Ace your next SaaS email marketing campaign with this guide! [Special guest: Christine Trac]
“I wrote a drunk email. Now, I’m a copywriter”.
When I first saw this in Christine’s bio on Twitter I thought: “WTF?! I wanna know more!”
Actually, it was my first few days on Twitter. I was a little shy then, not sure if people would be even slightly willing to talk to me (spoiler alert: they absolutely are!). But Christine seemed very nice, so I pulled up my socks and replied to her thread where she shared her story.
Day 2 of #ship30for30✔️— Christine Trac🪄 (@christinetrac1) January 9, 2022
Ever taken the advice 'write drunk, edit sober' literally?
Here's the story of how I wrote a drunk email and landed a full-time writing gig 👇 pic.twitter.com/eHFnusoAPB
Soon, the conversation transferred to DMs. I felt the talking going smooth as butter – Christine will probably be one of the nicest, most supportive people you’ll ever meet.
Encouraged by her positive energy, I invited Christine to share her story on this blog and tell all of us how we can be better at email marketing by using storytelling.
And boy, oh boy, it was a fruitful conversation!
Enough of me now, let the expert talk! Ladies, gentlemen and non-binary friends:
Christine Trac – The Drunk Copywriter!
From powerlifting to copywriting – by a drunk email?
Christine: Well, it all started back in December 2020. I was finishing my Master’s in Kinesiology. The world was still struggling with COVID. Right away, I saw that I was gonna need another source of income. Having some first experiences doing copywriting for my own coaching website, I decided to try and make copywriting a full-blown side hustle.
And this was just a regular Friday night. I was sitting at home, drinking beers and scrolling through emails. I noticed a message from The Wizard of Wordcraft with the subject line: “What is copywriting?”. I opened it and the email told the story about his journey.
And I was fascinated because this story was so very similar to mine. He was a fitness coach who realized the power of writing can help him financially and how he loved writing in general. It resonated with me and I wanted to tell him that. I don’t know, maybe it was this liquid courage I drank before, but I thought: “Maybe, he’s got a big list. Maybe he’s famous and will never respond to me. But I need to respond to this email.” So, without much thought, I started typing and just shared my story: “Hey, my name’s Christine, I’m in the same position as you…”
I hit “send” and thought that was gonna be it. But a couple of hours later I got the response:
“Hey, we’re looking for another writer for our team. Are you interested?”
My first thought was: “yeah, that can’t be real. It makes no sense, I suck at writing…” And that’s true, I grew up being bad at writing. And looking back, I think the email I sent to my soon-to-be boss was awful! It was a pure leap of faith and definitely too long to be an introductory email. I don’t believe in luck but I think it was definitely luck!
Christine’s system to become a great storyteller in email marketing:
Though Christine is very humble — don’t let it make you think less of her. She’s a powerful and very talented copywriter (even if she doesn’t believe so herself). I was amazed at how intuitively she has used the power of storytelling to create her own brand and build a great online community around it.
Watch out, big copywriting guys — if you fall out of line, Christine will power lift you right the hell back where you should be! 😁
Let’s see how Christine is mixing storytelling with a systematic approach to create compelling email marketing copywriting:
Start with good research
My boss says the best copywriters are the ones who are the best researchers. And to write a good email marketing campaign, you have to excel at research!
Begin with finding out the awareness stage of the customer. Eugene Schwartz in his book “Breakthrough Advertising” pinpoints the important aspects of doing great market research.
We use that every day in our company. The most effective way of doing that is looking for places where people actually are. So, use Reddit or Twitter (depending on the niche) and see how and what people communicate with each other, what problems they face or what solutions they’re using now that your product can replace.
As it turns out — our presumptions about products are often wrong. Let’s say, we are looking for info about security cameras to prepare the next email campaign for the company selling them.
The first thought that comes to mind is that people buy them to protect themselves from burglary. So, gut instinct can tell us to address this pain point in the campaign and call it a day.
Only through good market research can we discover that a lot of people are buying those cameras to keep an eye on their pets when they’re not at home. Now, this is another story to tell and the campaign content changes 100%.
So, the only way to get a thorough understanding of your audience is to actually listen to them. You can’t just make up what you think is in their heads.
The next stage is creating some kind of avatar that gathers all the pain points for your target audience specifically.
Then comes planning out the distribution. Though the exact recipe for the sequence depends on too many factors to generalise, the distribution strategy should include at least those 3 things:
- When we do product launches and we target a very cold audience, we need to excite them first about the launch in general. Provide the audience with the unique value that will hook them to open the next emails in the campaign.
- At one point, your email sequence should also contain some kind of testimonials to provide the customer with social proof for your product.
- When the product launch is near the end, provide your audience with an FAQ to address the most common objections people might have. It’ll help to convince all the “I’m on the fence” folks.
Figure out the story for your email marketing:
After you do all the market research, you need to give some structure to the story you want to tell. My favourite system is POI by Jon Street. It contains 3 elements:
After you get to know your audience well, the problem they have is probably clear to you. When you address the Problem of your customer, the good thing to do is to add some background to it by incorporating, e.g. the founder’s story that tackles the same problem. It will help with humanising all the content and making it less pushy.
Also, at the beginning of the product launch, don’t be afraid to ask people for a reply to the message. It’s not only effective in improving the deliverability of your emails but tells you right away if the audience resonates with what you’re telling them.
There’s also a specific obstacle associated with the problem. You have to find it to define what’s really keeping your customer from achieving their goals. Tell them that in the email and they’re gonna think: “Damn, that’s about me! 🤯”
After that, formulate the Insight or the solution you have for the customer to overcome this obstacle. All the copy written beforehand, stating the Problem and the Obstacle clearly, will strengthen the trust of your audience in that what you’re offering them is the real solution to their struggles.
Writing subject lines that tell stories
Right from the start, you want to find a good hook for the audience. It’s really good to start building interest in what you have to say right from the subject of the email. Use the power of cliffhangers to build curiosity and make people click the link to get more info about your product.
When it comes to subject lines for your email it all comes down to the 80/20 rule.
80% of your success depends on the opening of the email. 20% is the body copy.
No matter how amazing your body copy is — if the subject line is poor, nobody is going to read the email. My mentors also taught me that subject lines should be correlated with the customer’s awareness level.
When we prepare an email campaign in the company I work for, we always write 10 subject lines. Most of the time, we do it with the awareness stage in mind.
But when we don’t know the awareness level (which also sometimes happens) — we have a good trick that largely improves our chances to create a hooking subject line.
It’s called “benefit plus curiosity”. Using those 2 things in the subject line can really hook a person in.
SIDENOTE from Kuba: the “benefit plus curiosity” method Christine mentioned is really interesting! I decided to include a few examples for you to better explain the concept behind curiosity gaps. Let’s see:
- Improve your content marketing ROI by 20% at least! Here's how:
- Turn your product into stories - and sell like crazy!
- Your SaaS sales will go up by 37% by doing only 1 thing. What is it?
When we have all 10 subjects ready, we come up with pre-headers. Now, it’s really important to address the awareness level here. You need to know what you want to focus on — whether it’s curiosity or a very distinct benefit.
After having all the work done I pick the top 2 that I think would fit. I share them with my copy editor, explaining why I think it’s the best choice. Their feedback is the next important step. Sometimes all the subject lines fall flat and we have to do the work again. It’s crucial you have another pair of eyes to look at your copy. And if that’s not possible — wait for some period of time to get a more fair view of what you’ve written.
How to plan the content for SaaS email marketing?
When creating your first email campaign, the risk to do all the things at once is huge! That’s why you need a solid plan.
What really can help you is to create an outline of the whole campaign. Divide it into 3 sections:
- What I’m going to write pre-launch?
- What I’m going to write during the launch?
- What I’m going to write post-launch?
Then, write down all the content you want to prepare for your SaaS email campaign:
- founder story
- case study
- special offers
- opening email
- launch day email
Treat every content piece as a separate building block for your campaign. When you have all the blocks ready, you can distribute them throughout the whole campaign, simply by mixing and matching them to the 3 sections above.
By ditching the linear approach and writing in batches you can focus on 1 big idea, rather than addressing multiple ideas throughout the whole campaign.
DISCLAIMER: Stay aware of your surroundings
Though using storytelling in email marketing can lead to major success, it’s not always that easy. Sometimes — storytelling just doesn’t work. Let me give you an example.
I don’t wanna get in trouble, so I’m gonna keep it as anonymous as possible. But I worked for a company in a more corporate, white-collar world. They all had formal education and were purely about business.
The main challenge was their reluctance to emotional language. After the first draft was sent to them, they read it and said: “It’s too childish.”
They mentioned that their main target audience is corporate people, with higher degrees that don’t have time for emotional messages. They need a targeted piece of information focused on the solution. But of course, we needed to keep the balance in the copy and somehow mention the pain points without eliciting too much emotion. It was definitely a challenge. Apparently, the rule “facts tell, stories sell” doesn’t apply to the corporate world.
The reason I’m telling you this is because I want you to always stay curious about your audience or the particular segments of your audience you’re trying to target. You cannot presume that something that worked once with audience X will also work for audience Y.
Never stop talking with your audience and adjust your storytelling to their needs. And if they don’t like storytelling — ditch it entirely. Remember, storytelling is a tool, not a must.
Thank you Christine for our talk and helping me make this post happen! 💛
MAKE SOME NOISE FOR CHRISTINE 📣👏👏👏
I wrote a drunk email. Now, I’m a copywriter.
I write stories about my life as a strength coach turned writer in my newsletter.
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