Email Marketing: How to Master the Campaign Platform of Kings

Email Marketing: How to Master the Campaign Platform of Kings

Reader Comments (36)

  1. Hi Kelton,

    Hats off for a very informative piece and one that has got me even more interested in watching Game of Thrones (My New Year Resolution).

    I’m an avid student of what has gone before in order to get to where we are now and with that said, I regularly study the strategies and practice of what made direct mail such a force. Email is just another medium for delivery and can often get lost in the clutter, unlike the personal letter through the post box, which is why more attention to detail is needed to succeed in that space.

    In a way it does begin by giving your audience a reason to look out for your particular emails but is that really enough?

    I am particulary keen to know how to get my hands on the emails used in the Obama campaign that pulled the astounding $700 million as there has to be a few gems lying around in there. Thanks for the above one too!

    • Thank you Shola, glad you found it useful! Not sure I understand your question, but I would hazard a guess that one of your copywriting friends has a swipe file out there with some of those emails in it:) Maybe even someone reading this post today… if it’s out there it will pop up.

  2. Hi Kelton,

    Fascinating article. Loved the history lesson ~ it provided an excellent story to engage and deliver this valuable content. It blows me away how savvy Obama’s administration is.

    Email is King.

  3. Much of the time and effort I put into my content, whether marketing emails or other material, goes into making the copy as easy to read as possible. Obviously the simpler something is to read, the more likely someone is going to read it.
    As for the email subject line, I even put careful attention into the subject lines of everyday emails to clients. That way, they’re less likely to ignore my messages and leave them unattended for days on end.

    • Good tip for sure Kevin. Crystal clear language is key. I need to get better at writing email subject lines to my co-workers too:) I tend to go for the “bad pun”.

  4. Killer article! Love how you tied history in so naturally. You just pumped me up for another day of writing an autoresponder series I’ve been working on – thanks!


  5. Hi Kelton,

    Incredible post! I noticed you are a screenwriter and novelist as well as blogger. I am actually writing my first screenplay with my twin brother? Do you have any suggestions for good screenwriting tips, resources, or must dos? I am also an aspiring novelist – any suggestions for great novel writing resources as well? As part of my New Year’s resolution I have committed to learning as much as I can about the art of storytelling so any suggestions that you or any other reader could give me would be much appreciated.

    As for the post, I absolutely loved the epic historical and theatrical references – from Aristotle and Alexander to World War II and Game of Thrones. How do you find, decide, and draw on so many different contexts and stories? They are so powerful! One of my college professors always said that people may forget the lecture but they don’t forget the stories and he couldn’t have been more right.

    I also loved all the links you included throughout the email as well. You have definitely conveyed the notion that you are a subject matter expert. Well done and thanks for the inspiration!

    • Wow Hunter, thanks for tuning in! If I’m correct, this is a rhetorical question. J/K

      A) Screenwriting is not unlike copywriting. There are some pretty tried and tested rules for creating great drama. Studying the greats is important. Robert McKee wrote a little tome called Story that is a good start. Any script by David Mamet will help you understand why. Read the script, then watch the movie. Economy of language and good pacing equal the Zen of Screenwriting. Standard Script Formats by Cole/Haag will help with formatting, and a killer scriptwriting app/program is important. If it’s not formatted to industry specs, no one will read it. Good luck!

      B)If you want to be a novelist, write a novel. Get up each day and write as much as you can. Someone famous once said “Write the book you want to read.” Henry Miller’s commandments are also good. They’re floating around out there somewhere.

      C)My inspiration for blog posts comes from everywhere, my “mad scientist” co-workers on the editorial squad, my swipe-file (secret of course), and every writer out there on the web who is putting in the time and energy to inform and inspire. Thanks go to them:) Research, research, research, incubate, sit, write until something good comes out.

      Hope that helps!

      • Kelton,

        Well, thank you for taking the time to put out such great, helpful content!

        Ooops, haha, looks like I put a “?” instead of “!” – I am definitely writing the screenplay and contrary to what my comment says, I am not confused about that πŸ™‚ Guess I need to keep working on those editing skills.

        Your suggestions are exactly what I am looking for, thank you so much. I am jumping on Amazon right now!

        Hope you had a great holiday season and best of wishes to you!

  6. As always an excellent and well researched article.

    Have you written anything about “turn-off” keywords or phrases? As an example, your mention of Mr KR surely made many of us, your readers, loose focus on your message.

    How could a writer stay away from very negative references which could cause the -impatient- reader abort/abandon your text?

    Thanks from Miami!

    • The mere mention of Karl Rove in passing distracted you that much? Sounds like a completely different issue.

      The answer is, a writer never wants to stay away from objectionable references. To do that is to create watered-down crap that appeals to no one at all.

      • Kelton and Brian, you are right. Staying away from strong references would be handicapping and watering-down one’s writing. Now you can be certain that at least one person learned a very valuable lesson from your article.

        P.S. Brian, thanks for taking the time to reply and best of lucks with your new real estate venture in Boulder!

    • Despite his personal beliefs or political affiliations, Karl Rove was a copywriter who was good at his job.

      Alexander the Great, despite his historical notoriety or the fact that he was played by Colin Farrell in Oliver Stone’s movie, was technically a murderer. He fought in battle in front of his men to show his worth as their leader. He probably beheaded some dudes, in other words. Some might find that objectionable.

  7. I’d like to share a simple tip for repeating the points you really want to drive home, especially for when you’re trying to do it online: summarize! If you’re passionate about the topic you’re writing about, then it’s easy to write entire book reports on certain facets of it and that’s okay… as long as you summarize the points you made at the end of your content so people re-remember them. After all, YOU may easily remember everything you wanted to say and have said, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your audience will. So, summarize and (if possible) draw a conclusion at the end of all your content.

  8. Kelton,
    Wow, what a history lesson. It’s interesting to note that these techniques date back to circa 300 B.C. and they are still at work today. With attention spans growing shorter by the day, I wonder what effective techniques will be used in the near future.

  9. Kelton, terrific piece. I greatly enjoyed it, especially the historical perspective on rhetoric and how it has been used throughout the years to wage effective marketing campaigns.

    From a rhetorical strategy perspective, I especially liked the question “Can you see why this would work?” after the Obama email. Because I’ll admit, after reading the first few lines of it, I skimmed the rest. Getting to your question compelled me to go back and read it through a few times to be sure that I could answer the question. Doing that helped to make your point without really TELLING me specifically what the point was. With the foundation of what had come before, I was able to pick out from the Obama email what made it successful. So kudos to you for that.

    Also, I can never read this line enough: “Easy reading is really hard writing.” I’ve read it numerous times in Copyblogger posts, and it’s always a great reminder.

    • Thanks Jerod! Rhetorical questions do their job sometimes:) Good breakdown. I think Nathaniel Hawthorne would get some pretty good Author Rank from Copyblogger… if he were alive.

  10. Interesting article and yet once again as within the entire scope of marketing little or no emphasis is placed on actually telling the truth or being authentic. You win the gold metal by persuading, manipulating people to get the response you want.If you get the prize that is all that really matters. There’s a lot of arrogance in the world of marketing & sales and yet it is the 50000 pound elephant that no one wants to talk about, but hey we got the sale, the vote, the subscription etc…

    • You should spend more time here.

      Marketing based on misrepresentation tempts people who aren’t very skilled representing products that aren’t very good. Because customers are so connected now, this is always a short-term approach. Lousy products get revealed, and lies get uncovered. Yes, it works sometimes, in some situations, but it isn’t what we teach.

      • I spend too much time here πŸ™‚ and wasn’t directing my comment to Copyblogger per se but the marketing world in general. But it is essentially pretty easy to fool people and I know plenty of companys large and small who do it successfully on a regualr basis and have for years.Nothng new here just part of the human condition I suppose. Not to say they don’t provide value of some sort but being in the advertising world I’m sure you know that branding is tied to emotion which is used to direct people away fom any meaningful thought process based on some sort of crtitical thinking. To me that is as dishonest as an out and out lie. There are many lines to cross or not as marketers and it takes a clear vision to know when you are approaching that line. That is not always an easy thing. Anyways that’s my 2Β’ worht for the day.

    • I’ll echo Sonia’s comment. The underlying idea behind everything at Copyblogger is that authority matters, and authority is based on trust and credibility. You don’t get that by slangin’ snake oil or misrepresenting products. You do it by creating kickass stuff and then crafting compelling content that clearly enunciates the benefits of the products and what needs they will fill. It’s the only way.

  11. A wonderful history lesson – in fact I’ve forwarded this article to my son’s high school rhetoric teacher to consider having the students read/study this as a practical application to the uses of ethos, pathos and logos outside of a textbook.

    I also enjoyed the irony you placed in item #4 that reads “You must editing and re-edit so that your message is crystal clear.”

    Intended or not, I still got a chuckle πŸ˜‰


  12. This could not have come at a better time for me. I have been ignoring my email list for way too long and have set time this coming week to get things up and running. There is a lot of great information in here to get me started, and I better pick up some Aristotle.

  13. Great article…Everything old is new again? I love the example of the Obama campaign. As you say, the writing was probably edited dozens of time, yet it comes off as a casual, though persuasive, personal note. Passion is an important part of persuasion.

  14. While there was some useful information here, you could have left out the 75% that was nothing but filler and made this a much more effective post.

  15. I LOVE history and of course I loved how you tied it into your article. Gives me some ideas for my next blog post. BTW, sweet article. I really enjoyed the read!



  16. If there’s just thing you get to takeaway from this article, use the Story part. Tell a story and tell it well. This works for email and it works for presentations too…

  17. Great, succinct and useful information. I’ll keep it in mind for my next campaign.
    Except that it’s Joe Rospars, not Rospar. I first met him through the Dean campaign in mid-2003. An amazing guy, a true innovator.

  18. What a unique way of writing….hat’s off man!
    Actually i hate history at my college. But i felt happy and interesting while reading this history part.

    Hope too see more articles from you.


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