Why Goldfishes Don’t Dig My Emails and Me…


Yesterday’s email included a quiz to see if you could tell the difference between posts written by an AI robot and a human. At the very bottom of the email, I wrote:

“How’d you do on the test? Reply to this email to let me know (and to share your thoughts about robots and such).”

Lots of great replies (many aced the test and some didn’t). 

And then this reply from some guy in Los Angeles who wrote: 

“All of your copy ALL of it is too LONG.SORRY BUT it’s a vital tip. Good luck.” 

Hmmmmmmmm. What should I do with this one? 

The guy — let’s call him Goldfish — seemed sorry about something. (About what?) 

And he thought “it’s” a vital tip. (What is it?) 

So I waited a few hours to let him sober up, and then I wrote back: 

“Thanks for the feedback. Sorry for what? And what’s the vital tip? That wasn’t clear to me.” 

Goldfish replied: “The tip is to do what you are doing BUT reduce the volume of all copy, all examples by a full 50%. I have nothing to gain by passing this on to you but I was a national sales trainer in 3 industries,, quoted in Forbes and interviewed on network TV and I know that most people that you now reach, will miss your call to action, The average human has inattention span shorter than that of a goldfish.” 


I’ve had other people tell me my emails are too long – but never a person quoted in Forbes AND interviewed on network TV (at least, never one who told me so). 

Now I had to decide…

…listen to the guy with the “credentials” who (somehow) knows all about the the people I reach OR…

…track my numbers and let the results guide me. 

I chose results

My reply to Goldfish:

I’ve tested short copy vs. long copy. Here’s my experience with the longer copy:

More click-throughs. More direct replies. More appointments scheduled. More sales. 

Same goes for lots of people whose long copy has inspired me: 

Gary Halbert, Daniel Throssell, Laura Belgray, Brian Kurtz, Dan Kennedy, Vance Morris, Dave Dee, Kim Schwalm, Adam Kreitman, Matt Furey, Ben Settle, Bill Mueller, Michael DeLon, Daniel Levis and many others who write long emails — and built great businesses doing it.   

People have longer attention spans than you suggest, especially if you give them a reason to pay attention.

Goldfish didn’t get back to me. (I think my reply was 49.9% too long for him)

I get it. Some people don’t want to read long emails — no matter how good they are. If emails like this are not for you, opt out. No problem. We part in peace.

But I know the people I want to reach, and I know (because I’ve tested) long entertaining, story-powered content draws in readers, captivates them, and inspires them to read to the bottom and act. 

Don't go away yet..

p.s. Coaches, authors, and consultants hire me to power-up their creative content and storytelling to captivate prospects, stand-out and book more business.

Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

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4) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.