHIC]

In it there is an interesting infographic that looks at research that Baydin, the makers of email plugin Boomerang, undertook looking at their database of around five million emails.

What I found most interesting are the different words in the columns and what they imply, from an amateur or ‘kitchen-table’ psychology and behavioural perspective as, I believe, it can provide some insights into what we do, how we approach things and how that affects our ability to connect better with people around us and our customers.

Below is a clip of the infographic about the words that they found that seemed to get the most opens and those that don’t.

get a response

Let’s look at the “words to use” more closely and what they might imply:

  • Apply – does that speak to people’s desire to apply for new jobs, advance their career or even, enter and win competitions?
  • Opportunity – are we all on the look out for new opportunities to find new things, do new things, make things easier, better?
  • Demo – is this linked to the one above? Does a demo imply non-obligation and, therefore no risk?
  • Connect – again is this linked to an opportunity to connect or reconnect with someone we know or might want to know and speaks to our social and networking needs in business?
  • Payments – I think this one is obvious and probably generates the response: ‘Ooh! Someone wants to give me some money’
  • Conference – this is an interesting one but does suggest that, in business, we like conferences as places to learn and network. Maybe, it’s also that people like to learn about new ‘gatherings’ and it’s part of their social desire to not be left out and to be part of the ‘in-crowd’.
  • Cancellation – I believe this one is all about change and how it affects me, my business and my people.

Similarly, let’s look at the “words not to use” more closely and what they might imply:

  • Confirm – this is an interesting one and maybe it this email does not get opened because it’s not seen as urgent and it more about the senders piece of mind rather than the receivers
  • Join – this, to me, seems obvious and is about someone wanting us to do somethings that will take up a lot of our precious time
  • Assistance – similar to the one above this seems to imply something that will take up time and, possibly, distract
  • Speaker – is this to do with our feelings about professional speakers and our feelings and experience that the sender will try and ‘sell’ us something?
  • Press – more time, requires effort on our part or is it that we just associate the press with broadcast messages?
  • Social – is this a personal social thing or are we getting bored with yet another new and the next big thing in social networking?
  • Invite – do we see and believe that ‘invite’ is another loosely veiled way of trying to get us involved with something where someone is going to sell something to us? I suspect that may be true but I do think it will depend, like many of these, on who the email comes from and how well we know and trust them.

So, it seems that the things we respond to relate to things like:

  • Can I get a new job or win something?
  • Is someone giving me money?
  • Is there an opportunity to connect with someone or learn about something new at no-risk? and
  • Does this change my plans or how does it affect me?

In short, it’s all about them. If we want to connect with people we need to make sure our messages benefit them and help them, not us, if we are to get noticed and responded to.

14 comments On Connect with your customers – Research provides clues

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  • Hello Adrian

    How you are interpreting stuff may be perfectly ok. Or you may have fallen prey to the post-hoc fallacy. Simply put, our minds are greating at constructing stories once the outcome is known: that is what are mind are for – constructing stories that explain the world (which is ultimately a mystery) and thus render us able to feel safe and act upon the world.

    The real test is to see what the experts were saying before the results of the survey were made available.


    • Hi Maz,
      Thanks for your comment. As always, you make me think and I thank you for that. For me my blog is my public thinking digital notepad and so it is great to test ideas and have them tested.

      As for the stories that we tell ourselves once the outcome is known…..Sounds a lot like history, which sometimes can be wrong, need revision and can be told from many different perspectives. However, it can help us create rules, frameworks and points of reference that help us decipher, or at least start to decipher, what is happening around us and what may happen in the future.

      But, the only real test of our progress is if we learn. So, understanding what the experts were saying before the results were collected is a test of that. I agree. However, I don’t know the answer to that but I will go and try to find out.

      Thanks again for testing and extending my thinking.


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  • Hi Adrian,

    I suspect you are right, when I am out shopping it is all about “me” and to hell with everybody else. After all, it is my credit card.

    I am only interested in “you” if it will help “me”.

    Maybe I am shallow, but I don’t think I am the only one


    • Hi James,
      I don’t think you are shallow at all or the only one. After all, as customers, its not their money it’s ours and woe on the business that forgets that.


  • Hi there,
    Thanks for the great information.
    Where is your RSS Feed?
    I would love to subscribe to it so I don’t miss any updates.
    Great Blog by the way.
    Well done

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