The “I messed up” emails. They’re intriguing, right?

I subscribe to a lot of people’s email newsletters… from business coaches, tech people, and other health coaches. I’ve noticed a lot of people sending these “I messed up” emails. Here are a few subject lines:

  • How I failed clients
  • I’m coming clean
  • I shouldn’t tell you this
  • A confession
  • Shit! I screwed up
  • Terra, I feel like I let you down & I want to make it up to you (he used my name!)
  • I’m such an idiot. Here’s why…
  • Why I almost quit my business

I have to admit, I open all of them! I’m so curious about how they “messed up” or “failed” or “let you down.” (And I’m also getting a peek at how the trend is evolving because I love to study marketing and communications. It is absolutely fascinating to me.)

But honestly, I think these subject lines are a great way to get people to open the emails.

The intention is to make you think, “hey, she admitted when she was wrong or messed up. She’s a real person, like me.” I don’t think they’re trying to fool anyone (though they may be exaggerating).

When done well, these emails can be a really powerful way to connect with your audience and grow your list. Here’s an example:

The subject line was “I am a complete fraud.”

Woah! I gotta open that one! Is she closing her business? Did someone sue her? What’s going on?!

The email describes her own negative self talk about being a fraud, which was really powerful. She’s tapping in to our own fears as entrepreneurs. (Who hasn’t, at one time or another, been afraid of being a fraud?)

She cleverly outlines why she’s a “fraud” and then gives the reasons why she actually isn’t a fraud. It was a genius way to tell her followers –in detail– why she is the most qualified person to help them.

The alternative would be a boring resume-style list of places she’s worked, courses she’s taken, and clients she’s helped. This was much more stealthy, and much more effective.

She also generously provided a worksheet for her followers to download to help overcome their own fears. The whole thing was really well done. (Check out the corresponding blog post she wrote.)

So, what do you think about these “I failed” emails? Honest and genuine? Or, just another way to get in touch and tell you about their program? I’m on the fence, but you can bet I’m going to keep opening them!

Take action now! Brainstorm a newsletter or blog post you could write about how you’ve failed or let someone down. How could you can use this idea to introduce the 80/20 rule, or talk about bio-individuality? Tell me your ideas here and we can brainstorm together. Or would you avoid this strategy? What’s your take?