When I first got the idea to do these weekly email breakdowns, I knew I wanted to focus solely on e-commerce companies who are doing great things with their email marketing.
In my mind, that meant I’d spend most of my time breaking down emails that sell “physical” products.
Like, stuff you get in the mail.
Any product that’s sold online COULD be considered “e-commerce.”
So sometimes, I like to venture out into other industries to borrow some techniques that are super effective.
For this week’s Email of the Week, we’re going to be looking at an email from one of my copywriting heroines, Laura Belgray.
But wait… she doesn’t’ sell physical products!
She sells mini-courses which are awesome, btw. I own them all and paid for them myself. You should buy them, too. And she also sells her Shrimp Club mastermind.
AND… she sells one of my favorite email copywriting course I’ve EVER taken: Inbox Hero.
(I went through inbox hero and the very next email I wrote to my list earned me $2,183. So yeah… you should get it. It’s currently closed, but you can get on the Inbox Hero waitlist here.)
Good email is good email.
I have had a LOT of people ask me: “What’s the difference between writing emails for physical products vs info-products/courses?”
Wanna know a little secret?
There is no fucking difference.
Good email is good email.
A good email copywriter can sell anything.
A great email copywriter can sell stuff you didn’t even know you wanted or needed.
Laura is an email copywriter with legendary skills.
I love her style, even though I’m probably not her intended target market.
But it’s not just the words and sentences in her emails that make her emails so great. I think she’s a very savvy email strategist as well.
When I work with a lot of e-commerce companies, most are clueless when it comes to email. (Hey, you can’t be good at everything. I’ve met a lot of genius-level people in the e-com world… just not necessarily when it comes to email marketing.)
So when I see brilliant strategy… I’m gonna break it down.
You’ll see what I mean in just a sec…
So strap yourself in.
Put your hands at 10 and 2.
Focus your breathing.
And get ready to take a look at a really good fucking email.
Without further ado…
Let’s dive into this week’s Email of the Week!
This is the 24th 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!
Back in August, I got an email from Laura Belgray where she was linking to her first article in Fast Company.
Of course… I was going to read it.
Because I read EVERY email Laura writes.
But there was something so brilliant that she did… I just couldn’t believe it.
I had NEVER seen anything like this ever before in all my years of emailing.
What did she do that was so damn amazing?
Ya know what?
I think I’m just gonna open loop your ass.
Keep reading and all will be revealed shortly.
Ok, take a look at that subject line.
Laura is a MASTER subject line writer. I know she covers her methods inside her Inbox Hero course (which I was the FIRST person to buy, btw)… so I’m not going to reveal all her secrets.
All I can say is…
Her subject lines LOOK and FEEL like they’re coming from a person.
Here’s what she’s not doing with her subject lines.
She’s NOT saying something like:
Check Out Talking Shrimp’s Brand New Piece Of Content!
^^That is a hypothetical example of the corporate, title-cased bullshit subject line style that a lot of brands use whenever they’re sending content to their lists. DO NOT DO THAT.
Look at Laura’s SL:
OMG – stop procrastinating
It almost feels like your buddy is watching you across the office and emailing you to stop dicking around.
Does this subject line reveal ANYTHING inside the email?
And that’s a good thing.
Because in an instant, you see it… and you’re overcome with curiosity.
And let’s face it… we all procrastinate every single day.
The funny thing is… she DOES pay off this subject line quickly. And you realize that as soon as you get into the body copy.
One more thing before we move on…
See how Laura has her logo in her email?
Notice how it is NOT obnoxiously large.
Notice how it does NOT bury the copy.
Notice how it is NOT the focus of her email.
If you’re going to use your logo in your email, do it the way Laura does it.
Let’s look at the opener…
(I PROMISE we’ll get to the super-brilliant part soon)
What do you see here?
Super-personal greeting & opener.
This, again, looks and feels like an email you’d get from a friend. I believe Laura calls this technique EFAB: Email from a bestie.
One of the things I teach inside Email Copy Academy is to always begin your stories with time-place-tension.
Think about any great story you’ve ever read… the beginning ALWAYS has to have these three elements present. Otherwise, the listener/reader is disoriented… or they won’t care.
That first line sucks you in.
It’s very hard to resist reading further.
And that second line is actually funny as shit.
(That’s another thing Laura does well… she’s funny as all hell. She makes it look effortless)
There are so many A+ writing techniques packed into this paragraph… I know my breakdown will not do it justice.
But when you’ve had a prolific career like Laura has… you learn how to write really really really really really fucking good.
A couple quick notes:
- Look at her strategic use of detail. Roxy music, dot matrix printer, art history, cous cous. These details make the story interesting. There are boring, generic word replacements for ALL of these items… but small details make all the difference. Why? Because they help you visualize the story in your brain. This is a perfect example of visual persuasion in writing. Flawless.
- Cursing! I fucking love cursing, if you haven’t picked up on that over the past 24 weeks. Laura’s not afraid to talk like she talks. I love it.
- Look at the verbs. Look at them. VERBS are what make your writing interesting. “She flapped her arms…” is a lot better than “she said.”
- Also… dialogue. For Christ Sake… use dialogue in your emails. It brings you into the small moment and makes you feel like you’re right there, watching it live.
Laura is a master of injecting visual persuasion into her writing.
When you’re reading this story, you feel like you’re a fly on the wall in her college apartment.
Let’s dive a little further…
Yes… I could talk all day about how awesome Laura’s visual persuasion game is.
But what’s really cool her is her segue.
At a certain point in every story-based email, you start to think to yourself: “What’s this gotta do with me and my problems?”
She hits ya with the segue.
This story is about hating people who don’t procrastinate. I share the same feelings towards people like that.
So there’s some bonding happening because she’s throwing rocks at our common enemy.
And the REASON she’s doing all this is so she can set the table for her new article.
So many people take the easy route…
They say: Hey, I made a new article, it’s good, here’s some bullets, fuck you, go read it, link, bye!
Not going to lie – sometimes when I’m in a pinch, I’m guilty of riffing a quick email like that and sending my content through.
But then again…
There’s a reason why Laura’s list is about 6-7x the size of mine.
There’s a reason her courses sell like crazy.
There’s a reason every time she emails about an article she published… it gets shared HUNDREDS of times and generates hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions?) of impressions.
The reason ALL of these good things happen is because she puts in the time to make her emails works of art.
But THIS ISN’T EVEN THE BEST PART!!!
Laura then screenshots her FB post and makes it a clickable link to the article.
The coolest thing about this is… when you DO go on FB and see that post, I bet there’s a higher likelihood you’ll not only read that article, but also like or comment or share.
The picture also breaks up the text a bit and re-captures all the “visual people.”
Now, here’s what separates mere mortal copywriters from the “Belgrays” of the world:
Notice how Laura is introducing multiple stories.
Between the college apartment story… the advice from her father… and her job at Nick at Nite… ALL of these stories take place at different places in time, but they’re woven together around the common theme of procrastination.
This is not only a great writing technique, it’s a great copy technique.
Because she’s dimensionalizing the importance of this topic.
She’s not just saying how important it is to be productive, she’s SHOWING you with stories from her own life.
What I’m about to show you is one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen any email marketer EVER do.
And, I’m a little peanut butter & jealous I didn’t think of it first (if we’re being completely honest).
Take a look at this sheer brilliance…
If you’ve EVER asked people to share a piece of content in 2019 or beyond…
You know you’re most likely going to be met with some resistance.
It’s not 2010 anymore.
People aren’t as “share-happy” as they used to be.
If you’re going to share something, you OBVIOUSLY wanna provide some context… so you’re not like one of those weird fucking people who share my Facebook ads, and when I click over and look at their profile picture it’s some old person who, with one glance, you can tell has NO interest in email copywriting… but they shared my ad anyway along with some random inspirational quotes and cooking recipes and fail videos.
Never understood those people.
You wanna write something cool and clever.
That probably takes time.
And you’re probably busy.
And you probably don’t know what you should say.
So Laura removes EVERY single obstacle standing in your way.
I think this is one of the many reasons why Laura’s articles get shared so far and wide. The other reasons are because (1) she’s awesome, (2) she’s a good person, (3) her content is actually really fucking good, (4) her writing style is fun to read, (5) I could keep going but you get the point.
I’ve worked on a LOT of affiliate launch campaigns. Many of which have gone on to do multiple millions of dollars in sales for our products.
The most important thing we could ever do for our partners was giving them swipe so they had an easier time promoting.
It’s not different when it comes to getting your readers to share your content.
You’ve gotta make it easy for people.
How many e-commerce brands would never even THINK about providing some “shareable swipe” copy for their readers?
It’s no wonder why most e-commerce companies have blogs that are like ghost towns – NO ONE goes there.
GIVE people an opportunity to engage, and to share, and to spread the good work your doing.
Remove EVERY obstacle in their way.
Make it easy, enjoyable, and fun to have people participate.
In other words…
Be like Belgray.
Big Takeaways from Laura Belgray’s Fast Company Article Email
- Visual persuasion is king in copy.
- Use dialogue.
- Tell multiple stories that have the same theme.
- Give people swipe copy so they can share your stuff.
- Make your subject lines look like real subject lines.
- Specific details make your writing fun.
- Write in a one-to-one tone.
- Be yourself. Always.
- Dimensionalize your benefits so people understand why what you’re saying is so important for THEM.
- Use pictures strategically.
- The best stories open with Time-Place-Tension.
- Every story needs to segue towards “what’s in it for me?”
- If you’re going to use a logo, don’t bury your copy.
- VERBS are the little hinges that swing big doors and make your writing more interesting.
- Be funny. We’re all bored and we’ll like you more if you make us laugh.
What You Should Do Now
- Subscribe to my email list so you can get ALL of the Emails of the Week delivered straight to your inbox, automatically.
- Leave a comment for me below and let me know what you liked about this email.
- Send this breakdown to someone you know who has a physical product business. You might help them get their content to go viral.
- Subscribe to Laura Belgray’s list. Seriously… her emails are the best around. Every time you get an email from her, it’s a masterclass in email copywriting. You’re not a serious player if you don’t get her emails.
Share This Article!
Here’s some swipe copy you can use verbatim if you want to…
Check out this brilliant email breakdown from my friend Chris Orzechowski. His analysis of one of Laura Belgray’s is nothing short of life-changing: [LINK]
You ever post a piece of content and then get pissed when nobody shares it? Chris Orzechowski’s latest Email of the Week breakdown is gonna solve that problem for ya… [LINK]
Why do some articles go mega-viral? The answer is in this article from a super-savvy email master, Chris Orzechowski. Check out his latest breakdown, it’s fantastic! [LINK]