[EDITOR’S NOTE]: One of the things I’ve learned in 2020 is that I am the bottleneck for almost everything in my business. That being said, I’m making every effort I can to get the hell out of the way so we can keep making magic, here at Orzy Media.
For almost an entire year, I was pumping out these Email of the Week breakdowns. But then life got real busy, real fast. And I once again got in the way of these breakdowns going out the door.
So here’s what I did…
I decided that I’m going to have some of the writers from my agency, Orzy Media, publish some email breakdowns. After all… why should I have all the fun, right?
They won’t be doing every single breakdown. I’ll still be doing the lion’s share of EotW breakdowns.
I still like to keep my teeth sharp.
But from time to time, I’m going to have some of the writers from my agency hop in and let them flex their email breakdown muscles here on my blog.
Today’s Email of the Week breakdown is from Eddie Biroun, one of the many talented copywriters here at Orzy Media. He’s worked with us on many of the accounts we have here at the agency, including Rich Dad, Poor Dad… The Hustle… Deadline Funnel… Mister Jones… and more. I’d recommend following Eddie and getting on his list, the guy is rock solid.
I’ll shut up now.
Take it away Eddie…
So I know Chris likes to stick to e-commerce emails for his breakdowns (obviously because it’s easier to apply the insights more directly).
But for this round…
I wanted us to step out of the silo for a bit and look at an email I got from one of copywriting’s finest – Mr. Joel Klettke.
Joel is a Conversion Copywriter to B2B and SaaS companies.
He’s also the Founder of Case Study Buddy – a marketing agency that specializes in turning your brand’s customer success stories into powerful marketing assets.
And like me, he’s also from cold-ass Canada.
Now here’s the thing:
Joel doesn’t sell many products (aside a few video trainings).
But he does write pretty damn good emails…
And in Chris’ words, “good email is good email”.
So today, I’m going to be looking at one I got from Joel back in October.
Because yeah… it’s pretty damn spectacular.
So much so, I did what I usually do when I get a good email – I printed it out and broke it down line by line… trying to figure out the magic trick and all.
All that to say, you’re in for a real treat for this week’s breakdown.
It doesn’t even matter that it’s not e-comm or that Joel doesn’t even make a pitch at the end (even though he could’ve and my wallet would’ve thrown itself to the monitor)…
Because as you’ll see with this breakdown, there’s so many compelling ideas and good moves in here… you’ll be more than well equipped to jolt up your next set of emails.
So without further ado, let’s get this shit poppin’.
The Rules For Email Of The Week
Every week, Chris goes out into the wild to find a super-effective e-commerce marketing email and breaks down what made it work.
But for this week, I (Eddie Biroun) will have the honor of taking over the steering wheel for a bit and going through the breakdown with you.
Goal’s still the same: to teach you some killer strategies and best practices that YOU can use to make your own emails better.
Like Chris, I found today’s email in my inbox.
But if you’ve got an email you’d like to share for an upcoming breakdown, then send it over to (chris at theemailcopywriter dot com) with a brief message about what you liked about it.
If he chooses to break it down, he’ll give you a nice ol’ shout out and link over to your website.
There’s one rule, of course: you can’t pick yourself (that’d be real douchey)…
And to really up the odds of being picked, try to send an email from an e-comm brand you love to buy from.
Let’s get into this Email of the Week already.
How To Write Emails Like A Kind & Bald Human Pro
Back in October, I was busy writing up some email copy with Chris and the team at Orzy Media.
I’m also one of those people who has to shut everything off to get the writing done.
So I don’t typically read emails the second they show up in my inbox.
Occasionally, there’ll be a subject line that punches me in the face so good… it compels me to drop whatever it is I’m doing to go read the rest of the email.
And on Tuesday, October 20th @ 2:03 PM… Eddie Biroun got punched in the face real good by THIS subject line:
Subject line: The project that almost killed my career
Now why is it so hard to walk away from this?
A few reasons:
- Curiosity – This subject line opens up a loop. Now it’s rattling off in my brain. I’m compelled to find out more so that the curiosity stops rattling off in my brain. It won’t stop unless I do.
- Crisis – Our brains are hardwired to spot problems. This is why we love drama in our stories. We need conflict to get a resolution. And “the project that almost killed my career” sounds like a hell of a conflict. Especially considering…
- Context – I’m on Joel’s list because I think he’s a great guy and an amazing copywriter. Like many, I look up to him and don’t always see him as fallible. And he’s very aware of that perception, so he plays on it big by suggesting that he almost stopped writing… which is both absurd and intriguing.
So with those 3 factors, Joel’s got the hook, sink & line perfectly in place.
And with that, I end up opening and reading it…
So right off the bat, Joel throws us into the middle of a story with a piece of dialogue.
In this case, it’s his inner thoughts from what is likely the darkest hour of the story. It’s also in bold so that it forces your eyes to look there first.
Next, he pulls a plot twist on the reader’s expectations: this isn’t some old story he’s dusting off from his early freelance days. This is something that happened THIS year… when he’s at peak copywriting.
So not only is the story fresh because it happened recently, but the stakes are a lot higher since it’s something that almost did him in when he’s better than he’s ever been.
(Joel also tells you this in brackets, which makes it extra persuasive because it feels like a friend is telling you something on the side…)
And email’s all about being personal and 1-on-1, so that sort of thing works great here.
After that, Joel gets us to visualize his depressive scenario through the eyes of his wife… with a tinge of humor at the end.
This is powerfully persuasive because instead of just telling us “he was depressed and miserable”, he gets us to witness and experience it for ourselves through his wife’s point of view.
By being there, it’s us seeing and feeling it for ourselves vs. him telling us to take his word for it.
And because we’re there, it also triggers the senses… making it more impactful and memorable to the reader.
Joel then moves the narrative further by revealing some more characters in the story and by giving the reader more context through the dialogue he is having with those characters.
So in just five little blocks of copy, Joel has done a tremendous job hooking the reader into the email.
This is the power of good storytelling. It presents a conflict (opening the loop) and then taps into our desire to see it resolved (closing the loop).
Let’s keep going…
So I really like this part.
Here, Joel basically does an “abrupt record scratch”… kind of like a narrator from a TV show or movie that wants you to fill you in on some behind-the-scenes stuff you might’ve missed.
Again, this makes it feel like he’s really talking to you and you alone, which gives it more weight and importance.
Now… Joel has a knack for breaking the 4th wall and poking fun at some of the nauseating clichés you see in the marketing world.
And so, his quick jab at all the self-important assholes posturing on LinkedIn had me smirking like a Grinch.
Because yeah, it’s true: LinkedIn is SUPER gross.
Joel knows it. The reader knows it.
And by acknowledging it humorously, he diffuses our worst instincts and gains our trust.
Being funny = more persuasive.
Joel then plays on the expectations a bit more by telling us how this isn’t some weird flex where he’s trying to sell us something at the end.
And listen, I know that’s not congruent at all with the Orzy Media way of writing emails.
But you’ll see by the end of the email, this is an email where Joel just wants to talk from the fucking heart.
Again, the guy’s a super established conversion copywriter who could easily make it rain with email if he really wanted to…
But he doesn’t feel like doing that here, which is totally fine.
Instead, he wants to share with us a recent struggle that he overcame so we don’t have to go through it as badly as he did.
Making it sincere, relatable, courageous and thus, persuasive.
In this part, Joel gets into the details of the drama in a relatable manner.
Again, the audience here is mainly copywriters.
So he speaks to their pain points through the narrative he’s providing us.
He talks about the usual culprits: bad clients, writer’s block & complex projects.
And as he does this, he uses a bullet style to unpack each aspect a bit. You’ll notice this is very different from the way he laid out the copy in the earlier sections.
But mixing up the visual presentation, it keeps us more engaged with his writing.
What I like about this section is how he reveals to us the main villain of the story: his nuclear-grade perfectionism on a rampage.
What’s neat here is the visceral vocabulary he uses to make the problem feel more potent and pronounced.
It’s not “just perfectionism”.
It’s NUCLEAR-GRADE (catastrophe at scale) perfectionism on a RAMPAGE (fast and uncontrollable). All in bold.
Makes it way more impactful.
So here, we’re getting some payoff for going through the adventure with Joel.
What’s interesting here is how he informs us differently with each suggestion.
In the first item, he does a great job visually detailing his perfectionism.
You can feel the intensity he’s putting himself through with the rapid-fire rhythm with:
In the second item, he puts the reader in the driver’s seat by shifting the language towards “you”.
Now we’re the ones going through his hell:
In the third and fourth item, it shifts towards the thoughts and beliefs we’d be having if we were in his shoes:
Again, all of this gets us to see and feel his pain vs. him just telling us what it’s like.
Near the end of this section, he summarizes the overall point of the story:
Now this is smart because, as Joel points out later, it’s a pretty long email.
So in case anyone’s skimming, he’s going to make sure they get the tl;dr by making it bold.
And with that, he starts to wrap things up by bringing us back to the conversation he was having with his clients at the start of the email.
Let’s see how it all ends…
So the story finally reaches its conclusion.
Joel manages to overcome his toxic perfectionism. And in doing so, he manages to write some of the best copy he’s ever written and his clients get a website they absolutely love.
And as the reader, we feel satisfaction as the open-loop closes.
Near the end of the email, Joel shares practical advice on how we can avoid going through what he did.
Now on its own, Joel’s advice is valuable because it’s actionable.
What makes the advice even more valuable is the story that goes behind it…
Because we went through the journey with him… we’re now completely conscious of the agony that affords the advice.
And that makes us appreciate and value it A LOT more.
Right around the end of the email, Joel acknowledges the length of his email in the hopes it didn’t annoy the reader.
Now as you know, you should NEVER apologize for emailing your list (no matter how long the copy is).
Ry Schwartz from Copyhackers even refers to this awful habit appropriately when he urges copywriters & marketers to “stop being Canadian”…
And for good reason.
People are adults. Nobody’s putting a gun to their head.
If they don’t like the emails, they can unsubscribe.
No need to apologize. They signed up for it.
Now as for Joel…
Yeah okay, he is Canadian.
But again, he’s also a killer copywriter.
So he knows the rules better than most and probably wouldn’t make that mistake…
If anything, Joel is a very kind and thoughtful human being. It’s part of his nature to be considerate of people’s time and attention.
Besides, I didn’t see him do it in any other email… just this one.
So again, he’s just being sincere and talking from the heart… as opposed to those who do it out of guilt because they know they’re going to pitch you.
At the end of the email, Joel’s call to action is to let him know if we found the email useful.
And to sign off, Joel does his fun signature gimmick that always ties into whatever the email’s about…
It’s a nice little cherry on the top.
And the fact that it changes every email gets you to look forward to the next one, as well.
Some of my personal favorites include:
Joel “Metamucil Drinking” Klettke
Joel “nobody likes you when you’re 33” Klettke
Joel “had a friend named Margo who punched him in the face once and I definitely deserved it” Klettke
What a guy.
Anyways. That’s the breakdown.
Let’s do a quick recap of everything Joel did right with his email.
*wipes the sweat off his forehead*
(Jesus… How on Earth does Chris do this shit every week?)
Big Takeaways From Business Casual Copywriting
- Opens up a loop with a killer subject line (grabs the attention)
- Takes us through an emotional narrative (builds a bond)
- Tons of vivid visuals (makes the story stick better)
- Lots of dialogue (immerses you into the story better)
- Visceral vocabulary (gives the right details better potency)
- Strategic formatting (to guide the reader and keep them on their toes)
- Writes from the fucking heart (like a human should)
- Lots of “you” language (so the reader feels part of the experience)
- Uses humor and breaks the 4th wall (to lighten up the email and earn our trust)
- Provides practical advice (so you can actually act on the ideas)
What To Do Now
- Subscribe to Chris’ email list so you can get ALL of the Emails of the Week delivered straight to your inbox, automatically.
- Leave a comment below and let me know what you liked about this email.
- Send this breakdown to someone you know. You might help them get their content to go viral.
- Subscribe to Joel Klettke’s list. Every week, he sends out emails just like the one you read today. So do yourself a favor.
Awesome job Eddie… you did Email of the Week true justice.
I wanted to add in one little thing.
I was pumped Eddie chose this email to break down. I got it as well… and was just as floored when I read it. Joel did a beautiful job of putting into words a feeling that EVERY copywriter has had before.
Truth be told… I STILL feel this way, with just about every single gig. There’s not a gig that goes by where I don’t at some point want to give them their money back and hide in a hole.
This feeling never goes away.
Even once you “Turn Pro” as Stephen Pressfield calls it.
The only difference is that pros SHIP, despite this resistance.
And one more thing…
I love Joel Klettke.
He’s fucking awesome. Truly a great person.
We met IRL at TCC IRL 2019.
I have never laughed as hard as I did during his presentation. One of his slides featured an animated pair of buttcheeks blowing a trumpet. I think confetti was flowing in the background. IDK. All I know was after his presentation, I thought to myself, “This guy is my new favorite person in the copywriting world.”
Joel and I have talked many times in the past. He was even kind enough to give me advice when I was starting my agency.
I simply can’t say enough good things about Joel. Not only is he an awesome human and an awesome friend… the guy is a true professional in every sense of the word. A total class act.
You’re the man Joel.
Keep kicking ass.
3 thoughts on “[Email of the Week #52]: Joel Klettke”
Great content every time. Better than “copy hour” approach. Better and more memorable for me to see why some piece of copy is effective than to just copy it, although both together is best.
My favorite part of this is the different sign offs, makes you read to the end. Ingenious.
What a great EotW breakdown Eddie, thank you for this! Very helpful and interesting.
What I also really loved about your breakdown was your personal touch:
*wipes the sweat off his forehead*
(Jesus… How on Earth does Chris do this shit every week?)
Giving props to Chris without doing it explicitly (Show, don’t tell!) and making it funny at the same time. Made me laugh!