Defining a Framework for “Valuable” Constructive Feedback


Framework for Valuable Constructive Feedback

TL;DR: A prospect forgot their info in signup funnel. We asked for the info with an automated message. He responds using this framework for valuable constructive feedback:

  • Be Specific
  • Identify Problem
  • Recognize Intentions
  • Positive Reinforcements
  • Create a Desire for Solutions
  • Suggest Multiple Solutions

Now for a background story on constructive feedback…

When prospects signup and don’t include a phone number or provide a fake number, we send an automated message asking them to update the phone we have for them.


Overall, this is a successful campaign. Lucky for us, one recipient left valuable constructive feedback. I annotate the content below, so you won’t miss anything if you skip reading this image.



The first item of valuable feedback:

I love MailLift and its concept, and I LOVE the hustle of this tactic to both get the email opened, and (presumably) get someone on the phone. So… the feedback below is 100% intended to help you improve and succeed, not as some type of “gotcha” opportunity.

Tyler let us know from the start he is on our side, wants to help, and understands the goals behind the object of constructive criticism. He captured our interest and set the stage for a receptive audience.



Don’t send a message of this type from your ESP (Infusionsoft). I say this because I’m guessing you’re often marketing to marketers like me, and a “personal” message with an unsubscribe link will be sniffed out as anything but personal by your audience, not to mention that being personal while still achieving scale through automation is what MailLift’s entire model is based on, so you’d better be great at it.

While I’d say this isn’t right 100% of the time, Tyler is correct. Our customers are top marketers and sales teams for some of the largest brands and enterprises, and they see right through the automated messages through the ESP we use (Infusionsoft).

Most feedback emails stop here after offering positive reinforcement (explaining what we are doing right) and identify a problem. But Tyler continues with the two missing attributes of valuable and constructive feedback most leave out.

First, he explains why MailLift’s actions are is likely a problem for MailLift, rather than just an inconvenience or problem for him. Second, as you will see below, he offers a multiple solutions.


In 2016, there’s plenty of super cost-effective ways to still automate personal emails in a less tacky way (without using your ESP), while still maintaining the open/click tracking that I’m sure you love. is a good option, as is

I understand that this isn’t a small shift, so in the near term, if you must use Infusionsoft, put 20 hard returns after your sign-off. This will push that telltale address line and unsub link well off of most screens (especially on mobile, which is where most of your recipients are reading your message anyway).

At this point, I started writing a message to Sujan Patel at when I realized the email Tyler sent me is gold and that I should the share the content with you (readers).

And the constructive feedback continues with temporary solutions if we don’t make the switch to ContentMarketer or Outreach.

Put a space between your first and last name in your signature. Just another dead giveaway that this is automated… people don’t screw up their own names without a reason. Imagine if one of your writers botched one of your clients’ signatures in one of their handwritten notes… the personal touch of the note turns into smelling fishy in a hurry, and all of a sudden your client is worse off than if they’d sent no such note in the first place.

Tyler suggests a solution before the problem this time, which is okay because he’s shown respect. Again he is helping me relate to a problem, understand why the problem affects me more than him, and offers a solution.

Now there isn’t much I can add as the rest of the message goes on without being redundant. But since I’m guessing everyone is curious what was said, here is the rest of his feedback:

Love the subject line. Clear attempt at something a person would really send another person, which is huge for open rate. One thought: if you were to actually directly send me this message via gmail, would you really use title case (capitalizing every word) in the subject line? No way. That’s something brands do, not people. Look through your inbox at messages between yourself and friends/coworkers. Whatever you find, that’s the level of formality/informality you’re looking for. Test out sending a batch using sentence case (or even all lower case if you want to get real causal) against a control of the title case like you sent me. Guessing this could boost your open rates.

I don’t have a use for MailLift right now, and it’s not on my roadmap for awhile as my side hustle business is still in its infancy, so you can hit an extended snooze button on the follow up for me for now.

Now, go forth and sell the hell of out of MailLift – just be smart about it!


One more time, here’s the framework!

Framework for Valuable Constructive Feedback:

Author: Brian Curliss

Brian Curliss is the CEO of MailLift and a leader in B2B SaaS marketing and sales tools.