Ever watch one of those “happy clappy” Regis Philbin interviews?
(If I ever meet Regis in person, it's about 50/50 whether I punch him in the mouth. He's just too freakin' cheerful. When I wake up I need a minimum of 1-2 hours and two cups of coffee before I'm ready to even **think** about smiling.)
When Regis “grills” a guest on the air, he asks a bunch of powderpuff questions.
You can almost see the celebrity's agent sitting there next to Regis, trying not to move their lips while their words come out of his mouth.
Contrast that with the hardcore political shows like “Hardball,” or “The O'Reilly Factor.”
Chris Matthews and Bill O'Reilly go straight for the jugular.
They make a list of all the questions their guests DON'T want to answer… the questions that their viewers want answers to… and then they start pounding away. They try to make their victims squirm.
Now, would you be more impressed with a guest who sailed through a softball Q&A session with Regis…
Or someone who stared down Matthews or O'Reilly and turned those snarling, hostile questions right around to make their case passionately?
Who comes out with more credibility?
Here's how I apply this in the email campaigns I write.
One of the staples in every email marketer's arsenal is the “FAQ email.”
This is usually a LONG email that you use in the middle of a product launch or special promotion, where you list out 5-10 common questions and answer them.
And often these emails end up sounding like a Regis Philbin interview.
They're a list of softball setup questions—the kind you wish your prospects would ask.
No drama. Yawn. Delete.
That's not how I approach these emails.
Instead, I put myself in the reader's shoes and think:
“What are my biggest objections to this offer? What are the claims I don't believe? What are the questions that the product creator would NOT want me to ask?”
I make a list of those questions.
I drag all the nasty skeletons out of the closet and dump them in the middle of the floor.
Then I go a step further:
I write them in a tone that sounds hostile—even angry where appropriate.
Why is this a good approach?
Your subscribers are savvy. They've been burned by advertisers in the past.
And you know what? Deep down, they're angry about that.
By giving voice to that anger and cynicism, you're diffusing it.
By showing that you're willing to face the music, you're building your credibility.
After that, they're much more likely to believe you when you say you can help them—and that means you're 90% of the way to the sale.