Understanding Email Copywriting Formulae That Convert

Copywriting is an art, and just like every other art, writing an awesome copy also works on some secret tricks and formula. You have to be creative enough to be a copywriter, but there are certain frameworks that can help you draft more effective emails that convert. To learn more about email copywriting, we got in touch with Joshua Earl, who is an email marketing specialist with extensive knowledge on writing entertaining, educational emails loved by subscribers.
Let’s assimilate the insights into copywriting formulae to write better emails from the expert himself.
What are the different formats of email copywriting?
There are basically three different formats or formulas that can be used for emails and they can be used differently depending on the type of campaign.
1. The first one is the story lesson pitch. It typically means that the email opens with a story. It could be a movie reference or a recent personal incident.
Let me give you an example of a story that I used recently. The client’s target audience comprised of loan officers—who write mortgages to people. They hated a certain real estate company because it had found a way to twist their arms and make them pay money (upto USD 4000 per month) for customer leads that they used to get for free. This was a huge pain point. So, I interviewed a guy who narrated his story. The target audience knows the story already and understand what that real estate company did. But by reiterating this story and forcing them to relive it, they get furious all over again. That’s the kind of emotional impact it leaves on the readers. The story could be funny, sad or about anything that could trigger some kind of emotion in the reader.
Writing engaging stories
Research is the key to writing good stories. It also depends on how accessible your customers are. If the people you’re writing for, are not tech savvy, you can interview them to know more about them. On the other hand, if your market hangs out on Facebook or Twitter or on different forums you can go and learn about their interests and challenges. These forums even allow you to sort by the thread count and display the longest threads to get information about the hot buttons. You can go to the industry sites and go through the popular articles. Look for recurring themes in the types of articles they publish. Another story I wrote for loan officers was taken from the movie – Pirates of the Caribbean. I talked about how sites like bankrate.com will pirate your leads.
I talked about Captain Jack Sparrow and then put forward my point in the form of a lesson. It might be one liner or a couple of short paragraphs where you can pull out the “WHY” of the story. The pitch is usually just a pretty straightforward call to action that connects the lesson to something that you are offering. You can find fragments of stories in your everyday life and then build a connection in your email.
A positive angle for a story could be talking about a guy who gets two leads a month and then he executed a couple of strategies. And now he’s getting 10 leads. It shows new opportunities to the reader. The really nice thing about email is that you can come back over and over and hit from different angles all the time and you never know which is going to be the one that unlocks the door for a particular person.
Since stories always have a tinge of entertainment to it, they work the best for content email where you want to keep the reader engaged and make them look forward to the next email.
2. The next copywriting formula is the Problem Agitation Solution (PAS) formula. It is the one in which you start by calling out some specific problem and then dig in. You twist a knife and unpack the problem and show them all the different ramifications of the problem and how it’s worse than they even thought it was. At the end, it talks about a solution.
This formula works well when you have a specific offer to announce to your email subscribers. An example of this is an email written for interviewing products for software developers whose basic problem was whiteboard coding interviews where you have to get up there and they throw hard problems at you and you have to try to solve the problem on the spot. Two-thirds of the email could talk about the problem and unpack it, followed by relieving that stress. At the end, you could present your product and talk about how it solves the problem. These are longer emails as they mostly talk about your product in detail.
3. The last one comprises of the reminder emails that are sent after an offer.
They are about reminding them about some kind of deadline about the expiring offer and trying to stimulate that fear of missing out. They are most effective when the message fits on a single screen.
For example: If you are launching a product, the first email out of the gate will be problem-agitate-solve, and as mentioned previously it is going to be a longer email. It’s similar to a condensed sales page, that hits on the main problem and provides its solution by showcasing your product. . The next step is to send a series of content emails to keep the offer in front of them without being too obnoxious. It’s more about sharing a story rather than sending a sales pitch and coming off as a pushy salesperson.
This would make the subscriber read the emails even if they aren’t interested in the product. Subsequently, you can send few short reminder emails at the end as the deadline’s approaching. These shorter emails that reflect urgency bring in the maximum sales. In addition to having a deadline, you can even incentivize your prospect with a bonus or discount depending on the market.
Just make sure you do not stretch the offer too long as it might take urgency out of it.
Don’t be afraid to send a good amount of emails. You can send one or two a day at a minimum for a few days, and then go on to three to five emails on the last day.
You can keep track of the email metrics like unsubscribes and if there’s a huge spike, you can reconsider the tactic, but usually it doesn’t get that far.
If you’re developing a new product and you’ve got an existing audience, then it makes sense to talk about it as you’re developing. That’s prelaunch stuff worth trying out.
How to write lead nurture email copy?
The best approach to take while writing lead nurturing email copy is to share a story. It makes the email less salesy for the reader and more enjoyable. Many marketers believe that whenever someone signs up for their newsletter or sales funnel, they should continue to nurture the prospect for weeks together before making an offer. That’s a big mistake.
If you have a group of potential customers who are ready to make a purchase, give them the opportunity to do that by highlighting an offer. Do that and then take the nurture mode again. You can periodically showcase the offer to see if the prospects are ready to buy.
Here’s Chet Holmes pyramid that can help you understand the buyer readiness, according to which only 3% of your prospects are buying now, 6-7% are open to it, 30% are not even thinking about it. 30% don’t think they are interested, and 30% know that they are not interested.

This means that the 10% prospects at the tip of the pyramid are most likely to purchase from you.
Lead nurturing emails provide a great scaffold to share stories that directly relate to the problems of the customers. You can even provide answers to the frequently asked questions and showcase customer testimonials or success stories. Testimonials work well because more often than not, the customer will say things about you that you might not say about yourself.
Your nurture emails should talk about the customers’ questions and problems rather than bragging about yourself.
For example: Lead nurturing emails of an email marketing agency can be a story about a client who screwed up their template and ended up damaging their deliverability. Such emails can let the users know about your expertise and make the email an interesting story.
How many nurture emails should one send?
Dean Jackson did some really good research on the buying pattern of customers. He found that 5-10% will buy within the first 60 days, another 40 to 50% will buy within the next two years. Based on this research, it is quite clear that you cannot put a limit on the number of nurturing emails. Sending lead nurturing emails is a filtering process, which means that the prospects who are not interested in your offerings will unsubscribe… But you can always nurture the subscribers who are still on the list.
Can you share some tips on reengagement emails?
In every list, there’s always a big chunk of people who never open a single email. To pull them out of dormancy, you can send a short reengagement campaign—a series of 3 emails with vague or alarming subject lines that talk about account deactivation or deletion. In addition to focusing on the most active people, you can pick up the inactive subscribers from the list and try to reactivate them with these emails every once in a while.
Dean Jackson shares a nine-word email template that can help you revive dead leads. It asks the subscriber whether they are still interested in topic.
Take a look at these examples:

Are you still looking for a house in Seattle?
Are you still interested in learning Zumba?
Are you still interested in going to Thailand?
Are you still running an Instagram ad?

You can even try something like: “Have you given up on this just yet”.
What is the ideal length of an email?
Considering the purpose of the email, there are three different lengths you can choose.
A cold email or a reminder email has to be shorter in length with less than 100-150 words. It should be written in such a way that the reader can read the full content on a single screen even on an iPhone.
While sending a story lesson pitch, you should write 300-500 words. You can keep the email focused and tell an interesting story without cutting down too many details. Make sure, your emails do not come off as a rant.
The product launch or offer emails can reach up to 1000-1500 words, out of which 700 words can talk about the problem and agitating the problem. The second half could include bullet points that let the subscriber know about the offer and its deadline.
How should your email CTA be?
An effective CTA is more about the actual offer rather than the copy. You can even put a bare link as a CTA. Generally, CTAs should be placed at the bottom of the email unless it’s a reminder email. It is important to realize that you are not selling a click, but a product. If your CTA (placed at the top) gets clicked but the product or offer is not engaging enough, you will have no conversion.
Summing it up
The bottom line of writing copy that works is to understand the pain points of your customers. Knowing the challenges of the customers and addressing the issues with your email will surely help you to draft a winning email copy that brings maximum conversions.

Google’s NEW Gallery Ads: Everything You Need to Know

Pop quiz, y’all: Which Google Ads network enables you to build your brand with compelling visual imagery—search or display?
Trick question! Although the Display Network is generally considered the hub of visual-based advertising in the Google Ads universe—I’m conveniently disregarding Shopping for the moment—this year’s Google Marketing Live keynote included the announcement of gallery ads.

Whether you’re aiming to drive sales or generate leads, gallery ads—by combining the intent of search with the creative of display—are poised to deliver some serious returns for your business once they fully roll out later this year.
So let’s dive deeper. By the end of this blog post, you’ll know:

What gallery ads are
What they’re designed to accomplish
Who can benefit from using them
Why you should be excited about them

What are gallery ads?
Introduced by Google’s own Sissie Hsiao, VP of Product Management in the Mobile App Advertising department, gallery ads are interactive ads that sit at the top of the mobile SERP. Underneath a standard text headline and a display URL, they feature swipeable image carousels—much like the ones users often see in their Facebook and Instagram feeds.

Via Google.
In addition to the ad’s headline, each individual image is accompanied by a tagline. The headline (which, as always, directs people to your landing page) remains at the top of the screen as the user swipes through your carousel. You can include a minimum of four images and a maximum of eight, and each tagline caps at 70 characters. Best of all, because you’re allowed to write up to three unique headlines, you can test all kinds of combinations of different value propositions and CTAs.
As far as performance goes, early testing shows that gallery ads drive 25% more engagement (as measured by clicks and swipes) than standard text ads do.
What are gallery ads designed to accomplish?
In short: to more effectively communicate the value of your business.
People—smartphone users in particular—turn to Google for information. When we have problems or desires, we use Google to learn more about the products and services that can help us. Whether you’re a hungover college kid looking for the best breakfast sandwich in town or an overworked business owner searching for an online advertising management software, it’s more than likely that you’re consulting Google for help.
As marketers, we buy real estate on the SERP so we can be there to offer solutions to our prospects. The key to driving returns on that ad spend, of course, is communicating the value our products and services can deliver.
Alone, words are pretty good at communicating value. Paired with images, they’re even better.

Take another look at that Devour ad and imagine the image has been replaced with a description. Although it certainly wouldn’t be a bad ad, it wouldn’t be nearly as effective. Why? Because the image of cajun-style alfredo with chicken and sausage does a really good job of letting people know our products taste great and satisfy your hunger.
This applies throughout the marketing funnel, too. If you saw that Devour ad at the very beginning of your customer journey, it would probably leave a strong impression on you. If you saw it near the end of your customer journey, the enticing pictures might be enough to close the deal.
Now that we know what gallery ads are meant to accomplish, let’s talk about who they’re meant to accomplish it for.
Who can benefit from using gallery ads?
Although my knee-jerk reaction was that gallery ads were designed with consumer brands in mind, I’m confident both B2C and B2B companies can make effective use of them. Let’s start with B2C. Restaurants, gyms, hotels, car dealers, travel agencies, spas—if you sell something that lends itself naturally to visual images, you should give gallery ads a shot. With the ability to showcase several products, services, or experiences—or several features of a particular product, service, or experience—within a single ad, you can make a seriously persuasive pitch.
(I’m hesitant to mention ecommerce businesses. Product-oriented search queries will almost always trigger Shopping ads, which, as we know, dominate mobile phone screens.)
As an example, let’s say you work for a travel agency and you’re advertising Caribbean resorts. In order to drive high-funnel mobile traffic to your website, you could create an ad group with a couple gallery ads and keywords along the lines of “tropical vacation,” “Caribbean destinations,” and “Dominican resorts.” How could a prospective traveler looking for inspiration resist a carousel of your best offerings? Sure—they’re far from converting. But that’s a hell of a way to make a first impression.

This is a great ad, but picture it with images of Punta Cana resorts …
Let’s move on to B2B—the less obvious benefactors of gallery ads. If you’re selling a software solution or digital marketing services, it probably doesn’t seem like you have anything to gain from an image-heavy ad format. I tend to disagree. Rather than thinking in terms of products or services, think instead in terms of processes. Gallery ads present an awesome opportunity to illustrate the victories you enable your customers to achieve.
For example, imagine you’re in charge of the paid search efforts at a SaaS company that helps small businesses build landing pages for their ad campaigns. As impeccable and intuitive as your UI may be, screenshots of it probably won’t make for the most appealing ad. Alternatively, illustrated representations of the different benefits you provide—better Quality Scores, higher conversion rates, lower CPA—could go a long way towards communicating the value of your product and branding your business as a friendly resource.
Whether you’re in B2C or B2B, you still may not be sold on gallery ads. Let’s chip away at that skepticism.
Why should you be excited about gallery ads?
Let’s shift from marketing to neuroscience for a moment. Take a look at these six statistics:

The human brain processes imagery 60,000 times faster than text.
People form first impressions within 50 milliseconds …
… and process images in 13 milliseconds.
Consumers are more likely to retain content that incorporates visual imagery.
55% of millennials say visuals are the most important part of shopping on mobile.
People remember 80% of what they see vs. 20% of what they read.

Quite simply, gallery ads are promising because imagery is harder-hitting and more memorable than plain text. Forget about making a lasting impression on your prospects; with a standard text ad, you may not be making any impression at all. Get some visuals in the mix, however, and you have a better chance of grabbing attention and capturing mindshare.
Let’s shift back to marketing. The other reason you should feel confident about gallery ads is that a similar concept—the carousel ad—has proven to work on Facebook and Instagram. Take Designs by Juju, for example—a company of 12 people that sells embroidery designs. With a Facebook Ads campaign spearheaded by carousel ads, they achieved a 16x improvement in ROAS and exceeded their cost per purchase goal by a mile. Elsewhere, beach lifestyle brand City Beach used carousel ads to drive a 52% increase in ROAS and a 50% decrease in CPA.

Via Facebook.
Evidently, consumers respond to ads with swipeable image galleries. True—they use social media and search engines with completely different mindsets. But, then again, why wouldn’t the higher commercial intent of search amplify their interest?
Adopt gallery ads early!
In the increasingly competitive and saturated digital marketing landscape, it pays to get in on the next big thing early. Start creating gallery ads as soon as they’re available to you. The earlier you are, the greater the advantage you’ll hold over your competition. The worst case scenario is that they’re not as effective as you’d like them to be. If that’s how it pans out, you can always pause them and re-evaluate. Getting in early poses little risk but offers huge rewards. Although getting in late isn’t risky, per se, it’s certainly not rewarding, either. Good luck!

Canadian billionaire at centre of bizarre Mafia and fraud accusations after failed Caribbean casino deal

Glenn Lowson/NP/Files
Glenn Lowson/NP/FilesBillionaire Michael DeGroote is accused of consorting with mobster Vito Rizzuto.

A bitter dispute over a US$112-million investment in Caribbean casinos has placed Michael DeGroote, one of Canada’s wealthiest businessmen, at the centre of bizarre accusations of Mafia exploitation, death threats and fraud.

Mr. DeGroote, 81 — hailed as a self-made billionaire who was awarded the Order of Canada and has faculties at Hamilton’s McMaster University named after him in recognition of vast donations — is embroiled in a series of ongoing civil lawsuits with former partners after financing Caribbean gambling enterprises.

Dream Corporation Inc.’s adventure began in 2011. Three men were at the helm: Francesco and Antonio Carbone, two businessman brothers from Woodbridge, Ont., who jointly held 85%; and Andrew Pajak, who owed 15%.

They arranged financing from Mr. DeGroote to secure 10 casino locations but their deal soon stumbled. Suspicions and arguments between the partners began less than a year into their venture.

By the time civil lawsuits were filed in Ontario, a widening circle of players had found their way into the business.

It featured Peter Shoniker, a disbarred Toronto lawyer previously convicted of money laundering; a man who has several passports from different countries in different names; and various mobsters, including Vito Rizzuto, who, until his death three months after he strolled through Dream’s flagship casino in the Dominican Republic, was the top Mafia boss in Montreal.

In hindsight, Mr. DeGroot “regrets and is embarrassed by his decisions to have made loans in relation to this project,” said William McDowell, a Toronto lawyer acting on Mr. DeGroote’s behalf.

“The court decisions reflect that Mr. DeGroote has been targeted by a series of unscrupulous people. He has been the victim of wrongdoing at every stage of this matter,” he said.


But the Carbones cast themselves as victims. Finger pointing continues over missing money, corporate records and control of the company. There are lawsuits between the Carbones and Mr. Pajak, between the Carbones and Mr. DeGroote, and between Mr. DeGroote and Mr. Prajak.

Many involved have complicated loyalty.

Mr. Pajak is a longtime acquaintance of both the Carbones and Mr. DeGroote and Mr. Shoniker also appears to have been friends or associates of both.

Mr. DeGroote was then introduced by Mr. Shoniker to a man who gave his name as Alex Visser, although he goes by many names.

In a suite at Toronto’s Ritz-Carlton on May 11, 2013, the meeting was secretly recorded by Mr. Visser, apparently without Mr. DeGroote’s or Mr. Shoniker’s knowledge. The recording was entered into court as part of a lawsuit and has been obtained by the National Post.

“You know a good judge of character?” Mr. Visser asked Mr. DeGroote, the recording says.

“I hope so,” replied the businessman.

‘I am going to go to war for you’

Mr. Visser then said he would go to the Dominican and bring back evidence from people that would bolster his lawsuit against the Carbones in return for $500,000.

“Look me in the eyes,” Mr. Visser said, “that’s what I am going to bring you… I am going to go to war for you … I am going to make sure that the Carbones can’t even sell chestnuts on the corner of the f—ing street.”

“Well,” replied Mr. DeGroote, “hopefully they’ll be in jail by then.”

The conversation swayed back and forth between offers and promises.

“I cannot buy evidence,” Mr. DeGroote replied on the recording. But he then haggled to pay Mr. Visser half the amount and said he would have to check with his lawyers.

Justice Frank Newbould gave Mr. DeGroote the benefit of the doubt.

“There is evidence, which Mr. DeGroote acknowledges, that he spoke to someone about obtaining evidence and paying the deponents for the evidence… he says he asked the person he was dealing with, a disbarred lawyer whom the Carbones had earlier hired, if that would be legal,” Judge Newbould wrote in a ruling. “He was told probably not. He then obtained advice from a Bermuda lawyer that it would be illegal and he then said he was not going to follow through with it. He acknowledges that he should not have started down that road.”

Judge Newbould ruled that Mr. DeGroote “established a strong case in fraud,” but without the company’s books and further investigation, by whom remained a question.

In an Oct. 29, 2014, interim ruling in a related claim, Justice Stephen Firestone deemed the unedited audiotapes to be “not reliable and should not be admitted” as evidence.

The Montreal Gazette / Phil Carpenter

The Montreal Gazette / Phil CarpenterVito Rizzuto in 2004. The reputed head of the Montreal Mafia died in 2013.

Meanwhile, the Carbones alleged they were victims of conspiracy and a sabotage campaign and told court their safety was at risk. Their casino business certainly got rocky. But they had faced trouble before.

In 2009, their cigar business was raided in a tobacco tax probe and two loaded firearms were found by police. The brothers said they had been “seriously threatened” and the Crown accepted the guns were not “for any nefarious purpose.” They pleaded guilty to possessing prohibited firearms and ammunition and received 60 days in jail. The man who posted their surety while on bail was Mr. Prajak, who told court he had known them for 18 years.

Their friendship did not survive the Dream debacle.

“It is quite evident that Mr. Pajak and the Carbone defendants have had a falling out,” said Judge Newbould, “and there are allegations going every which way.”

Secretly recorded conversations purporting to be of Mr. Pajak suggest the depths of animosity: The man says he wants to “put a f—ing gun right down their mouths.”

‘These events demonstrate that a lifetime of financial success and philanthropy does not provide a safeguard from becoming victim of fraud’

Robert Trifts, lawyer from Mr. Pajak, declined to discuss the details of the case.

“We don’t have any comments about that. My client will be litigating his case in the courtroom and not in the newspapers,” said Mr. Trifts. He said any secret recordings filed in court have not been accepted as evidence.

“They’re a distraction from the issue that there’s a whole lot of money that’s missing,” he said.

Mr. Visser — also known as Zeljko Zderic, under which he has amassed a significant criminal record, and Sash Vujacic, under which he has a Canadian passport — did travel to the Dominican Republic soon after his meeting with Mr. DeGroote.

There he started making decisions about the casino operation, as if he was the manager. (Mr. Visser could not be reached for comment.)

It caused turmoil within the operation. Working with Mr. Visser was Gianpietro Tiberio, a Quebec man named as a Montreal Mafia figure by the RCMP at Charbonneau commission into corruption.

Not long after, Mr. Visser is seen on casino security footage strolling through Dream casino with Mr. Rizzuto, Montreal’s powerful Mafia boss who, 10 months before, had been released from a U.S. prison for his role in three gangland murders.

Antonio Carbone said it was around this time that he was threatened by gangsters to walk away from Dream.

“[An] individual told me that Vito Rizzuto was in Toronto and he needed to speak to me urgently,” he reportedly told CBC in an interview.

“He was brought in to intimidate us … Vito Rizzuto presented himself and told me to walk away, or else.”

Mr. Rizzuto was not acting on Mr. DeGroote’s behalf, according to his lawyer.

“He has never been in business with him, he has no association with him, he’s never met him,” said Mr. McDowell on Mr. DeGroote’s behalf.

“As we all know, there are many unscrupulous people who prey on the generosity of retired Canadians. These events demonstrate that a lifetime of financial success and philanthropy does not provide a safeguard from becoming victim of fraud.”

Meanwhile, the civil dispute continues in court. Most of the key people involved in the bizarre case have now been drawn into court actions. Except for Mr. Rizzuto, who died unexpectedly of natural causes on Dec. 23, 2013.

National Post

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