Back before Peaceful Profits went by this name, I bought Mike Shreeve’s program to help me:
- Create my own offer
- Get out of being an employee
- Start helping people in the market
- Make my own money
- Build the life of freedom I wanted
Did he, his team, and his program help me do just that?
100% yes. Absolutely.
Which is why I highly recommend his stuff, and…
Why I’m breaking down one of his emails I got recently that really showed the power of story.
And if you’ve been around me and the 3BM team at all, then you know how much we love to use stories in our clients’ marketing efforts.
Story gets attention, invites an emotional connection, prompts thinking, and, in most cases, asks for the reader to take action.
In short, Story is powerful.
Rules: The Email Muse
Each week, I brave the marketing wilderness to find highly-effective ecommerce sales emails… and I shine a light on what made them work.
My goal with this weekly tangle with The Email Muse is to teach you strategies and tactics you can use with email.
Where do I find these magical electronic pieces of mail? My inbox, mostly, since I’m signed up to lists that I want to be on. I also take suggestions from readers who have a stellar email they’d like to share.
Did you get an email recently that made you smile, your eyes tear up, or flat out gut punched you? I want to see it.
Forward the email to me at (chris at threebeaconmarketing dot com) with a brief note about what you liked about it. If I choose to break it down, I’ll give you a shoutout and link back to your site.
Oh, and don’t forward me the emails you wrote. That’s the only rule.
Let’s get started.
The Subject Line’s Got Me Saying “WTF!?”
The first thing I notice when I see this email in my inbox is the subject line.
“Client calls in the delivery room.”
It’s one part curiosity and one part “WTF!?”
Our brains don’t register taking client calls in the delivery room as “normal.”
It’s a pattern interrupt.
Usually, we reserve the delivery room for the miracle that is childbirth, not a quick chat with a client.
This gets us curious to learn more, so we have to click.
Why is this important?
When you’re battling for eyeballs in the inbox, curiosity and intrigue get attention… and the click.
And, oh, do I click…
How to Hook the Reader into the Story
The first four lines of this email reveal an absolute master at work.
Take your time reading these lines, and then read them again. Heck, you could teach an entire 90-minute seminar on these four lines alone.
Here they are:
“6 years ago my daughter was born.
It was also one of the worst days of my life, my single biggest regret, and it actually broke me.
Here’s what happened.”
These four lines do a number of things for the reader. Let’s break them down, shall we?
We feel the elation that is childbirth. Mike’s daughter was born. Yay!
Then he hits us right in the gut. He says it was one of the worst days of his life.
These 30 words get us to ask some specific questions:
- Why was it one of the worst days of his life?
- Why did it create his single biggest regret?
- Why did it break him?
And most importantly:
- What happened?
If you can get your reader to think/say, “what happened” after you introduce your story, you’ve got them hooked.
These questions also represent what’s called an open loop.
An open loop is where you present a problem without sharing the solution, so the reader’s brain keeps reading to find out what happens.
It’s important that the reader cares about the problem you’re sharing. Because if you share a problem that the reader does not care about, well, the open loop will fall flat and not work.
Open loops are great, whether you’re telling stories or sharing information. And, they’re one of the key mechanisms behind the “greased chute” concept in copywriting.
If you want your reader to slide through your copy and into a purchase, open loops are a great way to keep them reading.
Just make sure you close those loops by the time you get to the climax, or your readers will focus more on the feeling of “incompleteness” than clicking and buying.
Now that we’re hooked into the story and reading as fast as we can to find out what happened, Mikes slows down for a paragraph and sets the scene for us.
He gives us some backstory, where he came from before this situation occurred in his life:
“The year my daughter was born I had 3 major clients. Each was paying me more than $15,000/month in fees. It was just me back then so I got to keep all of that money. $45,000 a month going straight to the bank. For a kid like me who grew up poor, I could hardly believe my luck.”
What does this paragraph do for the reader?
We get to know Mike a bit, here. We start to understand his situation. And we begin to assume WHY he took a client call in the delivery room, even though he’s neither confirmed nor denied it yet.
All we have so far is a subject line, his daughter was born, and that it was the worst day of his life.
Mike continues to give us clues as to what happens next, but he doesn’t tell us. He continues to build on the loops he opened in the first four lines.
He’s also sharing the stakes for the situation. In other words, if he doesn’t keep those clients happy, he’s going to lose out on all that money… and put his newborn daughter at risk.
Ultimately, this paragraph humanizes Mike and ratchets up curiosity so we keep reading.
Enter The Problem
Now that we know the stakes of Mike’s situation, he dives right into the problem:
Each one of these clients wanted to squeeze every penny out of the $15,000/month they were paying me. As they should. As they were entitled to thanks to the way I set up my offer.”
Mike’s got a problem on his hand, and it’s, assumingly, about to clash with his daughter being born.
What he does with these three lines is give us context on what caused his regret to occur.
He admits that because of the way he set up his offer, this problem is his and his alone. No one else is to blame.
Then, he goes on to “twist the knife” and agitate the problem even more…
The Triad of Doom and Despair
Mike agitates his problem.
He shares more details on how these three clients “used” his offer terms and conditions to get every penny of value they could out of Mike:
This doesn’t sound like a great way to run a business, eh?
The problem with Mike’s offer is very apparent. And if you’ve ever flown, at all, then you know what it’s like being in and out of an airport. Even once is a pain. Mike was only home four (4) days in December. He practically lived “on the road” for the entire month.
This asks the reader to sympathize with him and lean in to what Mike was dealing with. Most readers will begin to see themselves in Mike’s shoes at this point and feel his pain. The contrast between making a ton of money vs. spending the time he hoped to create with his family can be felt.
Something else Mike’s doing, here, is speaking directly to the clients he helps.
Mike helps turn job owners into actual business owners, so they don’t have to be “in” their businesses to make money.
The agitation of this particular problem hits home for his ideal clients and what they’re feeling BEFORE they buy his program and change their businesses.
The Dark Night of the Soul
Now that we know Mike’s situation in more detail, we sympathize with him, and we’d never want to be in his situation, even for that amount of money…
Life piles more onto Mike’s plate:
At this point, Mike has a decision to make.
Does he ignore the texts and focus on his wife and daughter, or…
Does he answer the texts and help his client… while in the delivery room?
This is what storytellers will call “The Dark Night of the Soul.”
It’s the lowest moment of the entire story. The moment where there’s no going back. But you can’t move forward, either. Things have gotten so bad, there’s no hope left.
This hopelessness is what pushes Mike to make his decision…
The Crossroad & a Lesson
Mike presents his options as a crossroad:
Instead of rushing through this part of the story, Mike zooms in and slows things down. He takes us through his thinking. He takes us through what he should have done, and, eventually, what he ended up doing.
This is where he truly connects with his ideal client because this moment Mike’s sharing is the same moment freelancers and service providers deal with on a daily basis.
Do they sacrifice their time with family to answer their clients’ calls?:
The crossroad is a copywriting/selling technique to help your reader/prospect see the two paths ahead of them. It also encourages them to reconsider their answer, if it was “no” to the initial offer. It presents perspective so the reader/prospect feels like they have a better understanding for the choice they’re about to make.
In many cases, people have a gut reaction to say “no” without even considering their options. It’s a fight or flight response to the unknown.
The crossroad helps address that gut response and give power and agency back to the reader so they can make the best decision for themselves.
Not only does this cross road share the options Mike had at the time, but in the first choice of throwing his phone out the window, he shares the lesson he wants his ideal clients to learn.
No client that’s willing to cross boundaries is worth keeping as a client, no matter how much money they pay.
Also, in this crossroad, Mike shows us he’s human.
Because of the choice he made…
The Climax of the Story
This is the climax of the story.
It’s the highest point of tension and suspense that we’ll feel in this email.
It’s also the moment where Mike makes the decision hinted at in the subject line.
This decision is the driving curiosity for this story:
For Mike’s ideal clients, they make this decision all the time.
They choose to respond to needy clients and sacrifice time with their family.
And this is an extremely emotional moment for Mike. It’s his biggest regret. And he says it broke him.
The same regret is happening to his ideal clients, too. They choose needy clients over family every single day out of fear for losing the money they need to take care of their family.
A vicious cycle.
Alos, this decision is the moment that influences Mike to change how he runs his business.
During or directly after the climax, a realization happens:
The realization or “change” the protagonist makes (or doesn’t make) in a story immediately follows the climax.
It’s the highest emotional peak in the experience. It’s where all the thoughts, feelings, actions, and more converge into one single defining moment.
The entire point of this story was to show the climax occurring AND what happens after Mike experiences the consequences of his decision.
You can think of it this way, too…
When humans are emotional, they are more fluid in their decision making. They don’t stop themselves and think if it’s the right, wrong, or otherwise. They just do. They let their emotions take over because they’re “out of their head” and “in their heart.”
And for those of you who argue you don’t make “emotional decisions,” well, I’m here to let you know that science has proven emotion to have a critical role in decision making. Without emotion, decision-making is impossible for you–all the way down to choosing which color of sock to wear.
And here’s why getting the reader into their emotions matters…
The ideal place to put a realization and point of a story is in or directly after the highest emotional peak. This is because readers are open to new beliefs, ideas, or concepts when they’re emotionally heightened.
If someone is “in their head” and logical, they will resist and fight your ideas and concepts.
If they are emotional, they’re more likely to consider and even adopt the belief/concept you’re presenting with little-to-no resistance.
You’ve probably heard:
Humans buy with emotion and justify purchases with logic.
This concept proves why story is so powerful for selling.
Story gets people into emotional states, where they’re more likely to make buying decisions, accept new beliefs, or consider new ideas.
Now that Mike realized the change he needs to make, he takes action:
Mike shares what happens now that he’s been through the harrowing moment of taking a client call in the delivery room and changing his ways.
He changed everything about how he runs and operates his businesses.
What we’re seeing here is the result or conclusion to the changed protagonist.
Once the realization is had in the protagonist, they must show the reader how they’ve changed.
In most stories, the protagonist returns to their normal life with a new perspective and takes a different course of action against the same prior stressors and conflicts.
As the reader, we see that the climax did, in fact, change the protagonist.
Mike did in fact change because of that moment in the delivery room.
The other piece to this is that Mike is showing his ideal clients how if he can change, so can they. Also, if they do change, there’s greater upside to that decision.
Now that Mike has shown us this moment of transformation with us, he tells us the reason why he shared this story in particular.
The Reason Why
Here’s why Mike shares this story with us:
Take note that Mike uses the “crossroad technique” again to contrast owning a job vs. owning a business. He outlines the upsides and downsides of each, reaffirming his decision to change how he runs his businesses.
Mike shares that he’s launching a new program:
The story he shared in the first ⅔ of the email is the motivation behind WHY he helps job owners transform into business owners.
So when he transitions from the reason why he shares the story to this announcement about his new offer, it looks and feels seamless.
As the reader, you’ve just come off the “story high,” and you’re emotionally charged.
If you’re Mike’s ideal client, you’re primed to take action and solve your own job ownership problems.
He then outlines what you can expect from this offer, so your emotional brain can attach itself to these tangible pieces.
This is why story is so powerful when done correctly. It primes your ideal customers and clients to consider and receive new ideas, concepts, and offers.
The Big Promise
Mike then makes his promise, as well as ties it back to the story he just shared:
This promise becomes more powerful because we now have a set of emotions attached to it. The emotions we feel for Mike and his daughter, the emotions we feel for our own situation, and the desire to attain the future Mike’s sharing all coalesce in this big promise.
This is why the promise for Mike’s ideal client feels so powerful, even though the words look so simple.
He then goes on to clarify WHO he actually helps…
The Offer’s Ideal Client
Mike sets the boundary he now has and expects his ideal clients to have, as well.
“If you actually know how to help clients, you shouldn’t have to trade important family stuff just to be a business owner.”
This is powerful because for the right person, they’ll be nodding their heads and, potentially, saying aloud, “Yes, that’s me. That’s what I want.”
Mike reiterates the promise of being able to remove you from your job ownership and transform you into a business owner.
Then, he wraps up the email…
The Wrap Up and Call-to-Action
Now that Mike’s shared his story, announced his offer, and made the big promise to help those who can help people, he wraps things up:
The unique part about this wrap up and CTA section is that he asks his reader a question:
“In the meantime, check yourself
Are you a job owner or a business owner?”
While a lot of people will say you should use one big idea, one offer, one CTA, etc, Mike does things a bit different here.
He asks the reader to self identify with a click…
Two things could be going on in the background here:
First, he’s probably asking people to click so he can tag them for later segmenting.
Second, the offer on the other side of each of those hyperlinks relate to where the reader is in their “business ownership” journey, which…
Increases the likelihood of the offer being relevant to the person that clicks it.
This leads to a higher conversion rate (aka sales) on the offers presented.
Here’s the Too Long; Didn’t Read of this article, if you decided to scroll alllllll the way down here to the bottom:
- How curiosity and intrigue get attention (and the click).
- The importance of inviting for emotional connection.
- Why agitating the problem deepens the emotional connection with the reader
- How one decision carries an entire story.
- The importance of the “realization” to the reader.
- How the realization ties into and drives the transformation.
- The crossroad question for getting your list to self segment
- Join our newsletter, where you’ll get 1 piece of advice each week on how to grow your brand with marketing.
- Leave a comment below and let me know what you like about this email.
- Check out Mike and his main Peaceful Profit’s offer, here.