How to Change the World

People Stop Reading at the Word ___

Yesterday on my mailing list I announced that I would give away 50 copies of my book How to Change the World for ___. And I said I’d give those copies to the first 50 people who checked a certain web page. I clearly explained my offer of a ___ book ONLY applied for those who checked the web page, and who saw a confirmation that they were one of the first 50 people. No confirmation = no ___ book.

On top of that I explicitly asked people NOT to email me with the request “Please send me a ___ book” without following this one simple instruction.

Guess what?

I got dozens of emails from people with the request “Please send me a ___ book” without following this one simple instruction.

The 50 ___ copies were gone within 20 minutes yesterday, but the requests are still pouring in as I’m writing this. Some find even the 6-word sentence too much work, and simply write “One book for me!”

The irony is that I announced my generosity as a favor to those who read my newsletter.

Maybe some people have a different interpretation of “reading”. 8-/

But I learned something! 🙂

I always say I’m learning to be a better writer. And this time I learned that people stop reading as soon as they encounter the word ___, which means I should only reveal that word at the very end of my message.

I don’t know what people expect who just write me “Yeah, give me a book!” But for all my life only the sun came up for free.

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  • Dan Woodward

    Great post – I think you are right, when people see some kind of deal they skip the small print. I suppose that’s why advertisers and marketers are good at their jobs right?

    Perhaps use the power of ____ to your advantage: make the instructions simple and explicit before using the ‘power word’ to induce action!

    Maybe something like: “Read my new article to learn how to win a free copy of my book!” It tells your reader just exactly what hoop to jump through?

    Too often, even in daily life, the order in which we read something has a great effect on our actions – how often do we tell kids to read the question properly in exams? Often a small imperfection in wording can cause them to go and give a great answer – but to the wrong question!



    • jurgenappelo

      Thanks, I think it requires more practice on my side. 🙂

  • Riccardo Bua

    ____ is a powerful word as said on Linkedin, I guess this should make you proud anyway of the interest displayed in your writing!:-)

  • Riccardo Bua

    BTW I did read, click and replied with some suggestions, I guess it all depends on the quality of the readers, not just the tag of reader 😛

    • jurgenappelo

      Thanks, I’m happy people want to read my work. 🙂

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