Introduction

Email is still the medium of choice for most personal communications and the way that most companies share their marketing messages. Email can inspire, but when not done well, it can also be the quickest way to the junk drawer.

In today's episode, Simon Harvey and Daniel Kleber discuss how to tell your story using email. We'll go beyond headlines and open rates and see how to create content that people want to read and will remember.

To help you improve your marketing strategy, download the free brand script worksheet, which includes sections for each part of the storytelling framework we discuss in our episodes, here (or copy and paste the link below): 

demodia.com/brandscript-worksheet

To communicate clearly what you do - download our Storytelling Pitch Template.  It will show you how to use the talking points you’ve written to create the perfect elevator pitch.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1awdCO0SQontpZSX8Gzb8dxQietcGdJArvBieeKkVdfs/edit#heading=h.3h55xh94y8o2


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Episode Transcript

Simon Harvey: 

As evermore tools come to market, there's a continual debate about the death of email and its relevance as a communication channel. But year after year, email continues to be one of the most cost effective and best performing sales and marketing channels. Email. Email's still the medium of choice when it comes to most personal communications, and it's still the way most companies share their marketing messages. When done well, email can inspire, but when done not so well, it can also be the quickest way into the junk drawer. So, in today's episode, we're going to look at how to tell your story using email. We'll go beyond the headlines and open rates and see how to actually create content that people will want to read and will remember. So let's get started. Hi there, I'm your host, Simon Harvey. And welcome to the Authentic Marketing Podcast in association with Deia, where we give you actionable advice that will help you create marketing that works as a sales and marketing coach. One of the questions that I get asked more than anything, I think, is whether email is still an effective way to communicate with prospects and leads. And I must say the answer to me is a resounding yes. There's other channels out there I think that may be more effective within certain niches. Things like WhatsApp, we're seeing quite a lot of rise. But, you know, emails are ubiquitous. Everybody has an email address, and I would say everybody checks that address probably at least once per day, if not multiple times per hour in the case of business addresses. The great thing about email, you know, is it's the medium that you can use for marketing. But it's also the thing that everybody uses for personal messages. So today in our conversation with Daniel, what I wanted to do is spread our net a little wider than maybe we go sometimes and look not just at how to send memorable marketing messages or sales messages, but really how to inspire and convince people in everyday emails too. So let's jump over and say hi to Daniel. So, hi there, Daniel. How's things?

Daniel Kleber: 

Hello, Simon. Things are going great. Thank you.

Simon Harvey: 

Good. You've been up too much this week.

Daniel Kleber: 

Yeah, this week I had a lot to do. Yes. But you know, that was the longer weekend.

Simon Harvey: 

Oh yeah, yeah,

Daniel Kleber: 

yeah. So I went down to Lau Brunan and had a great time there.

Simon Harvey: 

Very good. You're still doing your base jumping or?

Daniel Kleber: 

Yes, I am still alive and still doing it,

Simon Harvey: 

so That's good to hear. I always liked that. It's good to have you back here each week. Yeah.. Cool. So, yeah, we've been talking a bit about emails and continue in our sort of general series as to how do I explain myself? You know, how do I explain what I do or how do I tell my story, but in the context of using email this week. So yeah, it's interesting, I mean, we talked in the past about websites, we talked a lot about social and I think email is the next logical thing that a lot of people use, but a lot of people don't think about telling the story and they just think about sending one off emails that just say. Hey, can I help you with this? You know, I'm in the area and I want to book a meeting. You know, can I arrange a meeting for my sales rep or Hey, I'm the local representative for name some big company. Can I book a meeting or Hey, do you need some leads? Can I book a meeting? You know, it always seems to be that sort of thing.

Daniel Kleber: 

Yeah, those come in quite frequently. Yes, I think emails is a pretty interesting topic and also a underestimated topic for a lot of companies. Uh huh.

Simon Harvey: 

Yeah.

Daniel Kleber: 

You know, I think we could straight dive into the topic, Simon. Uh huh. What I wanted to know, Now from you is, if it's better to use a series of emails to tell one bigger story.

Simon Harvey: 

Okay.

Daniel Kleber: 

Or is it better to tell smaller individual stories in each single email?

Simon Harvey: 

Okay, so you mean, Like using a nurture sequence when you're talking about a bigger story or

Daniel Kleber: 

yeah, like you take one story, split it apart into different emails and send a series of emails out that just tell this bigger story or do you take each email on an individual level and tell a One shorter story in every email.

Simon Harvey: 

Okay, I would say it depends and it really depends what you're trying to achieve from that. So let's start with your first case. You know, your series of emails you mentioned, or as I say, I would call it sort of a nurture sequence. So yeah, the idea of those would be, for example, when you want to educate somebody. Um, so maybe you've just reached out to them, they've downloaded your asset or something from the website, or they've just visited your webinar and you want to educate them as to what you do more. In that case, what I would say is don't just send them one email because they'll forget one email. What you want to do is send them five or six emails, and that is the perfect opportunity to really expand your story and tell it across each of those emails. So if you were to do that, what I would recommend is the first of your emails focus on who your customer is and something that they want and the problem, you know, that very typical sort of thing. Then you can talk about how you solve that problem in your second email. And then where we move on slightly, you then get to the sort of the guide section in the brand script. But in here you can actually talk about customers. You can tell about a customer story in there or use some customer quotes in an email. And then carrying on through that, you could use things like sort of calling out problems. So if you know that these are some of the challenges that they have within the industry. You could say, you know, this used to be the situation. This used to be the problem, but it's not anymore. So you could use that sort of approach to say, you know, this is how we're going to solve your problem. You used to think that it was expensive to do this, but it's not with us. We can do it cheaper because. At the end of that sequence, then what I would recommend is you go back to your plan approach and in your last email in that sequence, then you can say, uh, you know, I've told you all about the things that we can do. Let's connect and let's book a meeting and here's, you know, the process for doing that, you know, step number one, book a meeting, step two, uh, we'll get together and I'll give you a, an approach that will work or I'll audit your website or whatever it is that you offer. And then step three. Talk about the transformation. You know, you'll become a better organization. You'll find more customers. You'll be a happier individual, whatever it is that you offer as your transformation.

Daniel Kleber: 

All right, I get it. So you would definitely recommend to not just tell a whole story in one email, but split it into different, various emails where you tell a bigger story.

Simon Harvey: 

I would do for that sort of thing. Yeah, exactly. For those sort of nurture sequences where you're talking to somebody afterwards when they've interacted with you. The other thing that you can do, though, I think there is a case for where you would want to tell a story in an individual email, and that's probably. Once you've gone through that sequence and maybe you're introducing a new product or you're introducing some new capabilities and you're trying to upsell somebody so they already know the big picture of what you're offering in there, but you're trying to cross sell them to something else or upsell them into something else. I think there, there is an opportunity to say, okay, well, you already know the problem that we help you solve. And here's a shortened version of that story or a version of that story specifically for you as a particular type of audience that's slightly different from my normal one. So I think there are cases when you wouldn't want to use everything in a short email, but largely I would say, yeah, Nurture is definitely a good way of telling the whole story though.

Daniel Kleber: 

All right. Okay. So there are also some cases where you want to use the shorter version. That's good. That's interesting. And, um, When you send out an email, the first thing that people can see is the subject line of an email, right?

Simon Harvey: 

Yeah.

Daniel Kleber: 

Now that has big importance because based on that, they will decide if they will open it or not.

Simon Harvey: 

Sure. Yeah.

Daniel Kleber: 

And, uh, now for the subject line itself, would you recommend want Or a problem in the subject line?

Simon Harvey: 

Um, yeah, that's a good question. And I think probably both of those or either of those. We've talked lots before about the idea of the subject line is about grabbing their attention, the same as, you know, we talked about social and the idea of the post is to stop them scrolling. So yeah, I would say probably the want or the problem could go into that subject line, whatever you feel it is that will particularly grab their attention. Or, you know, again, if it's a series of emails. Use both of them at different points. Try them both out.

Daniel Kleber: 

Both in the same email?

Simon Harvey: 

Not in the same email, I wouldn't. No, I would do them in separate emails. Certainly focus on one thing. Focus on the thing that they want or the problem that you're solving.

Daniel Kleber: 

Okay. All right. And um, should every email that I send out start with a problem in the main content?

Simon Harvey: 

Goes back to the previous comment, I think, in there, you know, if you're talking about the problem in the subject and you're talking about the problem, then start with the problem. If you're using a sequence, for example, in there, then no, you don't need to call the problem out every single time, as long as Your reader has some context already, they understand what the problem is because they received an email from you the day before or, you know, they've already got some ideas. So I don't think you need to include the problem every time. No. But what I would recommend is that you basically use the different talking points from your brand script, you know, stay online, stay in track, basically.

Daniel Kleber: 

All right, yeah, that, that makes sense. And, um, now if you send out a nurture sequence, how you call it, Then, uh, it can be hard to like stay consistent right over all of the emails that you send for one nurture sequence. So my question to you, how can I keep my story consistent over a series of emails like that?

Simon Harvey: 

I would say it shouldn't be hard at all. Really. Uh, I'm going back to the previous comments. I mean, you want to use that framework. Basically you've. Created a story and your story consists of a set of key talking points. You know, you've got the point about the problem, the thing that the customer wants in there, your solution, your authority inside that, and then, you know, the transformation and the call to action. You've got a set of steps there or a set of key talking points that are all very, very consistent and worked on together. So I would say if you're sending emails, use those talking points and stay around those. The time that you're going to get lost is when you suddenly get distracted and you suddenly say, Oh yeah, we're launching a new product. You know, let's step away from these things that we've been talking about and go and talk about this new product or something else completely unrelated is going on in the news and you jump off and you talk about something else that's going on in the news. Yeah, I think as long as you're staying within the realms of your. Story framework, then you're going to be consistent.

Daniel Kleber: 

Okay. So you should always stay in that framework and then shouldn't be worried about not being consistent.

Simon Harvey: 

Yeah. You won't have to worry about not being consistent if you're basing your email content on ideas that are coming from those talking points. Yeah.

Daniel Kleber: 

Now, uh, more general question. How do I want to present myself within an email? Should people see directly that this is a branded email from a company, or should I use more of a personal touch?

Simon Harvey: 

Um, I would say to the first part of your question, how do you want to present yourself? You want to present yourself authentically, you know, think about you writing a personal email. To a specific individual, you know, put a name to somebody, think of a particular customer or have somebody in mind when you're writing that email. And as long as you write it, thinking about that person, you're going to write it in an authentic fashion. The other half of the question I think was, should you brand your email or should you use that sort of more personal approach? So by that, I guess you mean just the sort of the text emails, is that right?

Daniel Kleber: 

Yes, exactly.

Simon Harvey: 

In that case, the one thing that I would say is again from experience, if you're trying to reach out authentically, as you sort of say there or present yourself as a sort of a personal message, use a text based email. I would say that the open rates on those and the sort of the click through rates generally tends to be far higher. People see that as being something that's written by an individual. Even if it is automated, they see it as being much more personal in nature than they see these branded emails. And again, what we tend to see is that branded emails come through. They look a little bit like a newsletter and people don't even read the content in those. They've hit the delete button or they've moved on before they even go into the content. Whereas if you've just got text inside there, yeah, people will look through it and spend a bit more time reading it in there. So. Again, from what I've seen, I would recommend typically use those sort of personal email style where you can, and then save the branded emails for things like your, you know, your monthly digest newsletter or for promotional emails or something else where you want to focus more on the brand rather than on just getting across a specific personal message.

Daniel Kleber: 

All right. Well, that sounds fair. Text based emails get more opens, but I can, I can also relate to that. I mean, It directly looks more branded if you can see these big pictures, big banners, you know, when you open an email and yeah, you start to ask yourself more what's in there if it's only text based, no?

Simon Harvey: 

Yeah, exactly. And you know, the whole purpose of this series is how do I explain myself? And if you want to be heard, you want to communicate in the best way that people will understand or interact with. So if you want to explain to them clearly what you do, the best way to do that is to send them something that's text based that they'll read rather than send them something that's highly branded that again, they'll probably skip over. And then they're sort of, yeah, well, what do you do? I don't know. I never actually saw that email. They might've got it, but they just skipped it or hit delete, whatever.

Daniel Kleber: 

So that's interesting. Yeah. Now, all these ideas that we talked about. Would you recommend to use these also in instant messages, such as contacting people on LinkedIn?

Simon Harvey: 

Yeah, I think all of the principles that we've talked about here can apply through LinkedIn or through any of these sort of instant messaging tools, whether you're communicating with people through WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger or whatever in there. There's a few things to think about. So particularly on LinkedIn, if you're sending a connect message, so that's the first message that you send when you want to try and connect to a contact. You've got a certain limit of characters inside there. So you've only got a couple of hundred characters that you can put in. Uh, in that case, again, Back to my standard thing, focus on the want or the problem in there. You know, you can talk about the fact that, Hey, I help people to solve this problem. I'd be interested in sharing my thoughts and advice with you. Are you open to connect? Or I know that people in your region want consultants to help them with something or want extra leads or want, you know, something specific. So talk about that in there. And can you connect? The thing that I would say, uh, will be very careful of again, the one off putting thing that I get as soon as people connect with me on LinkedIn. You know, I love to actually get people connecting, love to share information with them. But the thing that annoys me most is when somebody sends me a good looking sort of connect message, I connect with them. And then the first thing that they then do afterwards is say, Hey, I'm a sales rep in your area. Can I book a meeting with you? You know, that's the instant turn off. And that's the first thing that will get me to disconnect with them. Again, if you want to just carry on with the sequence, be or rather add value to them in the conversation. So going back to your nurture, Conversation earlier with the emails, you could use a similar approach with your personal messages in there and send them two or three LinkedIn messages that add value to them without necessarily going in on the hard sell and hey, book a meeting with me straight away. Cause that's the thing that will put people off. You've got to think a little bit longer term sometimes with some of these platforms.

Daniel Kleber: 

So it's kind of similar, like asking a girl out online, huh?

Simon Harvey: 

Yeah, maybe you probably got more experience of that than me.

Daniel Kleber: 

You don't want to just rush to the point and say like, Hey, would you want to go out with me? You want to first start a conversation and get to know her a little bit?

Simon Harvey: 

Yeah

Daniel Kleber: 

before rushing things right and uh, it's kind of the same thing.

Simon Harvey: 

It's exactly the same thing Yeah, you want to go out for a drink or go out for dinner or to the cinema or whatever you guys do these days Yeah Yeah, before you sort of get round to the point of saying, Hey, yeah, do you want to go out or whatever? Yeah. So no, I think it's exactly the same thing in there. You think about it from that perspective and you can't go far wrong. We're all people at the end of the day and we all like to be treated similarly, even if the circumstances are different.

Daniel Kleber: 

All right. Thank you very much for all the information, Simon. As always, it was a pleasure for me. Yeah, I hope to see you next time again.

Simon Harvey: 

Yeah, good stuff. Look forward to catching up again, uh, in a couple of weeks as well. Sounds good. Take care, Daniel. See ya. Bye for now.

Daniel Kleber: 

Take care.

Simon Harvey: 

Thanks as always, Daniel. It's great to have you here. I think the thing to remember is really that when you're creating content for any email, you need to make sure that you're positioning your customer or the person that you're writing to as the hero. So often I see emails that start off. Talking about the service that somebody is going to deliver me or how they're going to help me to do something. You know, how many new leads they're going to generate me or what a great website they're going to create for me. The thing is if you start your email by talking about the services that you offer or just telling them how you're going to improve their lives, what you're actually doing is you're positioning yourself as the hero and that's when people tune out. You need to position yourself as the guide and your customer as the hero. So So if you're struggling to connect with people through email and failing to get replies, why not join my authentic engagement coaching group? You can go to wantauthentic. com and there you'll find me and a group of other like minded small business owners all helping each other out and helping each other to inspire and grow our businesses. So it's time for you to do something now. In each episode, I give you an actionable step that you can take to improve your own sales and marketing. And today, what I want you to do is to take a look over the last few emails that you've sent. They can be to a prospect, to an existing customer, it doesn't really matter. You know, they may be personal, one to one emails. Or you might choose to take a look at some recent marketing emails that you've sent. They could be quite inspiring. And what I want you to do is to just read them through and see whether you're telling a story. You know, are you talking about a problem that you know that your customer has? Are you doing that fateful thing as positioning yourself as the hero? Or actually, are you positioning yourself as the guide and not the hero? And then, you know, do you have a clear plan? Do you give them a clear call to action and a clear next step to take? As always, you can reach out to me directly if you've got any questions, or you can join me in my coaching group as I said earlier. I'd love to speak to you and get to know you a little bit better. So, that's all for today's episode of the Authentic Marketing Podcast. Thanks for listening, and if this is your first time joining us, don't forget to bookmark the podcast. And if you found this episode helpful, The most valuable thing that you can do is to share it with someone else that you know who runs their own company. You know, if you found something useful in here, then they will do too. As founders of small businesses and startups, you know, we need to help each other. Thanks for listening, take care, and I look forward to seeing you next time.