Here’s the email we’re going to break down today.

This an important email, and it’s easy to screw it up.

Email 1 – The Welcome Email, had a link to their freebie in it.

Email 3 – The How It Works email, has a pitch for our product and a revelation about what your reader should be doing.

This is a bridge between the two.

It needs to offer some real value, an insight tat they’ve not noticed themselves, and it needs to tear down some common myths in your industry.

Remember the end of the One Sentence Persuasion Course?

“…throw rocks at their enemies.”

This is what we’re doing today, and it might create some enemies. You need to be ok with that.

What I’m doing in this one is taking the old idea – “You need to give mountains of stuff away for free to build trust and reciprocity”

and I’m building a new idea – “Selling something is the quickest way to deliver value and create change”

Like Thomas Watson Sr, President of IBM in its heyday said:

Nothing happens until a sale is made.”

I’m not going to attack the old idea directly though. That’s not how you persuade people.

If you attack someone’s beliefs directly they’ll just put up walls and you’ll find it even harder to move them.

It’s better to attack its foundation. Show why the people pushing the old idea aren’t  reliable.

Now, this email in itself tells you how to do that, so it’s worth a read on its own, but this breakdown is what’s going on with the steps inside it.

OK, so here we go…

(1) We’re going to start off with a little bit of about how they have been told the market works.

You can remind them of your origin story here and tell them how you believed the “old way” and its consequences.

(2) + (3) I describe the two types of villain.

First type are vested interests feeding you bad information for their own purposes.

Attacks on “Big Pharma” in health are an example of vested interests.

The other is the “blind leading the blind” – people parroting facts, usually out of context, that get accepted as common wisdom.

One of my favourite examples is the saying “The fish rots from the head down.” It’s an analogy to describe how an organisation is steered into disaster by bad leadership.

Except it’s wrong! The rotten smell of a decomposing fish comes from the fat deposits in its tail. So much for business analogies, yet if you said this in a room full of stuffed grey suits they’d all nod along with you.

You only need to pick one of these villainous types for your email.

(4) You explain as simply as possible why their approach is either misguided or driven by dubious motives.

and then, quickly

(5) Present why you don’t have that flaw.

If you think your enemy is too well entrenched in the mind of your customer, you don’t need to trash them completely.

Just show why their version of events is incomplete, and yours fills the gap, or overcomes a common problem.

(6) Start to show how the world really works

This is where I start to present why I know my way is more effective. I know what drives my market to buy.

I can admit that the approach might not work in other places (impulse buys, fast fashion), but I hold fast that it’s the way to go in the situation my customer is in.

(7) Now we tease them with the How it Works email. 

This is what they’re really waiting for and we should give them a quick way to get it.

If you’re not using an email automation tool that can do this (I use ActiveCampaign) then link them directly to your sales page at this point.

Don’t let them go off the boil.


That’s really it. The work is in working out which of the two types of villain are at work in your market and building up the argument for why the “common sense” approach is based on bad advice.

Next is the last email in the 3 part series.

If you know who your villain is and you’re ready to move ahead, click here to get it straight away.


Stephen Pratley
Copy & Conversion Consultant
The Conversion Co.

c/o The Conversion Co., 2a The High Street, Thames Ditton, KT7 0RY, United Kingdom
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