Back when I still drank coffee, I enjoyed this brand’s coffee for nearly a year.
Then I made some life choices that cut out coffee, but…
This brand and their emails are a master’s work at direct response email copy.
(And their coffee is pretty dang delicious, too).
Which is why I wanted to break down one of their emails today.
Lifeboost Coffee believes that coffee is a “ritual.” And they’re on a mission to elevate their customer’s coffee, health, and day.
Here’s a little bit from the founder’s story:
Dr. Charles Livingston, CEO and Co-founder of Lifeboost Coffee, as a Chiropractic Physician with thousands of hours in nutritional research, would always tell his patients… “Garbage in equals garbage out.”
He says that this is easier said than done, but…
The nutritional building blocks that you feed to your body, is what your body will assimilate into healthy cells.
And lots of healthy cells become a healthier YOU.
Hence his effort to deliver a cleaner, healthier coffee to his customers.
Rules: The Email Muse
Each week, I venture through 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 your emails.
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.
And no forwarding me emails you wrote. That’s the only rule.
Let’s get started.
Subject Line: The Question + Curiosity
Dr. Livingston uses the brand name for the from name…
But he does elicit a ton of curiosity with the subject line:
you’ve been on his list for any amount of time, then Dr. Livingston asking the question, “Are you like me Chris?” gets you to click and open the email. Why? Familiarity with the sender and the possibility of comparing yourself to him, which is a psychological trigger.
Even if this is the first email you get from Dr. Livingston, this question in the subject line activates what I like to call the “comparison gene.”
It’s the gene that most humans have, even if they swear they don’t compare themselves to others. You’ve probably seen this gene in action before because it’s what starts the “keeping up with the Joneses” spiral.
We humans feel it necessary to compare ourselves to one another, so we can determine if we’re behind, ahead, or at the same level as one another.
This innate drive to compare creates curiosity to find out how we measure up to the other person–in this case, Dr. Livingston.
Opening Line: The Reason Why + Offer
Dr. Livingston treats this email like a sales page.
He opens the email with the “headline” you see here:
In this headline, he’s doing a few things.
First, he’s mentioning the “reason why” he’s sending the email to his readers. Dr. Livingston sends an almost daily email, so giving a reason for this particular email right up front in the headline helps keep people around for the copy.
Second, he makes his offer in that same headline. He ratchets up the curiosity by not naming the popular flavor. Instead, he leaves that to discover as the reader gets into the copy.
This “equation” is one of many in headline writing:
Reason why + Offer + Curiosity = Reading momentum.
And momentum is what you need to keep people reading.
The Call Back to the Subject Line
Now that the headline is read, Dr. Livingston dives right into answering the subject-line question.
While he is “triggering” an assumed negative psychological trigger, he spins it in a positive way.
This gives the reader a positive hit of dopamine and keeps them reading:
This is the callback to the subject line plus added personality and humor.
Two of the reasons I enjoy Dr. Livingston’s emails for Lifeboost are his personality and energy in the copy.
If you read the entire email, you can feel his excitement toward what he’s offering.
Also, he writes his emails as if he’s sending them to a friend, not a list of people. His emails feel human, not stilted or “branded.”
He makes the email about the reader, not himself, even though he does use “I” a lot in this email.
He attempts to connect with his reader’s identity.
Why is connecting with the reader’s identity important?
Because the identity is where all the beliefs and values of the person are stored and referenced. If we can connect to that, we are able to understand and influence the person to make a decision.
The Feature & Benefit Stack
A great way to show off your product is to dramatize the features and benefits.
Dr. Livingston does this with his new flavor announcement, ratcheting up the curiosity even more:
In these lines, Dr. Livingston is doing what I like to call “stacking.”
This is similar to value stacking before presenting an offer price. You show all the value the prospect will get and then compare that to the actual price of the offer. This helps raise the perceived value of the offer in the prospect’s eyes, so it feels like a smart decision to buy.
Dr. Livingston stacks the features & benefits of nuts, chocolate, coffee, no sugar, no fat, and nothing artificial all to raise the perceived value of the coffee.
The Call to Action + Social Credibility
Dr. Livingston hints at the flavor, here, in this CTA, but…
What he leaves out is the price of the coffee itself.
He also leans into some social credibility.
Both of these “triggers” increase click-through because the reader wants to know what all the fuss is about with this coffee flavor…
They’ve seen 40% off, are interested in the flavor profile, and want to see the price:
This CTA does more than ask the reader to click and shop the new coffee flavor.
- Introduces the new flavor
- Adds social approval of the new flavor
- Adds even more curiosity
The more curiosity and benefit to the prospect you build, the more likely they are to click on the link to learn more (and potentially buy).
“It tastes like this picture”
Copywriting purists will scream, “images ruin copy!” from the rooftops, but…
Images can be considered a shortcut for the brain to understand what it’s consuming. Use them sparingly though, because….
While a picture is worth a thousand words, we’re never guaranteed which words those will be for the viewer.
For copy, though, we can deliver those words directly to the reader.
Now, if you’ve ever had one of these truffle-looking delicacies, then you absolutely know how they taste. Nothing comes close to the chocolaty richness of taking a bit out of one these treats:
This image also gets the sense involved.
It’s meant to immediately take you back to the moment you took a bite out of a truffle. This means your taste, smell, and feel all activate, which pulls you deeper into this copy.
A huge gap in a lot of copy, from copywriters and owners alike, is that it doesn’t engage the five senses often enough, where appropriate.
We want the copy to be easy to read, but we also want it to be immersive.
Do you remember watching your favorite movie for the first time?
It grabbed you, pulled you in, and wouldn’t let go.
Copy can (and does) do this for customers, if it gets people to feel something, emotionally and physically.
Sure, you can throw in a few brain teasers, too, but…
People buy on emotion and justify their purchases with logic.
This truffle image invites the reader to go deeper into their emotional experience.
Going deeper into this emotional experience reminds the reader what it was like to enjoy a bite of that truffle… and essentially equates the product to their experience.
And who doesn’t enjoy more of a great experience?
Limited supply + incentive like a % off = revenue
Now that the reader is emotionally hooked, it’s time to transition deeper into the offer details:
Not only does Dr. Livingston revisit the offer from the headline, here, but he also adds in urgency and scarcity.
Not only is there a 40% off sale, but there are ONLY 200 BAGS of this coffee available.
He calls it a “small specialty run,” but…
The same principles apply.
Limited supply + incentive like a % off = revenue
The offer gets people interested and the urgency and scarcity gets them to buy now instead of waiting until later.
Ratchet Up Scarcity & Urgency
Dr. Livingston states the obvious for those who may not have realized that this is a limited run.
He states, outright, that:
“Once it’s gone, it’ll be a bit before we can get more…”
My favorite part about this paragraph is that he uses the word “because.”
There was a study done a while back where a student asked other students in a library to cut in line to use a printer. In the study, they had the control group ask to cut in line without giving a reason for doing so. Then, they had a different student ask to cut and then use “because” as the transition into the reason why they needed to cut.
What the study revealed is that simply using “because” after the request without giving a reason got higher rates of acceptance than not using “because.”
Why is this?
Our brains are wired to close loops. We’re also wired to compare our situation to others’ situations.
So when someone asks to cut in line to use the printer and transition with “because” it satisfies our brains initial resistance BECAUSE the asker has a reason for the request. We trust that they wouldn’t be asking unless their reason was urgent, whether they give that reason or not.
Short story long:
Dr. Livingston ratchets up the urgency and scarcity to buy now…
And then says, “…because it takes time to create such a clean, delicious flavor with no added calories or sugar.”
See the tail end of that “reason why”?
He mentions the features of the coffee, which infers that it’s healthier than what the reader may be drinking now.
This paragraph alone could prompt a 30-minute conversation on psychological triggers and buying behaviors.
Dr. Livingston navigates this paragraph masterfully.
Personal Sign Off
While the from name is the brand name…
Dr. Livingston signs off the email personally:
This keeps the email human while also respecting the brand.
He’s the founder and owner of the brand emailing his list, but…
This personal sign off and “separation of church and state” (aka brand and owner) allows Dr. Livingston to do more with his list than simply sell coffee.
Recently, he started asking questions about supplements to his coffee list.
He was able to do this without much friction because he sends the emails for the brand.
If the emails were from the brand and signed off as “the team” or something similar, he would have had more backlash asking his list if they were interested in supplements.
There are huge benefits to sending personal, one-to-one style emails for your brand.
Dr. Livingston’s emails are an example of that.
What You Learned
Here’s the tl;dr of what you learned today:
- Elicit curiosity with psychological triggers like the “comparison gene”
- Reason why + Offer + Curiosity = Reading momentum.
- Positive hits of dopamine keeps the reader “in the copy”
- Connect with the reader’s identity to keep them reading
- Increase perceived value stacking features and benefits in a dramatic way
- Leave the price of the product out of the email so reader has to click through to find it
- Get readers to feel something, emotionally and physically, to increase purchase momentum
- Limited supply + incentive like a % off = revenue
- The reason “because” works so well after a request
- A brand from name + personal name sign off allows you to send offers outside your brand to your list, which means making more money. More offers = more money.