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How I decide on the right angle for an email
👉 especially if it's more of a salesy email...
Today’s burning question is a really interesting one from Marta. And I suspect one that will help anyone trying to sell in their emails without the email just becoming a sales pitch.
Marta’s question is:
How do you decide which angle to use to write an email, especially if it’s more of a salesly email and your goal is to convert?
Sometimes I struggle to decide as I feel more than one option could be suitable, and I wonder if there is a method you follow when picking (or am I overthinking this).
My initial reaction was to say I just go with what feels right. But thinking a bit more deeply about it, there’s actually a kind of logic going on behind the scenes.
The first thing to say is that ideally, you’ll be writing a series of emails to promote something rather than a one-off. That then gives you more chance to hit whatever the key hot buttons are in different emails rather than only having one shot at it.
But when it comes to an individual email, the first thing on my mind is how mature the market for the thing I want to promote is. Specifically how mature my audience is in terms of their awareness of the kind of problems the product solves.
For example, if I’m talking about something that might solve a problem they’re not actually aware of, then the first goal of my emails is going to be to raise awareness that they might actually have this issue.
So the angle of the email will be quite problem-focused.
It could be a “do you make these mistakes?” type email. Or maybe an email where I call out a commonly held belief or “best practice” as being wrong. Or if the thing I’m talking about is quite new, the angle of the email may be to talk about a big new trend that relates to the issue.
Basically, the goal is to raise awareness of a problem or opportunity my readers might have that they’re not aware of. Because if they don’t think they have a problem there’s no point trying to offer them a solution.
If I think that most of my readers will be aware of the problem, but there aren’t a lot of well-worn solutions out there then the angle I take will probably be quite straightforward. Perhaps a how-to guide or a listicle with tips. The call to action in this case will be to offer a solution that goes into more step-by-step detail (like an online course) or offers personal support (like coaching).
If I think most people will not only be aware of the problem but have heard the basic solutions before and are probably aware of alternative offerings from competitors then my goal becomes to try to differentiate myself through the email (while providing value, of course).
So in this case I might write an email where I talk about my personal experience solving the problem for myself. Or it might be an email about a client I worked with to solve the problem for them. The idea here is to establish my credibility as someone who has done this in practice, not just in theory.
I might also try a “secrets revealed” type email where I show readers how most of the common solutions people talk about don’t actually work and actually there’s a different and little-known approach that does. This would work particularly well in a very mature or saturated market where clients have probably tried to fix the problem before and failed - so you need to show them that your approach is different to anything they’ve tried before.
I might also think about any objections I’ve regularly heard. For example if people often say “yeah, I’ve heard about that but it wouldn’t work in accounting” (or whatever niche you work in) then I’d try to showcase what I did with a client in that particular sector and how they solved the problem.
In essence, you’re thinking “for the majority of my readers, what’s the biggest thing likely to hold them back from buying” and then using an angle for your email that lets you touch on that point.
You don’t attack it head-on, of course.
No one wants an email saying “hey you, you have this problem but you don’t know about it” or “you should work with Ian because his ideas are different to what you’ve tried before”.
Instead, you deliver value first with useful ideas in your email, but illustrate it with a story or case study that lets them infer the point you want to make.
Truthfully, I don’t do all that thinking every time.
In fact, I don’t do it most of the time.
If I’m launching a new product or writing an evergreen email sequence that a lot of potential customers will go through then it’s absolutely worth doing.
But if it’s late on a Saturday night and I need to get Sunday’s email banged out, it’s probably not going to happen. I’ll think for a few minutes about what story to use to illustrate a point and then try to link to any call to action naturally at the end of the email.
I’ll have these concepts in the back of my head, but I won’t spend ages trying to find the perfect story that maximises my chance of converting.
Because there’s always another email.
As long as this email is useful and interesting, people will stay tuned for the next and the next.
Plenty more chances to hit them at the right time with a message that resonates.
So I’m fairly relaxed about it.
Today’s email is a good case in point.
When I wrote the email I was 100% focused on answering Marta’s question in the best way possible rather than trying to build in any cleverness to lead you closer to being ready to buy something from me.
In fact, it was only after sending myself a test email that I thought “hang on, Email Angles is one of the things I cover in my Effective & Engaging Newsletters course. Perhaps I ought to mention that…”
So I am :)
The course isn’t officially launched yet - that’s why there’s no fancy sales page telling you how it makes it super easy to come up with brilliant ideas for emails and gives you hassle-free ways to write them and get more people to buy from them.
And that’s why it’s just £97 (+VAT in the UK) right now - the price will shoot up when it’s officially launched.
So if you want to jump in and get started right away, just click the link below. You’ll get immediate access to the full course plus the new fast start module I’m working on when it’s done.