Community Work, Uncategorized

The Truth About Curiosity and That Cat

The old saying, “curiosity killed the cat,” is a mistake.  In fact, that saying evolved from a much older one that may fit our current times better.

It’s possible that our modern version—curiosity killed the cat—came about because humans are fundamentally so curious that it can be annoying. Picture a mom trying to stop the endless questions from her 6-year-old…”why?…why?… why?”….You’ve been there, right? And you blurted out that warning?

The Currency of Curiosity

illustration of human face, looking out from crumpled paper currency

So, is it any wonder that one great way to get a reader to spend time on your email is to evoke curiosity?

Easier said than done, of course….but it all has to do with that subject line…

Take a look at two subject lines from emails I recently received.

  1. “Special Invitation”…Really? I’ve seen so many “special invitations” that I’m suspicious.
  2. “Think of it as a mass-planting kit”–Sounds like waaay too much work!

Well…I didn’t open either of these…and I’ll bet you wouldn’t either. Why not?

Two things have to change. First, they need to focus on the customer, not the product. Second, they must evoke curiosity.

So, how do we do that?

Exercise Your Own Curiosity

different-sized cardboard boxes, wrapped with twine, scattered on a wood surface painted white

Ask yourself: Why would you not want to accept a “special” email invitation? In these days of increasing online shopping, no one is convinced by such a weak promise. Rather than—“join us because our current offer is so special”—the subject line should focus on what emotional benefit the customer gets by joining.

In the gardening industry, we are selling the emotional benefits of the gardening experience. The segmented research has to be considered, of course. But for the sake of our talk today, let’s think about why you are a gardener.

close-up of red poppies in a wide green field

Because it relieves stress? Because it increases anticipation?…one of the main components of happiness? Because it’s a great mindful escape from your devices and obligations? Because your doctor wrote you a nature prescription?

Focusing in on what you like about gardening is a first step towards getting in touch with the customers’ own garden dreams. This might give us these subject lines…

broad swath of orange poppies against a brown brick wall

“Wanna Watch a Sunset All Day?” – evokes the desire to relax…for a sale of poppies… …a step in the right direction…but

“For When There Are No Sunsets…”—what??? This subject line arouses curiosity—a much stronger motivation to click. And on cloudy days, customers will have a bed of poppies to look at…their very own sunset, on sale!

Once More With Feeling…

Now for the second subject line…”Think of it as a mass-planting kit!”

Only hard-core gardeners even know what a “mass planting” is. That could be an argument for selling to price-sensitive customers. But in reality, sales are so frequent that most buyers no longer care about the false urgency of a sale that ends soon.

So what do hard-core gardeners care about? Blank spots in their garden…diseases and pests…scarcity in supply for unusual colors…garden color in time for a special upcoming party…or how about…

Woman's had full of sticky bread dough, hovering over a glass bowl

“The First ‘Aaah’ of Spring” –for gardeners who can’t wait to get back outside…and love that first field of crocuses…but even better…

“Ever Make Tulip Bread?” –what??? Are you curious? Bet you’d click! And you’d see a large brown sack, as heavy as flour, but full of tulip bulbs…with appropriate follow-up copy, of course.

The 9 Carefree Lives of Curiosity

It can serve your marketing needs endlessly…the business benefits will even seem to go on for 9 lives.

It will dissolve the stress of flat engagement, bringing new life to your campaigns. In fact, the original saying describes your new results: “Hang sorrow! Care’ll kill a cat!” said playwright Ben Jonson. Even in 1616, the English knew that stress kills! Use curiosity in your subject lines and effortlessly live out all 9 of your lives—carefree!

If you like, you might even be relaxed enough to try some tulip bread, or tulip bulb soup:

Let us know how they taste. And share some great email subject lines below! We would love to see them!

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