Email secrets stolen from the Slow Horses
👉 be like Jackson Lamb?
Kathy and I are binge-watching series 3 of Slow Horses at the moment.
If you’ve not watched it, it’s Gary Oldman at his repellant best playing Jackson Lamb, the brilliant but slobbish head of Slough House. the place MI5 agents who’ve bungled a mission go to live out a dull, paper-pushing existence.
Yet somehow they end up at the centre of the biggest threats to national security and manage to solve them.
These are some of the most flawed “heroes” on TV. Especially Lamb himself. And yet we’re rooting for them against all odds - much more so than a Bond or a Bourne.
And there’s a huge email marketing lesson in there for all of us.
In the majority of emails and newsletters I see, the writer talks about their amazing successes. The huge amount of money their latest campaign brought in. The brilliant decisions they made. How they empowered their teams or saved their client’s bacon.
No flaws. Just virtues.
Or they’re faceless. It’s just tips and ideas with no personality.
No one to root for.
No one to relate to.
It’s an easy trap to fall into. For my first couple of dozen emails I played the “all-knowing expert” role. I thought if I shared the very best ideas and tips I had people would see me as an authority and want to work with me.
And it worked - to some degree.
But I never really formed a connection with people. I got almost no replies to my emails - and it’s replies that allow you to spark up conversations and go deeper.
That changed when I ran out of ideas and was forced into sending my first story-based email where I talked about a problem I’d been procrastinating over and how Kathy kick-started me into action to work on it (ie she sighed at my uselessness and asked “are we actually going to do this?”).
I thought my readers would hate it as there was only a simple lesson about grasping the nettle in there. No huge insights into leading-edge marketing.
But it got the best response I’d ever had. People replying to tell me they were in the exact same situation with a problem they had. How it had inspired them to finally take action.
Suddenly I’d become human. A normal person just like them who happened to have some good ideas about marketing - not some pseudo-guru talking down to them.
My flaws made me interesting. Relateable. Root-for-able.
All because - out of necessity - I was forced to open up and share a bit more of a personal story where I wasn’t all conquering.
I’m going to suggest you look back at your recent emails and think about the persona you’re portraying.
Are you hiding your real self? Covering up your flaws and quirks in an effort to seem credible?
My experience is that it backfires. You end up not relating to your audience.
I’m not saying you should go full Jackson Lamb. But be more human. Be more you.
Your audience will connect better with you. Your emails will be more interesting. Your tips and ideas will land better.
You’ll get more clients as a result.
How do you be more you in emails?
Tell stories. Admit your mistakes. Draw wacky analogies with your favourite TV shows.
I show you exactly how in the Effective & Engaging Email Newsletter course. You can find out more and sign up here.
PS You can catch me talking about how to come up with great ideas for emails, how to write interesting, engaging emails that gently persuade, and how to actually enjoy email marketing on Melitta Campbell’s excellent podcast. Click here to listen.