How to discover the “Goldilocks” amount of personality to add to your emails

I don’t think I’ve written an “a subscriber asked a question so I thought I’d use it in an email” email before…

So let’s try it with this question from Ivan:

I’m working on a welcome sequence and want to infuse a little bit of personality into it, but I’m stuck — it’s either too much or too little. Can you help?”

I’ve written about this before but because my answer applies to much more than just “personality”, it’s worth hearing again.

Essentially, Ivan’s asking which is the better problem to have – too much or too little personality.

Given my last email about comfort eating, you won’t be surprised to discover that I have both my girthy cankles wedged – and sinking ever deeper – in the “better to have too much…” camp.

Here’s why…

It’s far easier to cut personality from an over-the-top email than it is to liven up a “boooooor- ring”, dull as dishwater one.

That’s why in my first draft I throw everything into the doc – every gag and idea I have, or mark spaces where I think a smidge of personality could work.

This is total “BRAINDUMP” mode. And my only goal is to get every possible idea out of my head and onto the page.

Once I’m absolutely (positively) sure I’ve got EVERYTHING down…

I put my “MERCILESS EDITOR” hat on…

Where I cut anything that doesn’t serve a positive purpose.

When writing for clients, I’m like Leon on a bad day – a badass, totally ruthless mofo.

When it’s my emails, I’m more like Elmer Fudd. I give myself room for play.

Anything I cut, I dump at the bottom of the document in case I change my mind or think it might fit someplace else.

If I can’t find a home for it, I march it to the swamp, ask it to kneel down, and put two bullets in the back of its head I’ll copy it into a big note in Evernote with all the other “homeless” ideas I’ve ever had.

I don’t “kill my darlings”… I just put them up for adoption.

As I said, this “better to have too many” idea goes further than personality.

For example, I’d much rather be able to come up with:

– 10 killer subject lines, rather than struggle to come up with one…

– Many click-inducing CTAs for every email and be forced to whittle it down to the best 2 or 3…

– 17 different ideas for a YouTube channel I can test…

Don’t filter yourself too early. Give yourself time to go completely nuts… and then dial it back.

If having too many great ideas is your only problem…

… you don’t have any problems.

John