The Power of Authentic Email



Every day we write dozens and dozens of emails. Some are dull and boring. Others may be more engaging. On average, they all serve their purpose, and we’re fine with it – type, send, done, next!

Yet, if we only add a touch of personality to our communication, the results might surprise us. Here is an example of one authentic email message that created thousands of new customers, and over 20,000 citations on Google.

Derek Sivers, a successful entrepreneur, musician and the founder of CD Baby, an online distributor of independent music, which he built from scratch and sold for $22 million, shared how he made this happen in his bestselling book Anything You Want.

Sivers wrote how one day he decided to customize an automated email that went to every customer informing them that their CD had been shipped.

The message was standard and boring. Something like I get from Amazon all the time:

Thank you for shopping with us. You ordered XYZ product and 1 other item. We’ll send a confirmation when your items ship.

Sivers knew that this dull message did not match his company’s boutique customer-oriented image and his “personal mission to make people smile.”

In 20 minutes, “Your order has shipped today” transformed into:

Your CDs have been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CDs and polished them to make sure they were in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CDs into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved ‘Bon Voyage!’ to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Sunday, December 11th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby.  We sure did.
Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year”.  We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you once again,

Derek Sivers, President, CD Baby

Goofy? Yes? Memorable? Of course! Effective? 20,000 references say so.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you have to be funny tomorrow, or that you should never use your corporate speak!

But whether it’s your LinkedIn message, an email to your customer or a thank-you letter to your donor, the point is to take an extra step to own your message. Once you make it authentic, memorable, and creative – your reader will love you for it.


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