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Tommy van Rheeden

#001 - The Cobbler

Today, let’s talk about email copy. Perhaps the most fun, creative copy to write of all.

Specifically, let’s talk about the ‘correlation email’, which are story-based emails that help you build the relationship with your audience.

Here's how it works.

Correlation Emails

With a correlation email you start off with telling a seemingly random story and find a way to relate it to the thing you’re selling. The story acts both as the hook (to get people interested in reading) as well as the set up to highlight some beneficial aspect of the product or service you’re providing.

Here’s an example of the general structure:

1 - I’m writing this from my hospital bed as I just had a crash with my motorcycle. (intrigue)
2 - The doctors told me that if it weren’t for my helmet, I would’ve died. (more intrigue)
3 - It made me realize the importance of safety measures. (key takeaway)
4 - That’s why our company has built a better Two Factor Authentication App, so you’ll never have to worry about getting hacked (relate the story and the key insight to your product)
5 - [Optional] Here’s where you can start your free trial. Use discount code "bike crash" to get 20% off today. (CTA)

The story itself could be almost anything, ranging from personal experience to something you’ve read in the news, a recent science finding, tv shows, etc. It’s also not required to live an adventurous, swashbuckling life (although it helps). To come up with ideas, do like any creative does and learn how to observe society. News, trends, culture, people, anything really.

While most correlation emails end with a call to action (e.g. a link to a sales page) it’s not always advised. If you have a lower-ticket item, something more prone to quick/impulsive purchasing decisions, you could certainly end the email with a convincing CTA.

But if you’re selling a higher-ticket item (as you’ll see in the example) a correlation email can be part of a larger email sequence, and can just be used to build a relationship with your readers and to convey some beneficial aspect of the thing you’ll end up selling them later on.

Who should use correlation emails?

They’re primarily for personality-driven businesses (think coaches, entrepreneurs, creators, etc). It should be a person telling the story. Brands don’t tell anecdotes. When’s the last time a brand had a motorcycle accident?

Teardown #001: Billy Broas - The Cobbler

Let’s dive into today’s teardown. A short, sweet, classic correlation email. Billy Broas is a marketing strategist, working with people like David Perell and Tiago Forte. He sells high-ticket, longer-term strategic marketing consulting services.

This email is part of a longer sequence, and its goal is to convey an important feature of working together with Billy: “You’re in good hands with me. I got this.” I'm the expert, I know what I'm doing, and we'll get to where you want to be.

Providing psychological value is a very underrated aspect of consulting services. It’s not just about the bottom line for most entrepreneurs. Many are just as much driven by a desire to get rid of their confusion and anxiety as they are by the desire to grow their business.

Running a business is often a stressful affair. If you, as the consultant, can make their lives easier as well as more profitable, they’ll love you for it.

Read the teardown below. Can you recognize the simple structure I outlined above?

Alright, that was the first teardown. Thanks for reading! This is a new thing, so any feedback is very welcome. I'm on Twitter.

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See you next week,


Few are able to break down copywriting in such detail as Tommy. I learn something valuable every week.
Alex Azoury
This newsletter is my favourite way to keep improving my copywriting chops.
Jesse Hanley
Founder, Bento