There are a handful of folks whose emails I ALWAYS read.
They’re so good, I sometimes wonder:
“How do they do it?”
I get a lot of emails, because I subscribe to a lot of lists. I filter the emails from copywriters & marketers and keep them in a special folder.
Each morning I start my day by going through this folder (labelled, imaginatively, ‘Copywriting’) and seeing what these fine folk have to say.
It’s kind of a part of my job:
I consider it my duty as someone who creates, optimizes and analyses messaging for $$ to study these emails and try to figure out what makes them good…
So I can share those tips and tactics with my clients, and with you.
That’s exactly what I’m doing today.
Read on to find out who some of these expert emailers are, and what you can swipe from them…
^^ I took that screenshot last week. Maybe you recognise some of the names.
I’d noticed how this particular cluster of emails all came from writers & entrepreneurs with one thing in common:
They all communicate their unique voice effectively.
So effectively, that each morning when I dig into these folks’ emails, I know exactly who I’m reading with barely a glance at the ‘send name’ or signature.
It’s like I can hear their voices in my head when I read…
(Kinda creepy, I know).
So yeah, I spend the first half-hour of my day LISTENING TO THE VOICES IN MY
What my non-writer pals consider “skiving” (thanks guys), I consider essential research into how to create good messaging…
A daily dive into what writers are talking about and why… who they’re promoting… which insights they’re sharing…
And most importantly:
HOW they’re doing it.
I actually find it easier to jump into the flow of writing for clients or my own projects if I read a few good emails first.
If you can find 15-30 minutes each day, I recommend you get on some email lists and do this too.
Because it’s not just copywriters who should learn from the email experts…
If you’re an entrepreneur, service provider or running a small-medium business, email is the perfect way to establish authority and demonstrate your unique voice…
You can do it over days, weeks, months and years – and if you’re teaching and sharing, your audience will pay attention.
(There are people in that screenshot I’ve read emails from weekly, even daily, for years. I’d miss them if they stopped.)
Email’s ‘in the moment’ format captures attention AND rewards sustained engagement in way social media simply can’t.
Plus, email is still one of the most effective marketing channels around, delivering huge ROI when done right.
So let’s take a quick look at a few ways you can use emails to ‘Sell Unique’ like the elites in my inbox…
Jason Leister and John Carlton – Challenge & Motivate
First up, Jason Leister: the only person who I open and read an email from every single working day.
If you’re looking for a unique voice, Jason’s is right up there. Through his emails he teaches entrepreneurs and biz-folk how to walk their own path, and to ‘do what you love and prosper’.
Never preachy, never judgmental, he focuses on teaching first, selling (much) later.
He knows it works, so he helps others do the same. It’s brilliantly simple, really.
The key thing I get from reading Jason’s daily emails (I’ve been a subscriber for around 5 years, and a customer for almost the same) is that he challenges his readers and the way we think about our lives & businesses.
Some people respond to being challenged – not everyone, for sure – but if you have people on your list who are looking for leadership or a new perspective, try challenging them with your views.
It takes experience and guts, but when you get it right, you’ll have people reading, learning and even buying from you for years to come.
Reading email from grizzled copywriting veteran John Carlton is like an adrenaline shot in the morning.
His direct, confident, no-BS style is just what you need to face the inevitable challenges your biz will run into.
There’s a consistency of tone and strong voice in every message, and even when he goes long (and Carlton sometimes goes very long) he uses enough imagery and ‘power words’ to keep you entertained and motivated.
You can tell from that subject line (“Learn to freakin’ write copy, already…”) he’s the very opposite of the stuffed-shirt, legal-department type often found in the corporate world. And he revels in it.
Carlton is the rebel marketer’s copywriter of choice, and he’s earned that respect over years of dispensing blunt, often hilarious entrepreneurial wisdom.
If you don’t know him yet, get. on. his. list. Pronto!
Kaleigh Moore and Laura Belgray – Educate & Entertain
Kaleigh Moore’s ‘Cup of Copy’ emails are focused on helping marketers and biz-owners write in a clearer, more engaging way – just like Kaleigh herself does for her Saas and tech reporting clients.
What I love about her fortnightly emails is that in each one she teaches something new in the most succinct, readable style.
Kaleigh’s writing has a lightness of touch that makes her educational emails very easy to read, but is actually much harder to do than it looks…
Pay attention to how she edits her emails – delivering educational content in such a clear, conversational way is all about word choice.
If you want to consistently teach your audience and position yourself as an authority to be heeded and respected, check out how Kaleigh does it.
Laura Belgray is a copywriter and scriptwriter (for the likes of Marie Forleo), and her emails are always witty, knowing and story-driven.
She’s all about entertainment – even when she’s telling stories about her Dad’s funeral (seriously, it’s funny as hell).
Laura’s like that cool cousin or sophisticated aunt you have in the city, the one who gets invited to all the best parties and knows all the hip restaurants (she’s particularly good on restaurant anecdotes.)
I’m a fairly recent convert to her saucy email chatter, but nobody has made me laugh out loud in my inbox as often as Laura this past year.
If you want to learn sassy, funny, grown-up email writing that shows off your personality – and aren’t afraid of a few f-bombs (and worse/better) – Laura is your new NYC BFF.
Ian Stanley and Tarzan Kay – Promote & $ell
Ian Stanley is hilarious and he knows it.
I had lunch with him at Copy Chief Live last year and caught his (enjoyably filthy) stand-up set too, so I’ve had first-hand experience of his character-driven copy comedy.
His writing style is provocative, funny, frequently NSFW and he’s not afraid to sell in his emails. As one of the direct response world’s most sought-after email writers, he practices what he preaches.
Ian is tuned in to his audience too: ambitious internet marketers and startup founders.
And hey, even if you find this style a little ‘bro-heavy’, it’s worth watching how he promotes his courses, consulting and events with email…
And whenever he links to his Facebook videos as ‘Lie Topez’ or other online marketing / self-help guru spoofs, get clickin’ and buckle up for funnies.
Tarzan Kay (I know, great name, but you’ll have to ask her if it’s real) is an email copywriter extraordinaire.
This means not only can she do the funny, educational, sassy stuff as above, but she knows how to sell, too.
Her emails more often than not are selling something – like a course, webinar or just an opening in her busy calendar – but if you want to see how that works so you can sprinkle a little magic sales dust in your email too, I recommend following along.
After all, you want to master the ‘selling’ part of Selling Unique too, right?
To sum up:
Each of these writer/entrepreneurs has established their own voice over time, and they’re using email to get attention, strengthen their brands and sell more stuff.
(I’ve spent my own cold hard cash on some of their services – often as a result of their emails. So yeah, this stuff works.)
And the cool thing is:
You don’t even need to be able to write as well any of these dudes & dudesses to stand out in your target market’s inbox…
Just be honest, funny(ish) and have something different you want to say.
If someone’s opted-in to your email marketing, you have their permission to share your thoughts, offers and insights with them.
Your reader wants to hear from YOU, to get to know you better and to learn about themselves – so this is your opportunity to make your unique voice heard and to connect with the people you’ve chosen to help.
Write to them weekly, bi-weekly, monthly – it doesn’t really matter…
But email is the perfect tool for getting your distinct voice recognised, and for Selling Unique – so use it, regularly.
Teach, entertain, engage, promote, solve problems…
And if you get stuck for inspiration, try ‘stealing like an artist’ and make like one of the email experts above.
Ok, now your turn…
Whose emails are unmissable for you?
Hit up the comments below to give me your recommendations!