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How To Write Emails That Make People Want To Buy


RyanLee_MasterclassPodcastOver the years, Ryan Lee has created a handful of ecommerce businesses that have generated seven figures a month in revenue. 

In that time, he has absolutely mastered email. 

While most brands focus entirely on the product, Ryan’s main goal is to make business more personal by building a connection that goes way beyond just the product.

I mean, just look at his latest email…

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 9.25.45 PM

Not your average email from a brand, right?

So we asked for email submissions and Ryan gave some really actionable feedback any brand can use to make more money with email.

You can tune in above? on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or anywhere you get your podcasts.

Get our best content on ecommerce marketing in your inbox 2 times a week

On this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The shift you have to make to get better at copywriting.
  • The power of getting personal with your messaging
  • Why you need to think of yourself as a superhero when you’re writing emails.
  • How to double your email revenue.

What to listen for:

  • [3:59] What makes a good email?
  • [6:05] Email #1 feedback.
  • [8:01] Why you need to be careful about the number of CTAs in your emails.
  • [11:07] Why you shouldn’t be using generic photos. 
  • [15:24] Email #2 feedback.
  • [18:57] How to send emails that make sense to both your superfans and newer folks.
  • [28:55] Email #3 feedback.
  • [29:40] The benefits of using short, choppy copy.
  • [34:41] Email #4 feedback.
  • [37:23] Email #5 feedback.
  • [40:35] Email #6 feedback.
  • [43:34] How to pique people’s interest with a subject line.
  • [45:16] How to sell a nonessential item in the middle of a pandemic.
  • [47:03] How to write an email for your new subscribers.
  • [48:49] How often Ryan sends emails to his customers.

Links to love??


*There’s a 100% chance this has some spelling errors. I know you won’t hold it against me.

Dave Gerhardt: All right. We’re going to jump into this because we have so much to cover. So what’s up everybody? You’re here now. You’re here now. This is Ryan. Ryan, why don’t you do a quick one, two-minute intro. Who are you?

Ryan Lee: Well, I’ll take like 45 minutes to talk about myself.

Dave Gerhardt: The classic marketing guy.

Ryan Lee: Yes. I started my first online business in ’98. I was working full time in a children’s rehab hospital, and I used to train kids. I was a trainer on the side and started doing online publishing and writing articles about sports training and speed and all that stuff. I ran track in college and started selling equipment. So ecommerce, really early, drop ship. Before we did online credit cards, people would have to email me their credit card info. I take it to the bank and go run the thing through. That’s how old school we are.

Dave Gerhardt: You had the pink and yellow. You get the carbon copy.

Ryan Lee: It’s the carbon copy. Yeah. I used to get the carbon paper, and it would take like five days to go into the account. Then I started doing online training. People would pay us for programs. Then I did what was at the time the world’s first sports training membership site. We took all of our content and basically put it behind a paywall. This was 2001, and it was just for strength and conditioning for training athletes.

Ryan Lee: It’s just over the years I’ve created two other supplement companies. They both hit at their peak. They both had seven figures a month in revenue. Then for the past probably decade, I’ve been teaching entrepreneurship because people have been asking me, “How do you do this?” Two years ago, I had this kind of breakthrough. I was dealing with my own health issues, reversed my own auto-immune, lost all the weight, back to kind of how I felt 20, 30 years ago. I started this new company called Rewind, which is an inflammation-free bar and drink company. It’s forming now into a lifestyle company. I call it Rewind because it’s like rewinding the years, and as you could see behind me, it’s playing into the kind of fun retro.

I was born in ’72, so I’m a child of the ’80s, arcade machines over there and my office here. I just want to embrace fun and play and make people feel good. I love talking about business and helping entrepreneurs. I think the secret sauce for me over the years has been just making business more personal and connecting in a much deeper way and getting beyond a product. I think that’s what a lot of e-commerce companies do, Dave, is they just focus entirely on the product, and there’s nothing beyond that, and they become more of a commodity, no matter what they’re selling. So I’m looking forward to, I know you guys said tear down emails. I am going to build up.

Dave Gerhardt: I knew you were going to say that.

Ryan Lee: Come on. You’re supposed to be tough. Honestly, I want to have fun, and I want people to just use this as a learning experience. If we could all just take a deep breath in and out. I know we’re all going through like some crazy times. But if you truly put your tribe, your peeps, whatever you call them, I don’t call them customers, if you put them first and you think about them and you build your business around serving them, and then you combine that with the good marketing stuff we’re going to learn today, it’s hard to lose.

Dave Gerhardt: So yeah, that was good.

Ryan Lee: I love what you guys stand for, and I’m ready.

Dave Gerhardt: That felt nice. I keep going ahead. Why can’t I go back? Here we go. Okay. So I want to ask you a couple of questions. So here’s what we’re going to do. We have six or seven or eight, I don’t know, I can’t really count, examples in this deck that we got from people that submitted emails that we’re going to talk through. So I want to do that. I also want to open this up to people that have questions.

So throughout this thing, we’re going to have time. I want to kind of go… I want to give us enough time to do Q&A at the end. So as you have questions, put them in the Q&A box. Don’t put them in chat. Only reason I say put them in the Q&A box is because it’s just easier for us to track later. So put your questions in there, and we will get to them at the end. So Ryan, first, really quickly though.

Ryan Lee: Sure.

Dave Gerhardt: I want to set because not everybody has… If you haven’t heard Ryan by the way, quick plug for our podcast, The Ecommerce Marketing Show. We did an episode with Ryan, and it was really focused on email and copywriting. You should go back and listen. But I want to kind of do like a cliff notes version of that and just set a foundation for people because knowing the advice that you’re going to give on email, I think it’s important that we at least take a step back and just talk about email for a minute. So in your mind, you love copywriting, you’ve figured this out. What actually makes a good email?

Ryan Lee: Well, it’s funny, I’ve been doing my own “copywriting” for 20 years. But I don’t call it copywriting. I just call it writing. I think the big thing is shifting away from the idea that you’re sitting down to do email and thinking of it as copywriting. I think because that automatically puts us in a different…it puts a different hat on. It’s like we start thinking of copywriting. We start thinking of conversions, everyone’s tracking KPIs, and what’s my EPC, all this stuff. Forget that. Think of it, I’m writing a letter to a friend, and I think that’s the frame of mind that all of my marketing has consistently throughout, whether it’s the copy on the site, in our Facebook group, on social media, in our email. It has to feel like it’s a letter from a friend.

Dave Gerhardt: Love it. All right. I think the next, I think we’re going to get into it. Let’s build some emails up.

Ryan Lee: Build up time, baby. Build up.

Dave Gerhardt: Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on. We don’t have time for these types of games. Hold on. Hold on. I’m changing this right now because we got.

Ryan Lee: By the way, everyone on who’s watching, how you guys feel, and you’re feeling good and energized? We’re ready?

Dave Gerhardt: All right.

Ryan Lee: Give me a yes in the chat box. I love this.

Dave Gerhardt: Give the man some yes.

Ryan Lee: Give me a yes. Give me some love.

Dave Gerhardt: Give the man some yes. What am I doing? I hit share. Hold on.

Ryan Lee: I feel like people…

Dave Gerhardt: This is chaos. Yes.

Ryan Lee: We get into…we get into ecomm, Dave, and everyone gets so serious and so obsessed with the numbers and where we lose track of the energy, the enthusiasm, the passion, and we just got to tap into that. All right, let’s go.

Dave Gerhardt: All right. This is on you, man. I’m just the talent. Well, actually no. You’re the talent. I’m just the host. So we got a bunch of these that we put in here. So I’m going to give you as much time as you need to read this and digest it. But basically, what the folks are going to get from you is some free email advice. On top of that, put in in chat. So questions go in Q&A. But in chat, let’s comment live while Ryan is doing this like do you agree? Do you disagree? What do you think of emojis? What do you think of the layout? So maybe take two seconds and give your own take. I’m interested to hear what Ryan has to say about this baby.

Ryan Lee: Okay. Yeah. If you agree with me, cool. If you don’t, then you’re wrong. It’s fine. It’s cool. I’m open. Is there another page to this email because I feel like you sent me… I think I stole this one before. Or is this the only one?

Dave Gerhardt: I think we may have trimmed some of them to even screenshots in this.

Ryan Lee: Because you sent me some of the samples ahead of time, so I got a quick peek before. Because this one kept going. The first thing I noticed, because they kept listing more and more products, and I believe they had links to all their different blog posts and pictures of blogs, and I counted, and it was like 17 CTAs, 17 different calls to action. That was the first thing. It was too much. I get it. I know some ecomm companies were like, “Let’s throw all our stuff out there.” But I think it confuses people. There’s something to be said about overwhelming with too much. It’s too much. 

Dave Gerhardt: But it’s hard, though. Right? Because I’ve felt this as a marketer. We’re going to send an email. You got this list. Whether you got a hundred people or a hundred thousand, you’re like, “This is my moment. I’m going to tell them about this. But I also want to tell them about this, and I also want to tell them about this.” It’s hard to just pick one.

Ryan Lee: Yeah. But okay. Dave, can I blow some minds? Is that okay?

Dave Gerhardt: Please.

Ryan Lee: If every email is throwing a whole bunch of stuff at them, there’s… People, they say to me, “How many times did you email?” “Well, I email three to four times a week.” “Well, don’t you ever run out of things to say?” No, because I look at the ability to write an email, it can almost be tailored to each individual product. When you do that, instead of saying, I have to talk to everybody every time, all the time with every product, the emails become kind of generic, a little boring, a little vanilla, and there’s nothing that gets me excited.

The goal of your email, you want to… Obviously, you build a relationship, but you want to get them to open and then eventually go to your site, right, to buy something. It’s much easier to talk about one thing, one benefit of one specific product and get people to buy that. Then when they’re at the site, you can have an upsell. You can have a presale. You could say, “Oh, you’re getting the coffee,” what is it, “The coffee chocolate bar. Oh, it goes perfectly with our daily tumbler.” Then you could do post-sale, right? Post purchase upsells and all this kind of stuff.

So I’m looking at this. So there’s three things. First thing, I think there’s way too many calls to action. I would focus on one. So I’d pick one of the things. So they’re all new products. So let’s say you want to go with the chocolate coffee bar. It’s coffee chocolate bar. God, I’m dyslexic. I would focus my entire email on that, and it goes great with coffee. So I start reverse engineering in my head. Okay? So that’s the product. That’s my CTA. I want to get them to that. So then I start thinking of the story, and some things I’ll prompt myself. I’ll say, “Okay. What did I do yesterday? What am I doing today? What am I doing tomorrow?”

Well, then you start getting some personal stories. “Hey, it’s Ryan. Hope you’re doing well. Hope you’re staying strong. I was a little tired last night because whatever, we were filling up the pool, we stayed up late, or one of my kids was…” So you’re kind of weaving in some of the personal story. So I love having my coffee every morning, and I said, “Hey, can we combine the chocolate bar.”. I’m like, “Yes, we did it. You are going to love. You got to try our coffee chocolate bar. If you don’t love it, it’s free,” whatever. But at least there’s a story, and then you get them to click on that one thing, get them to buy that coffee chocolate bar.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. You could make that the story, and then you could have like, by the way… If you want to plug those other ones, you could be like, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So go and check it out, Ryan.” PS, PS, the coffee chocolate bar is just one of four new products that we have right now, and you can go and check them all out at coffeeinecompany.com/whatever, and you drive them to a product page. Because your email is really a vehicle to get somebody into your store. Right? So everybody’s going to connect to the story. So Ryan’s advice is basically tell a story to earn their trust and get their attention. Then you can actually use that as the way to get them into your store.

Ryan Lee: And get in the weeds with them. Talk about real stuff. So okay. So looking at some of the other stuff with their email, the first image, it’s a nice photo. But it looks like every photo that you see on Instagram and even let your adventure begin with Coffeeine. It’s kind of a tagline. It’s cute. But it doesn’t really say that much. I’d rather see a different type of picture. I’d rather see someone… Show me someone exhausted in the morning drinking coffee. Let me see that and then go to the-

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. I think the reality, I love you hit on that, reality TV is the best marketing you can do. So here’s an example. This is a great little session we have going on. If I was going to promote our next one, honestly, what I would do is I’d pull out my phone right now, and I would take a picture like this, and I’d put my thumb up, right? I would airdrop that to my computer and put that in email because people want to see you. They want to see it’s really you. So show yourself taking a big bite out. I’ve seen your emails. Your emails are filled with either pictures of people that work, work with you at the company or are your customers.

Ryan Lee: Right, right, and you should, and elevate other people. The one little thing I caught too, even with… So you’re getting here on the second page. At the top, it says, “Hello, Brian.” It looks weird because it’s centered. It’s bold. It looks like a headline. It doesn’t make sense. Is it a headline, or is it my name because then it looks fake. I know you’re not really writing to me.

The other thing is you could count the amount of times they say we. We hope you’re staying safe and practicing social distancing safety. We understand being home might get monotonous. So we wanted to tell you about some products that are now available and our website, with some of our latest. It’s a little too self-serving, less we’s and I’s. There are some you’s. But I would make it more about you.

So you want to make sure you’re not being preachy. So we understand being at home might get monotonous. So we want to tell you about some new products. So how is staying at home getting monotonous? I know, look, we want to use empathy, and it depends who your customers are and all that stuff. But there are people out there, and again, I don’t know who their customers are that are…it’s not monotonous. They’re frigging panicking because they lost their job. My wife and I have four kids. It’s certainly not monotonous homeschooling four kids at all. So it’s not monotonous. But even if it is, and that’s what your audience is, and they tend to be whatever, people staying home who have money, and it is monotonous.

Tell a personal story, “Hey, I understand how boring it can become. How many hours of, whatever, Tiger King can you watch?” Make it personal. When you tie in some pop culture stuff that everyone’s talking about and watching, it makes it show that you’re doing it in real time and you’re connected to what’s kind of happening in the public, as opposed to keeping a safe distance away, where it’s just kind of generic, “We hope you’re okay. I hope you’re not too bored. Here are some products.” So those are just some quickies.

But look, I’m going to say this. Every single person who submitted an email, and that’s why I say build them up, you guys have a company you launched, you have a product you’re sending emails, which is more than 99% of people ever do. Because I know because I’ve coached people, and they have ideas. They never do anything. They never launch a site. They never did a product. They never even send emails. So the fact that you guys are doing this and brave enough to have it looked at, you should all be proud and commended, and this takes time. This is me 20 years of doing this with calluses on my hands doing this.

Building businesses through September 11th through the dot com bubble, through the 2007, 2008, and now, so it’s like flexing your marketing muscles. You got to do it over and over again.

Dave Gerhardt: All right. Let’s go next. Let’s go to our friends, Flax4Life. Take a minute. Drink it in.

Ryan Lee: Well again, immediately. So the top of it is if you’re thinking about writing a letter to a friend, this…my dad is on my email list. My sister is on my list. My cousins are on my list. My old high school friends, kids I used to be a counselor for in sleep-away camp, they’re all on my list. Would I ever send an email like this to them? Probably not. It’s just too promo code. You shouldn’t start off with that. Let’s get a little foreplay going before you start giving all the coupon codes. So I would move that back down. So hi. As we are all trying to adjust our new normal, we wanted it…so again, you start seeing that in a lot of people, that becomes a crutch. They use the word we way too much. It’s not coming from someone. I find that emails do work better if it’s coming from a person. 

Dave Gerhardt: I want to interrupt you and pause on that because this is the second email in a row that you’ve said that. I think it’s the default. In my experience in helping others become better copywriters, the number one change is like, “This is going to feel weird, but I want you to write this email as you.” So you talked about our emails at Privy, they either come from Lauren who’s a real person and has a real personality or Dan-

Ryan Lee: She’s great. Yeah.

Dave Gerhardt: …who has a personality. What gets easier, this is like…I feel like people use we because it’s a little too scary to use I, and so we would like to let you know. How about this? “Hey, what’s up Brian? Look, this is my company. I love this place. We make awesome stuff, and I want to tell you about two new things that we have. The reason why I think you’re going to like these as blah.” I think one of the best copywriting lessons is to just load up on pronouns and actually be…I like to think of email as your job as the email sender is you’re the postman. “I’m delivering you this message. I am Dave. I am here to tell you that tomorrow we have a new podcast episode coming out.”

Ryan Lee: Yup. Yup. I fully agree. People want to do business with human beings. If you say like, “The Flax4Life family, well, who is that? Who’s that coming from?” Even if I skip ahead here, I could see there is some personality. The fourth paragraph, it says, “No one is going to judge you if you eat brownies for breakfast and cake for dinner. You deserve it.” That’s fun. That should be higher up before you start talking about the stock sale, stock-up sale. Get to that stuff. So little things like that. But then the second paragraph, it says, “Are you’re ready to treat yourself for all the hard work you’ve been doing?”

Again, how do you know I’ve been doing hard work? Maybe I have. Maybe I’ve been so freaking depressed and sitting in a corner and crying. Again, I know you can’t cater to everybody. But I don’t know if you should make judgements. So you can soften it with things like…some of you might be working really hard and everything’s great. It’s actually fun like a vacation. Some of you are really struggling. No matter what, we’re here to help you. Yeah? We’re not going to judge you for eating brownies and cake, whatever.

So we shouldn’t make assumptions on things like that. So you just got to be a little bit careful. So treat yourself for all the hard work you’ve been doing. Time to fill your cupboards and freezers with all your favorite Flax4Life goodies. So again, coming back to if you’re going to have a sale, why? It says spring stock-up sale. But why is it a spring stock-up sale? Why is there a benefit in stocking up in the spring? Is it because the weather’s getting more? Because I don’t even know what Flax4Life. I’m guessing flaxseed oil or something, like flaxseed, something. I’m assuming that’s what it is. By the way, I have no idea what it is based on this, which isn’t-

Dave Gerhardt: It says, “No one’s going to judge you if you eat brownies for breakfast and cake.”

Ryan Lee: So it’s probably something flax. It’s probably some kind of flaxseed.

Dave Gerhardt: Sarah Bishop says it’s baked goods.

Ryan Lee: Okay. So baked goods. So we got to talk about that, that it’s baked goods because people might be on your list, who depending on your sequences, might not really know that much about you. Maybe throw in a benefit. If it is a stressful time, if using flaxseed oil and flaxseed is really good because I know it’s great with omega threes, and that’s great maybe for stress reduction, talk about that. Hey, if you’re stressed out, our products are made with flaxseeds, and it is really good for stress reduction.”

We’re doing this special…as you know, we don’t do a lot of sales. We’re doing a special springtime sale because first, we want to help you because we know some people are struggling a little bit, and it’s a perfect time to start cleaning out your cupboards, like spring reset. So giving a little reason why you’re doing it. Then make it a personal thing.

Dave Gerhardt: How do you balance…what’s your advice for balancing the fact that some people are going to know you and some people aren’t, right? This might be a new subscriber. This might be someone who maybe just hasn’t opened any of your emails, but then you’re also going to be sending the same email to a super fan.

Ryan Lee: Right. I look at it as, imagine you’re all…so if you’re writing it from your perspective, so if you’re the email writer, if you’re the founder of the company or the formulator or whatever in the company, and it’s coming from you. Look at yourself as a superhero. What I mean by that is, why do we like superheroes so much? Because well, they all have a backstory, right? So if I said a boy who is…he witnesses his parents getting murdered in front of him after a play, and he becomes a vigilante, even though he has no superpowers, who am I talking about? Let’s see, who knows? Who am I talking about? If people don’t know, it’s Batman, right. They know it’s Batman. There’s a backstory.

So you have to kind of know what your backstory is, and there’s going to be some themes that show up over and over again without you having to necessarily say it. So I’ll give you an example. One of my backstories is that I started gaining weight after I had my fourth kid, and I’m obsessed with my family. Everything I do is..my whole business is built around my family. So that’s part of my backstory, and I talk about my, my family and being a dad of four. So I’ll throw in things, not every email, but most emails about that.

So hey we were up late last night because I was carpooling my four kids, or I helped my kids set up the chairs, where I taught two of them to do this or whatever. So constantly saying that, not saying every email, not repeating and looking like a lunatic, saying, “Hi, I’m Ryan. I have four kids.” You look like a robot, like a lunatic. So throwing it in there subtly and just having…that’s why the consistency of the messaging is important and knowing some of these themes in there, the fact that, Rewind, we talk a lot about the retro ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and throwing in little fun pop culture things like, “Hey, if you’re not feeling cool,” like who? I said Fonzie before, right?

Little things like that, that has a consistent note throughout. But it’s impossible to have every note hit every part of your backstory. You just got to make them get it. It might take people two or three emails to kind of get in the groove. But if you’re consistent, every email should be the kind where they opened it like, “Oh my God, I love this. I love this company. I love this person.” They want to tell everyone they know about it. Most emails don’t do that.

I think Sarah said she wrote this email. As great, again, she’s got some personal stuff. She’s got some personality. I think we just tweak it a little bit and gets to the point where everyone should be talking about Flax4Life, like, “Oh my God, I love Sarah in this company. They’re the best. The products are credible, and they have the best company.”

Dave Gerhardt: Also, what’s so fun about e-commerce brands is usually, you started that business. So Sarah, my guess is like, you started this business because you have some passion for baked goods and some real story. It’s not hard. In this industry, it’s not hard to come up with the why behind your brand. You just have to just share that. It’s a little bit harder if I was selling software for a cybersecurity company, and I’m like, “I don’t really love this, but the pay is good.” So this is my job, right? Where like, “Hey, I quit my job as a marketing guy to go and make a hoodie company because I started wearing black hoodies every day, and I loved them, but the quality wasn’t good.”

So everybody here probably has a story just like Ryan. You insert your real story into everything.

Ryan Lee: Always.

Dave Gerhardt: It shouldn’t be that hard to dig out the story.

Ryan Lee: Right. The story and then the why. So my question to Sarah would be, “Why did you start this company? Why did you start Flax4Life? What was the reason behind it? Here’s what happens, Dave. We’ll have this story, and it sits on the about us page, and you never talk about it. You never reference it. The emails will become these sales vehicles. What you need to do is infuse that into everything. I mean, I talk, not every single email, about…inflammation was the biggie with autoimmune disorders. So I talk about inflammation. So why did you start Flax4Life? Is it because of the omegas? What was the reason why?

Was it because you gained weight or you lost a parent or something? You’re right. You’re a hundred percent right, Dave, that most people in this world start something because there’s a personal story or a brand. I’m pretty sure Sarah didn’t sit around saying, “I want to become a billionaire. What am I going to do? I’m going to start Flax4Life, even though I don’t care about it.” Very doubtful that she’s doing.

Dave Gerhardt: She’s in chat right now, and she said, “Should I mention the why in every email, back to the question of the audience being familiar with the brand?”

Ryan Lee: You have to infuse parts of it. But it doesn’t have to be the same thing every email. Sarah give me the really quick, super quick, why did you start this company? Why did you start it? All of you, if you want to contribute in the chat box, just type in because this is good for us to kind of think about. Why did we start our company? Why did we create this specific product? Some of you might just say it’s money, purely opportunity. I don’t give a shit about anyone or anything, different story. I ain’t your guy. But there’s got to be a reason why. If people want to share, that’s great.

Jim said, “To take care of my family.” Someone said, “Passion for art.” Sarah said, “Celiac disease in the family. Wanted to make a nutritious friendly product.” Great. Great. So if you have celiac, right, is it safe to say, Sarah, when you’re under times of stress, things could get worse, right, you could start having flare ups under times of stress? Yes. So we’re talking about the new normal, the stress. Where is that? Where is that? Hey, it is a stressful time. You’ve got to be careful. So even something that’s like, “You got to be careful because in these times of distresses, when you could get inflammation, it can cause all these crazy things, and you can get a flare up. So I want you to take care of yourself. We’re here to help you and to serve you, not just to fill your cupboards and freezers.” Right. So-

Dave Gerhardt: Hey, one more on this because this is getting. This is exactly why I want to do this. Good question from Anna for you Ryan. Should we all use I voice of the founder, in all emails?

Ryan Lee: I will answer that with I do.

Dave Gerhardt: I think just make the switch now. Coming off this video today, okay, if you take one thing from this, be like, “I’m going to start writing my emails with I.” If it’s not you as the founder writing, and let’s say you have a marketing person, send them as them if you’re not going to be the one to do it, say, “Hey, my name is Dave, and I work for Ryan. I’m Ryan’s marketing guy. He started Rewind because blah, blah, blah.” I think that works really well also.

Ryan Lee: Right. If it is going to be this change in voice, all of a sudden, you can have your coming-out email, so to speak. So Sarah, and I’ve done this before, and it’s amazing how powerful it could work. You could have the coming to Jesus email, even though I’m Jewish, coming to Jewish Jesus. You could say something like, “Hey, it’s Sarah. During these past few months, I’ve sat down with my family, and I’ve made this decision that I’m going to stop hiding behind we. I want to really get into helping you and serving you and just being real. None of the salesy stuff. None of the crap. We’re just going to get real, and we’re going to share, and I’m just going to be me. If you don’t like me and you want to find someone else, that’s cool. I wish you the best. But let’s do this together.”

You will be shocked at how many emails you’ll get and how much support that people will be like, “Oh my God, I love you.” Right? Now would be the time to do that. Okay.

Dave Gerhardt: All right. This is on me. So I’m going to put a little timer on this one so we can get through them and have enough. Because otherwise, we could just talk email forever. But let’s rip it into Mountain Meadow Wool. If this is your email…by the way, if this is your email…shout out to you, Sarah. This is your email…oh, okay. All right. Ryan, we got him right here. We got Joshua Olsen. We got you Josh. Here we go.

Ryan Lee: So you actually eliminated…so your email went on and on and on. Here’s what I liked about it. There was a lot of personal story. Further down, he showed pictures of his family, behind the scenes photos, which I really liked. Just a couple of things you might want to tweak. If I remember correctly…who is it who wrote this email? I want to make sure I get the name.

Dave Gerhardt: Josh, Joshua Olsen.

Ryan Lee: Josh. So Josh, if I remember correctly, at the end, you were talking about a fundraiser, right? Trying to raise money through one of the online funding programs. What was it? Kickstarter. Yeah, exactly. The whole email, there were some nice elements of personal stuff. But first thing, it was way too long. It was way too long. Remember, most people now are reading it on their phone. Long in terms of length and long terms of these paragraphs are…even the second paragraphs, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven lines. If that’s on a phone, that might be 10, 12, 14 lines. They’re not going to read it. People are busy, and they’re going to see this and think about it. It’s too much. It’s too heavy. They’re either going to delete it or archive it and say, I’ll read it later.

Ryan Lee: So even if you are going to have longer emails, you’ve got to break up the paragraphs. I never do more than three or four lines per paragraph, ever. So even on the second paragraph there-

Dave Gerhardt: Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on. We got to slow that down. Because-

Ryan Lee: Oh, no. I won’t slow down.

Dave Gerhardt: …you said… No, no, no. No, because I want to emphasize it. I want to emphasize it because this is uncomfortable for many, which is like short choppy, copy. Almost the way Ryan talks, it’s like it has a rhythm to it, right? You want to have your…your emails want to have that rhythm to it. So you’re like, “Hey.” So the other day I was thinking about…you actually probably don’t have to change a word in this email. We could nitpick on the copy. But if you just let Ryan go and reformat this email, I bet he could show you how it would be 10 times more readable without actually changing a word.

Ryan Lee: Right, right. It’s short. Don’t be afraid to use one line paragraphs. Don’t be afraid to use a one-word paragraph like, blah, blah, blah, and then we did this, and the next thing is just, ‘Amazing.’ and then the next paragraph. You got to break it up so we could flow. It’s like a song, and it’s like momentum, right? You change up the pacing because if everything is like this and it’s too long, and it goes like this, it feels like this, this is what the email feels like when it’s seven lines long and it’s seven paragraphs when it’s too much. So think of it like a song and break up the pacing, shorter lines, shorter sentences.

So I like the personal stuff on the bottom of the email. I would raise that up. I love the fact that’s a picture of his…I think that’s a picture of his child there. I would have the picture and then show people that that’s a picture of your…tell people that’s a picture of your child right away. But the email felt, I want to put this nicely, a little self-serving. It didn’t really move along. It was a little too rambling. It looked like the call to action at the end was to support your fund, to support your Kickstarter. But I remember there was some line in there, something about, “And our goal is to raise a lot of money.” It was some kind of wording where I’m like, “Ooh.”

At the risk of sounding harsh, no one cares about you, Joshua. They don’t really care about me. They don’t care about Dave. They care, how are you going to help me? They don’t really care that much about raising money so you can build, create more stuff and grow your company. What is in it for them? Why should they get behind your Kickstarter? So I think you have to make it a little bit…you could tell story. I love story. But make it two paragraphs at the beginning. A couple short paragraphs. “Oh my God. We were just here. We took pictures of my kids, and we’re so excited. We love it. Why did we do this while we’re doing this fundraiser? We’re trying to grow this. We want to support one or more products for you. It’s all about you and serving you. If this is something you want to support, click here, and we’d love your support. If not, that’s cool too. We’re going to be here, no matter what, to serve you.” Done.

Dave Gerhardt: So that last paragraph that we can see on the screen, my sister Kristen Wan, right? That could even just be like small text below that image that’s like…has an arrow up, and it’s like, “P.S. That’s my sister Kristen. She has two kids, and she’s been helping us create our baby line. It’s been awesome having her help.” That’s a little personal touch that makes it feel much more real.

Ryan Lee: Yeah. Fun. Then doing things. It looks like he has some. Another big thing I do in my posts and in my emails, it’s also coming from a place of humility and being self-deprecating, and kind of sometimes we take ourselves so seriously, and it’s…so even with your kid and so cute, but you could maybe have an arrow and say like, “Look at that little devilish smile.” Just a little bit of having fun with it where you’re not taking yourself so seriously either.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. This was the only time that hoodie stayed clean.

Ryan Lee: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. You should see this hoodie after. It was filled with stuff I don’t even want to know what it was. But hey-

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. Cool. All right. Let’s go to the next. Let’s go to the next. All right, Josh.

Ryan Lee: Hope that helped, Joshua.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. Here we go. This is for Waxing Kara. Kara. Calling Kara.

Ryan Lee: Waxing Kara.

Dave Gerhardt: Are you here?

Ryan Lee: Oh, it looks like the same email on the right, it’s just bigger. Okay. Okay. First line, I got a problem with. Here we go. If you’re writing to your friend, so every time you write an email, here’s what I want you to picture. Okay? You were sitting at a coffee shop with one person having a conversation. You’re sitting at a bar with one person having a conversation. If you’re sitting down at a coffee shop with your friend, your ideal customer, what would you say to them? You wouldn’t say, “Hi, friends.” Never pluralize. Even if you’re sending it to 10 million people, only one person is reading at a time. The minute you say, “Hi, friends,” I know you’re not talking to me. I know you’re talking to a whole bunch of people, and you kind of lose it.

Even though I know you’re sending it to a lot of people, it’s not just me, you immediately lose that connection. So never say, “Hi, friends,” or, “How are you all doing? How’s everyone?” Eliminate that from all your emails from now on, everybody. Again, we hope you’re all well, give an I because it’s coming from Kara, which is great. I hope you’re doing well. With Mother’s Day coming up, we put together a page for you. We owe you. It’s actually funny because one, almost every single line has we. We hope this, we put this together, we owe you, we are still here. A little too much about you. We put together a page for you for Mother’s Day. We owe you a big thank you as support.

So I would switch this around. I would make that third paragraph, we owe each every day. You’re jumping into the mother’s day thing too fast. So tell me a little bit about…is Kara on, Dave? If Kara is on-

Dave Gerhardt: I haven’t seen any comments.

Ryan Lee: Kara, are you a mom? Why does this mean so much to you? If you’re not a mom, maybe tell me a story about your mom or if you didn’t have a good relationship with your mom, maybe you could talk about that. Or maybe you could talk about your best friend’s mom who had a great relationship or your best friend’s mom who recently passed away. Or something to tie it into Mother’s Day is such a special day. We love serving moms and having thousands of moms as a member of our tribe. The waxers, right? That’s another little thing, having a name for your tribe, not just calling customers. Again, not taking yourself so seriously, saying, “And yes, we too, we’re going to do a mother’s day sale just like everyone else, but here you go.” Okay.

Dave Gerhardt: All right. Let’s hit Natural Pawz. If you own Natural Pawz, please come to the chat. Come to the chat, please. Natural Pawz.

Ryan Lee: Pawz with Z.

Dave Gerhardt: It’s very Brooklyn.

Ryan Lee: Yeah, very Brooklyn. I am not from Brooklyn. Okay.

Dave Gerhardt: No, you’re not.

Ryan Lee: I represent.

Dave Gerhardt: Oh, Jessica. What’s up, Jessica. All right. We got her. Jessica. It’s me, Ryan. Here we go.

Ryan Lee: Hello, Jessica. I feel like Jessica and I already go way back. I just want to call her Jess. Okay. So cute picture of the dog. A little help when you need it. That’s what neighbors are for. Okay. But it’s just coupon codes and barcodes and says purchase yours in store. So I’m assuming there’s physical location. Here are savings for everything your pet needs. Bringing pets and their people together have always been important to us. That’s what we do and everything we can to support our local community.

So the message is nice. You’re doing it. People who have dogs and pets, I mean, they treat them sometimes better than their own children. So I would tap into a little bit more of the story, a little bit more of the emotion and talk about why you’re doing the sale, to help people now. Especially now, because as of this live recording, we’re still in the middle of the COVID-19 stuff. So there’s a lot of uncertainty with money. So every time people can save, they’re going to appreciate it. One of the best promotions we did was, when this stuff first hit, we just discounted our bars to…I just gave them away at my cost to help people to get hands on as many as possible.

So explain why you’re giving such good discounts? $75 on a $300 purchase, I mean, it’s good stuff. So explain it. So valid on pet supplies, not valid on dah, dah, dah. So the only thing I don’t love, and I get it, if you’re a store, and there might be certain restrictions that retailers put, and I know there’s different margins. I totally understand that. But I would say, as a consumer, you always have to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer, I don’t like discounts with lots of stipulations. The fact that it’s only on food and supplies, and it’s not valid on this, this, and this. It doesn’t apply to autoship or gift cards or past services or blah, blah. Why not?

Again, I don’t know your business model. I’m not saying you can’t. Maybe you have to do that, and I understand. But as much as we can, reduce the friction. If you do reduce the friction, tell them, “Hey look, we’re not like everybody else. When we say save $75 on this, it’s a true discount, and we’re not going to have a hundred different things in there and a hundred things you have to buy and you can’t buy.” People feel so good about doing business with companies that are just transparent and honest because we’re so used to getting screwed as customers and consumers. We just want honesty.

Like I said, I don’t know your business or if you can or cannot do it. But however best you can, do that. But I would definitely start with a more personal story at the beginning with the dog. If you have a picture of you and your dog, do it. Great.

Dave Gerhardt: How many have we got? Okay. I think we got…Boom. Let’s do Pickld, and then we’re going to jump into Q&A.

Ryan Lee: Pickld. All right. So we jump right in. So it’s like you’re not even asking me out on a date. You’re jumping right in. You’re trying to get me back to your house or your apartment right from the beginning. So take a further 20% off hour. So you’re assuming I even know about your six combo pack. Right away, take a further 20% off. What do you mean further? Was there already a discount? I don’t know where you’re meeting me. I don’t know what the emails were leading up to this. One of the best buy services. So it’s great testimonials, but you got to get that lower. So how is this going to help me now, the seasonings.

So again, getting in the shoes. Right now, if people, and it’s people in Australia and maybe in Australia, they’re having trouble getting some food, or maybe they’re home, and maybe they’re getting bored with the same food over and over and over again, let’s add some spice. Let’s add some variety to it. Let’s have some fun in the kitchen. Show a picture of one of your customers using your spice. Show a picture of you using the spice. Show a picture of some meals using the spices or show a recipe. Do that kind of stuff. Even now, it’s perfect timing. I don’t know if you’re based in Australia because Australia wide, and I don’t know what the meat supply is.

I know in the US right now, there’s an issue with meat with a lot of…there’s a lot of supply issues, and now supermarkets are restricting. You could only have one piece of meat or two things per family. If you can, if that’s happening in Australia, I would absolutely talk about that too. Not twisting the knife, not making people feel guilty, but like, “Hey, meat is being restricted right now.” If this is for meat, if you can use it for meat. Let’s make the best of what we have. Let’s get creative and really enjoy every bite, so-

Dave Gerhardt: Also, you could probably tee this up with the hook first like, “You might want to read this because it’s the best offer we’ve ever made.”

Ryan Lee: So yeah. Like I said, there’s no foreplay here. There’s no, let me buy you a drink. It’s right into take a…take a further 20% off feels like I’m in the middle of a sentence. You told me about something else. But if I didn’t open your last email or you didn’t have another thing about this and I just see this, I’m like, “What do you mean take a further? Was there already a discount?” I don’t know. Also, the 75, is that with the 20% off, or is it a further 20% off of that? I don’t know. It’s really not clear.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. Okay. We-

Ryan Lee: We covered a lot of stuff, Dave.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. We covered a lot.

Ryan Lee: Yeah, do this shit every week. Come on.

Dave Gerhardt: I know. I was actually just messaging the team. I’m like, “How do we do this regularly?” Because it’s amazing. All right. I’m going to read through some of these questions. What would you put…this one from Ticer? What would you put in the subject line to draw a question? Can you give me some general subject line advice?

Ryan Lee: I would say, in general, it’s better to use…don’t give it away. Use curiosity. So for example, instead of saying, “Cumin is my favorite spice,” I would say something like, “Here’s my all-time favorite spice.” Or, “Try this spice.” Or, “Spice up your life,” or something. But I would definitely use curiosity. I think most people give everything away in the email, or if it’s a fitness thing, they’ll say, the one-handed pushup is my favorite pushup. Well now, they really don’t have… They don’t have a reason for the email.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. That’s your one word of advice, curiosity. Your subject line should be to pique curiosity. This one’s from-

Ryan Lee: Unfortunately…okay.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah, go ahead. No, go on, go on.

Ryan Lee: Unfortunately, negative headlines tend to out-poll positive ones. So she hated it in general will out-poll she loved it. But you got to be careful because you don’t want to have every headline negative and using that kind of stuff. But I will say in general, because I’ve sent millions of emails, they do tend to out-poll. Unfortunately. I wish it wasn’t the case.

Dave Gerhardt: Okay. Do you recommend also putting our first name in the from as well? For example, Rewind email subscribers would see the email being from Ryan from Rewind in their inbox.

Ryan Lee: Yeah. You could test that. Right now, we’re still just doing Rewind. So I’ve seen people do that. I know one guy who…he’ll send different emails with different froms. He’ll say D.S. then sometimes he’ll say David S. He says it might increase it a little bit. We just keep it pretty standard from Rewind.

Dave Gerhardt: This is a separate one, but I want to ask you about it anyway. This is from Sarah. How would you sell bags in the middle of a pandemic, more specifically for Mother’s Day? What kind of offer would you come up with? What’s your hook?

Ryan Lee: What kind of bags?

Dave Gerhardt: I think I saw her question before. It was basically like, nobody’s going out right now, but she has a handbag business. How would you try to market handbags right now, even though everybody’s at home?

Ryan Lee: Oh, handbags. Yeah. Handbag. Well, it’s definitely going to be tough. It’s definitely tougher because people are still at the lower part of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. So they’re still thinking about water, food, survival. Now, they’re starting to move up a little bit to health. The higher stuff, handbags is more travel and going out and a little bit more aspirational. So it is definitely tougher. But the more you can build anticipation like, “Hey, some states…” So tie into the news. “I see some states are already starting to open up, and they’re starting to loosen up. Now’s the time to get your bag at discount. Hey, why not even get the bag and take a picture of it, of a selfie and make your friends jealous.” But it’s definitely going to be more challenging to sell that.

But I would talk about how it’s coming soon and talk about, “Look, when the restrictions are fully out and everyone’s out, this stuff’s all going to probably sell out because everyone’s going to be buying everything because everyone wants to go out and look their best.” So if your audience is mostly women, say treat yourself or treat a woman you know and show them, and it also gives you hope for what’s coming, instead of only, “What are you going to do? Buy your mom or by yourself a roll of toilet paper. Let’s treat ourselves a little bit. Yeah. We’ve been working hard. It’s been tough on Mother’s Day. Let’s treat ourselves. You’re entitled to a treat.”

Dave Gerhardt: Treat yourself.

Ryan Lee: Huh?

Dave Gerhardt: Treat yourself. I love it. Treat yourself.

Ryan Lee: Yeah, treat yourself. Treat yourself. You deserve it.

Dave Gerhardt: Okay. This question is from Mercedes. For someone that’s super new in business and needs to have a welcome email sent to new subscribers, what would you recommend? What’s the structure for a welcome email? So after somebody subscribed, they get that email, what’s the best structure?

Ryan Lee: Well, I don’t know. It’s hard for me to see you. I keep people walking by. They’re behind you. Jesus. I love home Zooms. I would say get into your why, the why you started it. Sarah talked about celiac disease. I think you’ve got to connect on that level and talk about the why you started this company and these products and start there. Then you can talk about the product. But I wouldn’t make it about the product.

So whatever your story is, “Hey, thank you so much for being here. I know you have a lot of options and opportunities to do other things and go with other companies. I started this X number of years ago because I was diagnosed with this. I’m here to help people and serve people. We do have new bars and drinks. If you want to check them out, go here. We have our Facebook group. Check us out in there too. Join the fun. Watch because we’re going to send more emails with hopefully stuff that you’re going to like. It’s going to help you live a better life. I can’t wait to help you. If you have any questions, just hit reply. Yes, I’m a real person, and yes, I really see these emails.”

Dave Gerhardt: I love that format. I think it’s a huge mistake. That’s like a free email, right? Because that’s the kickback email somebody’s going to get after they already signed up. This is your opportunity to say something again to them. So I like promoting all your stuff.

Ryan Lee: Right. When people order, I have a video, and we’ll send them a thank you email and say, “Hey, click here for the video.” It’s me here in my arcade saying, “Hey, it’s Ryan, thanks so much for being here.” Don’t be afraid to use video. Video works.

Dave Gerhardt: Love it.

Ryan Lee: It doesn’t have to be fancy produced. Most of my videos are just me and my iPhone.

Dave Gerhardt: This one’s from Melissa. How often are you sending emails?

Ryan Lee: None of your business. I will do-

Dave Gerhardt: Join the list.

Ryan Lee: So what we do is I’ll send an email. It’s essentially every other day. So let’s say it’s Monday. To me, the consistency of the time is really important. So it usually goes out. I write it in real time. I actually sit down every morning. That’s my most important thing, my number one task. I’ll write it at 7:30, 8:30 in the morning. It usually goes out around 9:00. So if I write it on Monday, I send it to the whole list. Tuesday, 24 hours later, I’ll send it to everyone who didn’t open or click the email, the same exact email, just a different subject, and we’ll usually double our revenue from that. Then I send the new email on Wednesday. So every other day, they’re getting a new email if they’re opening.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. Segment, right?

Ryan Lee: Right.

Dave Gerhardt: You can’t send enough email to people who want-

Ryan Lee: If you do that one thing, if you send the same email with a different subject to the people who didn’t open or click, you will increase your revenue by 50% overnight, assuming you’re making some revenue from email. Guaranteed. I’ve just doubled your revenue. You’re welcome.

Dave Gerhardt: There’s another one too, which is resend to people who didn’t open. Change the subject line.

Ryan Lee: That’s what I just said.

Dave Gerhardt: You did? I thought you said didn’t click.

Ryan Lee: Oh, no, no. Open or click. I’m sorry. Yeah, yeah.

Dave Gerhardt: Oh, there you got two. Let’s do the last one. Last one from Christian. What’s the best time of day to send email?

Ryan Lee: Well, I kind of just answered that. To me, it’s more about the consistency. It’s them knowing they’re going to get that email from you at that time. Yeah. You could kind of mess around and say, “Well, my people are this,” and they tend to open at 3:00 PM, and it’s 3% more. I don’t give a shit. I want it simple, and it’s like they know they’re getting an email at this time, and it’s pretty consistent, and it’s just consistent timing. For me, it’s the most important thing we do in our business is email because that’s the majority of our revenue. So it’s the first thing I do in the morning before I start checking all the other crap. So I suggest everyone make email a priority and try to do it in the morning or at least whenever you have… If you have another job or full time job, whatever block of time you have, do it and make it consistent.

Dave Gerhardt: Right. I love it. Ryan, any parting words before I click end on this Zoom? We definitely got to figure out how to do this again. People want you.

Ryan Lee: Do you guys want more? If you want more, tell Dave and flood their box, “Hey, we want more of this.” Because honestly, I get nothing. Well, not that I don’t get anything out of it. Because I love teaching this stuff. So the more I can do this, this lights me up. Parting words, treat people like you treat your own. Hopefully, you treat your family well. Do the right thing, and never forget why we’re doing this. I’m not trying to sound like all fluffy, but you really have to come from a place of, “I’m here to serve them.” I know before I asked why do people start business, one person wrote, to create generational wealth for my family.” I’m not judging. Look, everyone has their own thing. But if that’s your only reason, then the heart and the soul and the love and the caring is not going to come through in your email. It’s going to be really hard to do it.

Ryan Lee: So it doesn’t matter why you started. Now, you’ve got to really connect with the people. Don’t forget every email you send, the real living, breathing human beings, they’re mothers and fathers and sons and daughters and husbands and wives and brothers and sisters, they’re real people. So treat them with respect and don’t treat them just like a number, and truly care about them and listen to them and protect them and don’t promote crap. Sell and give them good stuff.

Dave Gerhardt: Amazing. All right. The people want more, Ryan Lee. We’re going to give it to them. We will be back with something soon. Ryan, thanks for doing this. Go and check out all Ryan’s stuff. Rewind Bars. Honestly, one little secret is when you find somebody really smart and good at marketing like this, I would just go sign up for Ryan’s list and just get his emails, and it really is a reps and sets thing. You got to see it every day, and I bet you if you get on Ryan’s email list. Within a week, you’re going to be able to pick up what he’s doing.

Ryan Lee: Yeah. Go to rewindbars.com. Then if you can, join our Facebook group for Rewind. Just go to Facebook and type in Rewind Breakfast Club and join there and see what we’re doing, how the emails kind of infuse it into our group and what we’re doing to build our community there. If you want to support me, buy some…well, the bars are on pre-order. You can pre-order bars and get some drinks. You’re going to love them, the best drinks in the world. Best green drinks. So thank you Dave for having me.

Dave Gerhardt: Love it.

Ryan Lee: I’m serious. Any time you need me, I’m here. Thank you. Thanks. Good luck, everybody.

Dave Gerhardt: Love it. Talk to you later.

Ryan Lee: See you, guys.

Email Marketing
Ecommerce Marketing

This article originally appeared in the Privy blog and has been published here with permission.

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