There’s this great saying from the Robert Collier Letter book: “When you’re writing an advertisement, you want to enter the converation in your prospect’s mind.”

Maybe you’ve heard it before.

Personally, I thought that book was the most boring thing I’d ever read in my life. I actually couldn’t even find that quote in the book, because my eyes glazed over from the very first page.

That book SUCKS ASS!

Despite this, it still is a very important quote.

Especially if you’re own a company that sells a product that is facing some stiff competition.

At the time of this writing, we are balls deep in Q4.

It’s Holiday shopping season… and physical products (read: gifts you can wrap and put under a tree) are pretty much the only things on people’s minds.


What do you do if you sell more of an intangible product or service?


You simply enter the conversation in your prospect’s mind… and then CHANGE that conversation.

You pull a Draper.

My mentor, coach, and confidant Kevin Rogers actually forwarded me the email I’m going to break down for this week’s Email of the Week.

It’s from the company Rev.

Rev is a transcription service (among other things). I have personally used them a lot… they have great service and I’m always happy with the product I get in return for my money.

They – like many other companies – are probably struggling to stand out in an inbox dominated by incredible retail/e-commerce offers.

But they did such a masterful job of grabbing attention and shifting beliefs… I thought we had to take a look at their email from this week.

I’m not sure what is going on at Rev, but their emails have gotten considerably better over the past few weeks.  This week’s email is a perfect example of their new strategy, which I bet is working very well for them.

So let’s just get down to it…

This is the 17th installment of my Email of the Week series. (Catch up on previous episodes here.)

And in case you’re new around here, here’s how this all works…

The Rules For Email Of The Week

Each week, I go out into the wild to find a super-effective e-commerce marketing email… and I break down what made it work. My goal is for you to tune in each week, so I can teach you strategies and best practices YOU can use to make your own emails better.

I find these emails in my inbox, but I also accept suggestions from readers who have a remarkable email they’d like to share.

If you recently received an email that was so awesome it made your jaw drop, I wanna see it.

Forward it to me (chris at theemailcopywriter dot com) with a brief message about what you liked about it. If I choose to do a breakdown of the email you sent, I’ll give you a shout out and link to your site.

The only rule is… you can’t pick yourself.

Now then, without further ado, let’s check out the Email of the Week!

Pace… Then Lead. Then Profit.

I know he didn’t invent the term pacing and leading, but Scott Adams sure does an incredible job of pointing out this technique in public settings.

That’s where I learned the power of this persuasion strategy.

Basically, pacing is where you “meet someone where they’re at”… and leading is “taking them to where they need to be.”

Of course, this is a technique that happens in between someone’s ears.

And, it’s not hard to do.

In fact, this persuasion strategy is something you should ALWAYS be interweaving into your email copy.

The email I got from Rev this week did an incredible job of that. And, well… they kind of had to.

I highly doubt many people have “transcription services” on the top of their Christmas lists. It’s probably one of the furthest things in people’s minds.


If you work at Rev, what are you supposed to do?

Just NOT bring in revenue?

Of course not.

That’s preposterous.

Their team needed to find a way to grab some attention and bring their offers back to the forefront of your mind. And I think they did this quite brilliantly.

Let’s take a look at HOW they made this happen and likely made a lot of sales with a single email…

Subject Line Split Test!

I got this email from Rev, and a few hours later, Kevin forwarded the one he got.

I didn’t realize this at first, but they both had a different subject line.

That means: Rev is split testing their subject lines. I would imagine they have a pretty big list, so I think this makes a lot of sense.

Let’s take a look at them:

Subject line A: Rev: NOT the best gift ????

Subject line B: Please don’t give them us ❄

I like that they both are NOT title cased. By not title casing, they appear more personal, like an email from a friend… or at least from a real person. They both use an emoji.

I know some people get really aroused over the thought of using emojis in subject lines. I think they can help, if used sparingly. They do tend to grab the eye.

You just don’t wanna be the person who used an emoji every time you send an email.

Please… don’t be that guy/gal.

I personally like A a lot better than B.

B reads a little wonky.

I get it, I get what they’re trying to do. And I respect it… because it plays beautifully off the hook of the email. But there’s something about the way it reads that is a little confusing in my brain.

I’m having trouble articulating my thoughts on why I don’t like it.

I’m really curious which one won.

Anyway, let’s dive INTO the email…


They did a really great job of drawing you in with curioisty.

Your eyes read the headline. And it’s kind of weird… because they’re essentially telling you NOT to use/give their service.

I think this creates a little cognitive dissonance in your brain. You probably weren’t planning on doing that anyway, but they’re telling you not to anyway.

This confusion makes you a bit curious and gets you to – and this is important – READ THE NEXT LINE.

That’s what great headline & subhead copy does.

Great headlines do not SELL the offer. They sell YOU on reading the ad.

This is very important to remember.

You gotta grab and hold their attention before you can make your pitch.

I think they did a great job of this. And that curiosity even continues into the subhead here.

There’s almost a hint of a story here.

“We appreciate the love, but Rev isn’t for everybody…”

You start to think: did something happen?

So now you gotta scroll down and read to find out.

Then, there’s the picture of the little girl with a disappointed look and a gift box from rev in her lap.

This is where this email gets kind of humorous…


That first paragraph is a brilliant example of “pacing.”

Rev is meeting you where you’re at.

You’ve seen all the other companies in your inbox push and push and push to convince you to buy their stuff. They even cite that ‘cure for baldness’ email they received, which made me laugh.

On that next line, they draw their line in the sand:

“Enough is enough.”

This is an intriguing line and brings your attention further into the copy.


This is the part of the email where they transition from pacing to leading.

What’s interesting here is that this is a GREAT brand awareness play. First, it reminds you that they exist. Second, it links their brand with the services/solutions they offer. And third… it makes you laugh.

When people laugh, there’s a greater chance they’ll be receptive to what you’re saying in your ad… and it’ll also link some good-feeling brain chemicals with your brand.

I love how they lace the benefits of their services into that bottom paragraph. But they do so in a way where they’re telling you NOT to gift their service to a friend.

Again, obviously they know you weren’t planning on doing that.

But what they’re doing here is putting those benefits in front of you anyway.

They grabbed your attention and are now taking the opportunity to remind you of all the awesome benefits they bring.

You might not even have known about some of these benefits, like the rush option. I sure as hell didn’t know that. But, now I do.

You’ll notice as we move through this email that there are a lot of hyperlinks. I love hyperlinking specific words that correspond with the offer on the landing page.

When you click captions, you wind up on their caption services page. When you click transcripts, you wind up on their transcript page

If you’re in the market for either of those things – or if you are interested in learning more – you’ll click either of those links.

One other thing they’re doing in this copy block:

They’re positioning themselves.

And, they’re flexing.

They’re stating the obvious: “Hey, we’re really not a great gift. But here’s what we are AWESOME at.”

They lead off with a “damaging admission”. Which, between you and me, is not really damaging at all.

Nevertheless, your brain interprets it as such. It gets you to lower your guard because they are being honest about what they are NOT good at. And that means you’ll be extra receptive to the next part of the copy… where they say what they’re good at.

If all they did was say: “HEY WE’RE THE BEST, BUY OUR STUFF” you might be a little turned off.

But the somewhat ‘damaging admission’ gives them cart blanche to brag about their services.

Oh yeah, here’s the coolest part of this email.

When you click that last link in the email, it takes you to this page.

This is pretty funny.

Listen to me very carefully…

People’s lives are VERY boring.

We are constantly looking to laugh and to be entertained.

This blog post is literally them telling you a bunch of bad gifts for your nieces and nephews.

That’s funny.

Coincidentally, they’re taking another chance to brag about all the stuff they do well as a company.


Of course, throughout the entire blog post a few CTA buttons follow you down the page. And at the end, you see there’s a big button to get your transcription started:

I guess you can say this is technically an advertorial, albeit a funny one.

They inject a ton of personality and humor.

I mean, think about this for a second…

They are a company that does transcriptions.

Name a company with a product or service that’s more boring than fucking transcribing audios into text files.

I mean, I think I’d rather watch paint dry.

Yet… they made this email (and landing page) funny as hell!

And on top of that, I bet they sold a ton of service during what might be a historically slow time of the year.

All in all, I am VERY impressed with Rev’s email game.

Well done Rev.

Hats off for this awesome email.

Can’t wait to see what you send out next.

Special Shout Out to Kevin Rogers

Like I said at the beginning of this article, Kevin Rogers was the one who sent me this email.

There are so many awesome things I can say about Kevin, I don’t even know where to begin.

For starters, he’s my mentor in this industry. Without him, I probably still would have been stuck in a job I hated. I don’t know if I ever would have been able to have the kind of business I have today.

My entire business strategy is to tell Kevin my problems, listen to what he says to say, and then DO THOSE THINGS.

And ya know what?

It’s worked pretty damn well so far!

If you aren’t a member of Copy Chief yet… I seriously don’t know what’s wrong with you. I mean, you’ve gotta be crazy to NOT be in there. I joined back in 2015 and I will never leave.

The community Kevin has built has been nothing short of life-changing.

He’s gathered the smartest copywriters and business owners in the world and put them into a community where everyone shares what’s working for them… and where everyone gives feedback and guidance.

It’s truly a great example of a “rising tide lifts all ships.”

There are a lot of communities out there, but in my opinion, Copy Chief is where you go when you’re ready to actually get serious about your copy career.

Click here to learn more about Copy Chief.

Also, depending on when you’re reading this…

If it’s before 12/11/19 at noon, you should sign up for the FREE live training Kevin is giving. It’s called The Freelancer’s Journey (click here to save your spot).

Kevin is going to unveil, for the first time publicly, the 7 phases of a freelance career… and the steps you need to take to jump to each level.

This was groundbreaking stuff.

I was kind of amazed when I saw this at Copy Chief Live.

Kevin is the first guy to take this largely invisible process of building a successful freelance business and make it VISIBLE.

Just make sure you sign up and show up live, if you can. It’s going to be transformative, no matter what stage of your freelance business you’re at.

Click here to register for The Freelancer’s Journey call


Thank you so much Kevin.

Not only for submitting this email for a breakdown… but also for helping me take my career to heights I couldn’t ever imagine.

So big shout out to Kevin Rogers. Thank you so much for sending this in. You are awesome.
And if YOU would like to submit an email for review for Email of the Week (and get a shoutout if I choose your submission)… forward me a really awesome, text-heavy eCommerce email that made your jaw drop.

Big Takeaways From Rev’s Email

  1. Enter the conversation in your prospects mind.
  2. If you don’t like what people are saying (or thinking), change the conversation.
  3. Pace… then lead.
  4. Even boring products and services can be funny.
  5. Always remind people who you are, what you do well, the problems you solve, and the results you can bring.
  6. Match hyperlinked words with relevant landing pages.
  7. The job of your headline and subhead are to get people to keep reading.
  8. If you want to blatantly brag, lead with a damaging admission.
  9. Your damaging admissions don’t have to be that damaging at all in order to work.
  10. Keep your message tight and pithy.

Sneak Peek for Next Week

One of the most important, yet unsexy, parts of running an e-commerce company is gathering reviews and testimonials from customers. This is often where your best copy hooks and ideas come from.

The truth is…

Most people read product reviews before making a buying decision.

Another truth is…

Most people don’t get jazzed up to leave reviews, even if they love your product.

People are busy and distracted.

But, there IS a way to get a ton of reviews for your products. And you can completely automate this process so that every single day, you’re growing your social proof which will convert more prospects into customers.

Next week, we’re going to look at a really simple framework you can model for your own company.

Get ready to get a TON of awesome feedback from people who love your products.

That’s coming next week, so stay tuned…

What You Should Do Next

  1. Subscribe to my email list so you can get ALL of the Emails of the Week delivered straight to your inbox, automatically.
  2. Leave a comment for me below and let me know what you liked about this email.
  3. Send this breakdown to someone you know who has a physical product business. You might give them some inspiration to write an email that helps them change the conversation in their prospects minds.
  4. Join Copy Chief. You can thank me later.
  5. Use Rev for your transcriptions. They are so awesome and so affordable. I ALWAYS use them for my own transcriptions. I’m a happy customer and I think you will be, too.


2 thoughts on “[Email of the Week #17]: Rev”

  1. This was great — it was so timely because I’ve been wondering how I could make emails funny, and this was the perfect example. I learned a ton — now thinking how to mimic this with other products.

  2. This is fascinating stuff. I’m also curious which of Rev’s email subjects won. I have a thought on why ‘B’ reads funny. Phrasing like that used to imply a preposition. I remember reading sentences like “Give it me and I’ll fix it.” A century ago (and maybe even more recently) Rev’s subject line would have meant, “Please don’t give them [to] us.”
    So technically they are using improper grammar…? Which wouldn’t matter to most of today’s generation, but perhaps for anyone old-school (or anyone who just reads a ton of old stuff), it rubs the wrong way.

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