15 Different Ways to Ask: A Lesson in Marketing

My journey in revamping my marketing skills began this past winter. First I watched a TedTalk or two on the topic. Then I tried out a multilevel marketing gig. After getting set up, I decided the process wasn’t for me, but I was grateful from what I had learned. Particularly in how this company sent out multiple types of ads to the various Facebook groups to which they were marketing.

I learned you could say ONE thing in SO MANY different ways—trying out which wording caught others’ attention the most, or to attract different types of people with different types of ads.

Later on this year, my brother, who is in the business field, gave me similar advice on how to phrase an email I was writing to discuss my recently self-published book (hyperlink). He said: Try one set of text one week and then the following week try a different one. Then see which is more effective in garnering responses.

Today I spent some time clearing out my inbox; particularly the emails sent from an online survey company. Before I cleared them all, I decided to take note of the different subject lines they used to lure me in to take another survey (The more visitors they have to their site, the more clout they get with the companies who send them the individual surveys, I believe.)

And guess what?

They used 15 different subjects lines.

Some played on one’s sense of urgency:

“Survey is closing soon. Don’t miss out!”


“Don’t forget to take this survey!”

Others combined urgency with guilt:

“Your survey is waiting.”


“We need you for this one.”

Their usage of personal “you” was even more personalized in these versions:

“Exclusive survey just for you, Gila”


“Gila, you’ve been chosen for this survey.”

Then there were those that played off of the newness/specialness of the survey as well as the payment one would receive:

“New paid survey available.”


“Earn rewards for this special survey.”

Perhaps the most powerful, albeit most technical, were those that painted a picture of the achievement of the reward: the how and the how much. As in:

“40 point survey in 13 minutes.”

That version had an alternate one incorporating newness as well:

“New 65 point 20 minute survey.”

Highlighting the unique role of a person’s impact, the newness and transience of the survey, painting a picture of how one would receive reward and exactly how long it would take ALL work to motivate someone to get on it and click to take the survey.
I’m not grateful for the incessant emails from this survey company. But I am grateful for the lesson in marketing and advertising they provide for me—how to play off of people’s sense of urgency, their yearning to feel special and their desire for instant gratification.


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