[Email of the Week #44]: Blockhead Skateboards

By Chris Orzechowski

Screen Shot 2020-08-10 at 10.42.07 AM

After a quick little summer vacay, Email of the Week is officially… BACK!

And boy oh boy, do I have a good breakdown for you today.

One of the things I love about this Email of the Week project is that I get to feature brands with awesome backstories.

You probably haven’t heard of a lot of the brands I feature.

In fact, some of them started as very simple operations… and they’re not trying to ‘scale at all costs’ and get acquired. They’re not VC backed. They’re not trying to IPO for a billion dollars.

Some of them are intentionally small.

They’re built to serve THEIR people.

Their 1,000 true fans.

THOSE are the brands I love the most.

The emails come from the founder. And they’re not engaging in insane optimizations so they can get a 0.2% lift in conversions by running crazy bullshit multi-variate split tests… and all that other kind of internet marketing fuckery.

They’re not concerned with that.

And when you forget about all that bullshit and instead, try to write for YOUR audience, the people you want to serve… that’s how awesome brands are built.

One of the brands that demonstrates this concept beautifully is Blockhead Skateboards.

Blockhead Skateboard’s founder, Dave Bergthold, writes awesome fucking emails.

Now, I’ve never met Dave.

But I used to work with his wife when I was working with one of my past retainer clients.

She told me about her husband’s business and I was blown away by the brand he built.

It’s just fucking cool.

It’s a cool brand… and even though I haven’t been on a skateboard since 9th grade, I kind of wanna buy one.

Plus, Blockhead Skateboards has an awesome brand story, and you know I’m a sucker for that. (Check out their incredible story here.)

It’s brands like Blockhead that make entrepreneurship so awesome.

And I’m hoping their story, brand, and emails inspire you to build something great.

So…

Without further ado…

Let’s take a look at the Email of the Week!

This is the 44th 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!

Let’s Shred Some Fucking Gnar

If you’ve been following along with all my past Email of the Week articles (and if you haven’t, what’s wrong with you?)… then you know I LOVE when founders write their own emails.

That’s when you get the purest form of marketing.

From the founder to the customer.

No marketing teams.

No outside consultants.

No committees, deciding on the best messaging.

Just a pure, unadulterated connection from the entrepreneur to the audience he or she is dedicated to serving.

You feel something different when you read an email like that.

 

For starters, you actually look forward to receiving those kinds of emails… rather than the typical ads you see from most companies.

Dave has mastered the art of communicating with his audience, speaking their language, and designing products his customers are hungry for.

Instead of me nattering on, lemme just show you exactly what I mean…

A few things about this email…

  • Take a look at the tone. It’s conversational. It’s familiar. It’s NOT stuffy or corporate. You feel like you know Dave, even if you never met him. THAT is how your emails should read.
  • He’s running a contest to generate some user-generated content. This is so important for ecom brands. After all… you wanna make your customers the hero! This is a strategy we use with some of our clients at the agency. It generates a ton of goodwill. It usually gets us a bunch of sales. And most importantly… it builds the bond our customers have with that brand. At the end of the day, that relationship is the best asset you have. Remember, the goal is 1,000 true fans.
  • Notice how the pictures support the copy… and not the other day around. You want your subscribers to actually READ your copy. This is a perfect ratio of text to images.
  • The content is brand specific. If you’ve been following Blockhead for a while, you’re familiar with the Grumpy Man character. If you’re an outsider, you’re probably feeling a little lost. In my opinion, the best brands have the connection with their customer. They have their own backstories, language, sub-story lines, and history.
  • This email is fun. It’s not ‘salesy’ but I bet it definitely made sales. It’s just an enjoyable read.

Let’s take a look at another…

 

 

Forgive the formatting of these screenshots – I’m doing my best here.

So, even though I’m not a skateboarder… these designs are fucking sick.

Dave does an awesome job here of taking you behind the scenes of the creation process.

And, again…

Notice the tone.

Notice how much of a connection you feel as you read this copy.

I bet he’s not spending 3+ hours on each one of these emails. And guess what… THAT’S HOW IT SHOULD BE!!!

Email doesn’t have to be this mystical art that only a few geniuses can do.

It’s something every founder can do effectively.

You just write from the heart and sell your stuff.

You got cool products… tell people about em!

How were they made?

What are the features?

What else do your customers need to know to make a buying decision?

This isn’t rocket surgery.

Let’s take a look at another one of these beauties…

 

 

 

^^How cool is this last copy block? This is real estate that most brands WASTE. It’s OK to put a little personality into your marketing… your customers will love it.

 

So, this email was sent not too long ago (the earlier examples were from a while back).

Take note of how this email starts off:

It’s kind of a story, right?

It’s a little behind the scenes action from Blockhead HQ. It draws you in.

This is something EVERY ecom brand can do with their emails… but very few do.

I love emails with these kind of leads. I do this with my own emails. I always like letting my subscribers know what’s going on in my life/business as I lead into the main point of what the email is about.

Dave does a perfect job with the story and segues brilliantly into the meat and potatoes.

What’s cool about this email is… this one’s actually a “prelaunch” email.

It’s the teaser that gets people pumped up for the launch.

I actually just covered this technique in my latest issue of Make It Rain Monthly (the August 2020 and September 2020 are all about my Laidback Launch formula.)

One of the secrets to having a really profitable Laidback Launch for your ecomm store is that as you’re building excitement for the product you’re about to release… you also have OTHER products people can buy right now.

Check out how Dave does that with the promotion for the Hat Sale.

Not only does this ‘prime the pump’ for the coming sale… it sell hats TODAY.

The goal is to make sales every time you send an email.

Why is that the goal?

Because you can’t help your customers if you don’t sell.

Thing is…

Sometimes, it pays to put down the marketing books.

Sometimes, you can forget all the funnels and internet marketing dumbfuckery clogging up your brain.

Sometimes… you just gotta pull up a fresh broadcast and just WRITE and hit send.

The best brands are built through the way they make their customers feel.

Take note of how Blockhead does it.

Blockhead has been around for decades. And it’s easy to see why.

I think they’ll be around for a very long time.

Keep kicking ass, Dave.

You’re the man.

Big Takeaways from Blockhead Skateboards

  1. Keep the tone personal and conversational.
  2. The pictures support the words, not the other way around.
  3. Use the language of your marketer, you’re an insider speaking to other insiders. Don’t write for the entire world, your stuff isn’t for them.
  4. Your 1,000 true fans are the only people who matter.
  5. Contests are great to build community.
  6. Take people behind the scenes in your business.
  7. Share the creation stories of your products – people LOVE that stuff.
  8. Don’t waste real estate.
  9. Your personality is what makes your brand unique.
  10. Always be building anticipation for what’s next.

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. Buy a board from Blockhead Skateboards. At the very least, get on their list. They got badass products and awesome emails.

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Ellen Butler on August 14, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Hey, Chris, great EOTW, as usual!

    My #1 takeaway from this breakdown is…

    …the way Dave worked in the USP in the first email.

    So even though I have literally never heard of this company before today…

    …and even though I’m not hip to all the skater lingo…

    …I still caught that each skateboard design is unique and limited edition…and those particular acid-splattered designs are one of a kind.

    So even though I’m not planning to shred pavement any time soon, I might be thinking of someone who would be stoked to have that day glow, super cool “no one else has it” board.

    You’re right…it kinda makes me want to have one, too.

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