I’m Not Overseas – You Are

Or… How To Alienate 30% Of Your Subscribers

I just received an email from a well known marketer (I’m on a LOT of mailing lists) that referred to me as an “overseas person”.

It struck me as disconnected and dumb.  We all do daft things every now and then, often when we don’t have our brains engaged, but this was just dumb, dumb, dumb.  One of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen any marketer do, and an extreme case of being parochial without realising it.

Because of course…

He’s overseas, not me.  I’m at the centre of civilisation here in the UK, while he lives in what used to be one of our colonies in a country that didn’t even exist as such a couple of hundred years ago.  So of course he’s the the one that’s overseas, not me.  Ahem.  🙄

Hmm…  Do you see how a simple but ill thought out comment can be misconstrued and instant defensive barriers put up?  I’ve now unsubscribed from his mailing list.

Here’s a simple tip as to how not to alienate or upset people.  Unless your mailing list is specifically about one of the following topics and people are actively interested in receiving information about them, you should never mention any of these.  I’ve unsubscribed from more than one mailing list because of it.

#1 – Sex.

#2 – Politics.

#3 – Religion.

I guarantee if you start talking about any of these taboo subjects, you will upset people.

For instance, you might criticise your government for their style, and instantly you’ve alienated about half your readers.  Or you may say that Jedi is the only true religion, and you thereby manage to upset a HUGE chunk of people.

Nobody wants to hear what you have to say on these subjects unless they’ve joined your mailing list just so they can find out.

And almost equally, I didn’t join that marketers mailing list just to hear myself pigeonholed as “overseas”.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood

1 comment

Morgan Madej

Hi Frank,

I identified with your post regarding the mindset of some people from the colonies who insist on alienating us third world residents!

I remember realising many years ago that the 3 taboo subjects even for family let alone friends are not a good starting point for a conversation! But of course if you started a blog on these subjects the comments would flow and traffic would no doubt increase as visitors would now have a place to vent their spleens (Or is that spleen’s-US spelling?) The trick would be how to monetize the blog?

Talk about a red rag to a bull-maybe offering counselling to the waring factions at a group discount?

Fortunatley most people are normal so voting with ones feet is the best option when your hackles are raised!

Nice post Frank!