Black Friday SaaS Email Breakdown: Featuring Attentive

How to Sneak Up on Black Friday Customers and SELL HARD

Today I’m breaking down a Pre-Black Friday email from the tech company Attentive featuring one of their case studies. There is lots of great copy in the email, but they could have done so much more. The blandness of the email copy makes it blend in with the swell of other emails asking the same basic question this time of year, “Are you ready for Black Friday?” 

As I break down the email I show how Attentive could punch up this type of email to make it stand out from their competitors and build curiosity, desire, and trust, in the minds and hearts of their potential clients.

If you are a tech company looking to draw in more clients during this crazy season, pay attention to the tips I share below, and see if you can’t use them to make your own emails better than ever.

About Attentive

Attentive is an SMS marketing app for e-commerce brands, and brick-and-mortar brands looking to expand their reach online. The app uses innovative approaches to gathering data, A/B testing, geo-targeting, segmentation and more, allowing their clients to create personalized, branded, two-way conversations with their customers. 

Attentive’s Pre-Black Friday Case Study Email

This is a solid email from attentive. I love that they are leading their email marketing with case studies showcasing real results from real clients. This is one of the most effective uses of email marketing, especially for tech and SaaS companies. However, while this email starts out strong it quickly falls into the stale trappings common to so many vapid emails filling up your prospective client’s inbox. Read on and let me explain what Attentive does right with this email, where they are losing momentum, and how you can do better with your own emails like this.

You can view the entire email from Attentive here or just read along as I break the email down into its parts. 

Pre-Email Funnel Explanation

The only way to get added to Attentive’s email marketing list, from their website at least, is to sign up for a demo. The Attentive homepage asks simply for my email address to request a demo. The simplicity of their sign up process is excellent. I think more tech and SaaS companies, especially those in the e-com space, should follow this simple model. 

Soon after entering my email, I received a personalized, automated email from Katie, who welcomed me and asked three simple questions about my company. Katie followed up with five more of these personalized, automated emails, asking in various different ways if I was still interested in booking a demo. After six emails over ten days, “Katie” finally gave up on my demo booking probability, and shuffled my email into the general list of broadcast email recipients.

The broadcast email we are looking at today arrived in my inbox exactly 24 hours after the first demo outreach email.

Section 1: From and Subject Line

Almost all of Attentive’s email marketing content comes from a person. As mentioned in the section above, the demo outreach emails came from one person, Katie, and the more broadly circulated emails, like the one I am looking at today, are from Nicole. I highly recommend sending emails from a single person’s name, or several different people’s, as it builds in familiarity to your email right from the start.

I also think this is an excellent subject line. It’s concise, it holds a promise, and it’s specific using the client’s name and their exact growth numbers to deliver the message. This is a message an audience can dig their teeth into, and that means more opens. While I don’t have the data on this email’s open rates, I’m going to bet their open rates are fairly high on this email… much higher, I bet, than their click-through-rates or overall conversion and web-traffic rates, as I’ll explain below.

Section 2: Lead (and optional logo)

As good as the subject line is for this email, this headline totally misses the mark. They’ve basically restated the subject line, but a generic, un-tooth-sinkable, non-specific version of it. Why even bother? If they’d re-stated the exact subject line here, I would be fine with that. There’s no harm in using a proclamation subject line as a your email’s headline (if you must have one), but never water it down as they did here. Or they could leave the headline out all together. 

The rest of this lead is ok. While I don’t think brands need design to craft effective emails, this one has minimal design, and uses it to organize their message. I love the inset photo of an actual text Dolce Vita used to grow their revenue.

The CTA here is weak, and nothing in the copy is going to propel folks to want to download the case study, especially with the fluffy, meaningless headline preceding it.

I suggest they use the headline to link the promise, 39% revenue growth, with the image of the text message.

My rewrite:

“See how Dolce Vita used SMS messages like this one to grow their holiday revenue by almost 40%” 

Even if they didn’t have space for that long of a headline, and used something like “See how Dolce Vita used SMS messages to Drive Holiday Revenue” at least there would be a purpose to the headline, the image, and the button copy, compelling the reader to download the case study to find out how they did it!

Button copy rewrite: Read About Dolce Vita’s Success

Section 3: Key Argument: Case Study Summary

This portion of the email is almost there, but is not compelling enough to drive action from the reader. They  are retelling the story of the subject line and the headline with a bit more detail, but they should do so much more. This section should show how Dolce Vita grew their revenue with SMS. Start with the emotion of the two incredible sales days, how astounded the marketing team was at the numbers,  and then end with a description of how they got there, using Attentive.

Here’s my (un-researched) re-write: 

Kayla from marketing was in disbelief looking at the numbers on her computer screen. Sales had blown past Dolce Vita’s projected goals in just two days! The decision to focus on targeted SMS messages with a holiday twist… had clearly excited their customer base, and it showed.

Kayla downloaded the report and sent it off to the team with the subject line, “SMS works!”

Section 4: CTA

This section only works if the section before it is strong, otherwise,  the reader is gone before they ever get to this CTA. 

On its own merit, this section is fine, although it does nothing to build momentum for the reader, arguably the only reason email copy exists! The other serious problem I see with this section is the button copy… it’s literally the exact same thing as the link in the beginning of the body copy. Links embedded in the body of an email can be “boring” But I like it best when they fall on a slightly unexpected word… Personally,  I would link the word “overview” instead of “Download the case study,” but either one is going to grab folks up front who missed the link the first time.

However… button copy can NOT be boring. The reader already knows they are going to leap out of the email and land further along your brand’s agenda if they click that button. Wasting time on anyone’s agenda but their own, is of ZERO interest to most people.  That’s why you’ve got to make button copy irresistible.

Here’s my re-write:

Read about the tips and tricks(link << there) Dolce Vita used to build excitement during the cacophony of the holiday season through their SMS campaign,

BUTTON: See how Dolce Vita grew their revenue by 39%

Section 5: The Close w/ Bullets

I’d like to think my re-write suggestions would mean most readers don’t even get this far… they’ve already clicked away to the company website, where they will be served similar suggestions for more reading and convincing that Attentive is the solution to their holiday marketing needs… However, for those readers who like to read the entire email before clicking away, this section is an excellent opportunity to give the reader a bulleted list of why Attentive is a good choice for their specific needs.

… But that’s not at all what happens here. These bullets, in my opinion, are wasted. If the reader is not already convinced to read the featured case study, and click away long ago, why are they going to be interested in a bulleted list of more content on the same kinds of topics? To me, this is a lost opportunity to feature Attentive and grab those readers who are ready to buy. I would suggest using this bulleted section to feature Attentive, instead of simply listing more “resources.”

Here’s my (minimally researched) re-write:

With Attentive’s innovative approach to SMS marketing you can:

  • Segment your messages to meet customer’s specific needs 
  • Test multiple approaches and choose what works best, in real time
  • Target customers on their terms using, “ethical data points”
  • Gain access to thousands of innovative ideas our brands have used to generate ROI

BUTTON COPY: Start growing my revenue with Attentive

Section 6: The P.S.

I LOVE a good P.S. and by a “good” P.S. I basically mean, any P.S. I love how attentive uses the post script to grow their audience for an upcoming event. It’s a perfect opportunity to add something to an email that has NOTHING to do with the content of the rest of the email, and still get a huge response!

I  have no re-write for this, it’s clear, it’s specific, it’s fresh and it’s targeted. IMO (thought I’d throw some text-ese into this article on a SMS messaging app)… Great job with the P.S. Attentive!

Section 7: Footer/CTA

To me, this is almost like a second P.S. This graphically enhanced footer offer is where they’ve decided to throw in their main offer to the folks in the audience who are ready to buy, or who will be incentivized to buy with a free trial.

I see two problems with putting the offer here, instead of in the bullets section as I’ve suggested in my re-write. 

The first problem is that it’s impersonal. Brands use graphics to make their message stand out, and it does that, but the graphics also remove the reader from the personal vibe that is so unique to email. Since this is a mostly text based email, this graphic at the end is tossing away the chance to make an intimate connection with the reader, and build from there.

The second problem is again… the button copy. What is their commitment to re-using link copy for button copy… do they think we didn’t read it the first time? Earlier I explained how buttons can create a barrier, because the reader knows they are “opting in” to something when they press that button. But also… folks love to press a button. Rather than throw away this love of pressing buttons with bland, boring, re-used copy, this is a chance to impress on the readers how much they have to gain! 

I would suggest sticking this button up with the bulleted list above, and lose this footer section completely. My button copy would state the offer, and let that sell on it’s own.

Button Copy re-write:

Start your 30-Day Trial with Attentive Today! 


This email starts out strong, and loses me completely by the end. Unfortunately, that’s the trend with most SaaS and tech email marketing. Tech companies who embrace storytelling, bold selling, and proven direct response copy-writing techniques like I’ve described in the different sections above, are going to stand out from their competition. This Black Friday and Holiday season, try punching up your stale emails with some of the tactics I’ve pointed out here, and watch your open rates, click-through-rates, conversion rates, traffic rates and ROI skyrocket!

Hi! I’m Annie Aaroe, a b2b marketing strategist. To find out more about story-driven, conversion copy and strategy that’s tailored for tech and SaaS brands, visit my website,, or shoot me an email at

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1 Comments on “Black Friday SaaS Email Breakdown: Featuring Attentive”

  1. Pingback: How To Use Stories In SaaS Emails

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