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! 

Conclusion

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 email marketing strategist. To find out more about story-driven, conversion email copy and strategy that’s tailored for e-com apps and SaaS brands, visit my website, aaroewriting.com, or shoot me an email at annie@aaroewriting.com.

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Make Sales like ‘Slippin Jimmy’ (of “Better Call Saul”)

Seven Marketing Lessons From The The Kennedy Half Dollar Con

The other night my son and I  were sitting on the couch snuggled together watching the hit TV show Better Call Saul. I was not expecting a marketing lesson to jump out at me from the carefully crafted, character rich, narrative. But at season 1, episode 10, titled “Marco,” that’s exactly what happened.

In the episode, Jimmy (Saul) heads back to his old home of Chicago and hooks up with his buddy Marco. In an effort to relive their glory days the two of them effortlessly dupe a businessman sitting alone at the bar into buying their Kennedy half dollar at 21900% above its value (here’s a clip of the scene). The scam is done effortlessly, and it struck me how many important marketing lessons are to be found in this fictional scene. 

“Slippin Jimmy,” as he’s referred to on the show, and his friend Marco are “selling” a complete knock-off scam. But substitute a genuine product with proof from past customers and a rock solid guarantee… and Slippin’ Jimmy’s style becomes a superior lesson for how to capture your market and make the sales roll (or should I say ‘slip’) in.

Here’s how the scene unfolds… and the seven marketing gems I found there.

Step 1: The Research

Jimmy and Marco are catching up after years apart at the local bar. Jimmy looks sideways as a middle aged man in a business suit walks past him engrossed in a phone conversation. The business man appears pompous and self-absorbed. Jimmy gets an idea, but first he asks Marco one key question as he gestures towards his next victim, “Is he a regular?”

Before they began to run the scam, the two swindlers gathered some basic information about their next victim. For instance they knew he was alone at the bar and had some financial means. They also deduced certain things about his psychological and emotional state, specifically that he would be interested in a lucrative investment opportunity. And finally they made some assumptions about his background, specifically that he would have an interest, but not an in-depth knowledge about coin collecting. All of these pieces of information about the “prospect” were key to the success of the scam. I can only imagine that if the loner at the bar were a woman, or tough guy wearing a motorcycle jacket, or a preppy looking college kid, the two would have chosen a different scam to run that night.

As marketers we can be much more thorough and methodical in our research than a con artist, who has to move quickly between victims and make split second judgements about the circumstances and character. We don’t require any special talent at reading people, though it can help, rather we need simply an inquisitive mind. We can spend days or even weeks learning intimate details about our prospects, understanding not only their basic demographics, but also their daily struggles, fears and desires.

Since we aren’t in the business of swindling, we don’t have to ask “is he a regular here?” But we do need to ask other, similarly poignant questions about our prospect in order to understand their relationship to our product and solutions it provides for them. Like Jimmy and Marco, you need to know both the surface demographic details, like gender or income bracket, as well as their inner desires, their pressing needs and what will peak their interest. For both Slippin’ Jimmy and us, understanding our customer avatar intimately is the key to making the rest of the sales process work effectively.

Step 2: The Hook

The two friends first get the attention of their prospect by manufacturing some light tension between them. Jimmy implores Marco to “have a look” and Marco tells him, “I’m not interested.” Jimmy keeps pressing, and finally Marco, with an eye roll, gives in.

Jimmy pulls out his prize possession, the Kennedy half dollar and presents it to Marco with one word, “BOOM.” With this Jimmy implies he has a secret, something of value, but neither Marco, the businessman or the viewers of the show, have any idea yet what is special about the coin.

This hook is text book perfect because it relies on emotion and also introduces a secret. Introducing a secret with your hook is a great way to not only grab your prospect’s attention, but also keep them, however mildly, intrigued as you guide them towards your big reveal.

Step 3: The Story

Once Jimmy has Marco’s (and he’s pretty sure the businessman across the bar’s) attention, he keeps that attention by launching into a detailed story about the Kennedy half dollar. He begins the story by drawing attention to the direction Kennedy is facing on the head of the coin. He’s facing left, or “west” as Jimmy calls it.

Here, Jimmy reveals a little bit more of the secret he’s hinted at earlier but he doesn’t give the full explanation. Instead, Jimmy explains with great detail and drama the origins of these coins, why they came into being, and then what happened to make this specific coin that he is holding extremely special. By the time he’s halfway through his story, the business man across the bar has looked up from his work and is not only hearing what’s going on in front of him, he’s paying attention.

Whenever you need to capture your audience, especially if they are a highly skeptical audience, telling an exciting story, sometimes even a largely irrelevant story, is the best way to get your prospect to listen to you. Use the story to build on the hook you used to grab their attention, but don’t give away the secrets about your product. Instead, use the story to hint at the benefits to your prospect, and keep them wanting more.

Step 4: Scarcity

Finally, after going on about the details of why the face on the coin should be facing one way, Jimmy finally reveals why the direction of Kennedy’s face on the coin makes this coin so unique. But what really drives the point home, is when Jimmy explains that a very limited amount of these coins, with Kennedy facing left, are left in circulation. Suddenly the coin is worth far more than it first appeared.

Anytime you can legitimately introduce an element of scarcity, whether because time is running out, or because of a limited supply, you greatly increase the desire of your prospect. When something might be gone before we have a chance to experience it, we are hardwired to want that item, whatever it is, more than if there was no urgency involved.

Slippin’ Jimmy takes this selling tactic a step further. At this very moment he looks over at his businessman prospect and calls out his skepticism directly. “What’s the buddy?”  even though the man hadn’t said anything, and then “Do you mind? We’re having a private conversation here.” 

I’ve seen marketers do something similar by including a first name tag in an email at exactly the point in their argument when the stakes seem the highest (talking scarcity is one of those moments). In VSL’s this would be an ideal time to look at the camera and speak pointedly and directly to the camera. By this point you definitely have their attention, and making it known that you know it is a slick and brilliant interpersonal move.

Step 5: Value

Next Jimmy launches into telling how much this coin, because of the rarity and unique story behind it, is worth. He picks an almost outrageously high number, $800. It’s a lot of money, though not an unreasonable number for a true collectors item. The reason he does this is to increase the perceived value of the coin juxtaposed with the price he ultimately gives to Marco to buy the coin off of him.

You never want to name the price of your product or service without first giving it context, both conceptual as well as numerical. You can build up the perceived value of your product by telling stories about the benefits, pointing out scarcity, and finally, naming what it should cost. The higher you increase the perceived value of your product, the more likely you will be able to name whatever price you want, and people will be willing to pay it.

Step 6: Proof

Up until this point, although the businessman is paying attention to Jimmy and Marco’s charade, he is still scoffing at the idea of the coin actually having any real value. He is certainly nowhere near opening his own wallet. This is where the con takes a crucial turn. 

Jimmy excuses himself to use the bathroom, giving Marco the chance to go behind Jimmy’s back and corroborate the claim. Marco starts talking to the business man, mirroring the skepticism he’s feeling. Marco even declares he’s gonna prove Jimmy wrong and call the cops on him. He’s methodically calling out all the objections the businessman has about the coin and its high value, and then he makes his move to prove the claims with evidence. 

Marco asks the bartender if he can use the bar phone. Marco could have pulled out his own cell phone, but instead he enlists the bartender in the theatrics, a small gesture of proof, simply saying, hey, this is real, here’s yet another person (the bartender) involved in what’s going on. 

Marco then calls a made up friend, telling the businessman he knows a guy who happens to deal with rare coins. He dials the number and then briefly explains (to a dead line) what Jimmy has told him about the coin. Before Marco can finish the story, he is “interrupted” by the nonexistent expert on the other end of the line, as if they already know the important details about this rare coin. Marco’s skepticism turns instantly to a look of smug interest. Marco ups the scarcity factor by turning his back on the businessman. Now Marco is in on the secret, and he doesn’t want anyone else getting in on the deal he’s just discovered is “real.”

It’s important to provide proof for any claims you make about your product. But you need to go a step further. You need to figure out all the objections that are in your prospect’s heads and provide proof for every one of those objections as well. You can do this in the form of expert’s opinions, research backed data, and customer testimonials.

And even though you’re probably not selling something to one lucky buyer, unless you’re in the business of selling lottery tickets of something like that, you can still learn a lesson from the way Marco guards his new discovery after he’s ‘proved’ the true value of the coin. You want to make your prospect feel like they are getting an exclusive offer, and they should act now before someone else takes away their chance.

Step 7: The Close

Jimmy and Marco close their deal effortlessly at this point. When Jimmy comes back from the bathroom Marco corners him and offers $50 for the coin. Jimmy says no, he’s not taking anything less than $100. But there’s a problem, Marco only has $64 cash on him at the moment. 

This is the opportunity the business man needs and he seizes the chance. He offers Jimmy $75 for the coin. He’s now fully convinced, and he wants that coin as his own. Jimmy turns down the $75, again insisting on $100. In a moment the businessman is out of his chair, offering $80. He’s almost yelling, “This guy was gonna call the cops on you!” Which makes Marco heated, he’s still begging Jimmy to sell him the coin, promising he’ll bring back the rest of the money… and a second later the businessman is waving $110 cash in both men’s faces. “Sold” Jimmy announces and exchanges the simple coin for 21900% it’s worth.

There are many ways to close a sales message, but the thing I love about this one is that they keep upping the drama. I see so many sales pages, emails and VSLs that start out strong, with emotion and high stakes, but once they get into the product details, all the bells and whistles, the message completely loses its momentum. The key to remember here is that people always buy from an emotional place so you will always do better to close with an emotional appeal, upping the stakes more as you reach the end. You can do this with future pacing, painting a picture of what life will look like if they make the purchase, or even better, what their life will look like if they don’t make the purchase. You can also close with scarcity to create a final sense of urgency to push your prospect over the edge. However you choose to close your sales message keep your prospects emotions involved, and drive your message home to the very last call-to-action.

When the businessman takes the coin and walks out of the bar, Marco still isn’t done with the con. He keeps yelling after him about what he’s gonna do to the guy for “stealing” this opportunity from him. If the business man has any regrets, he’ll be miles away from Marco and Jimmy before he comes down from the emotional roller coaster and realizes the stupidity of what he’s just done.

If it’s this simple to pull a con on a hunk of silver worth fifty cents… how much more should you be able to sell your highly valuable real products and services using these same tactics!?

The seven tactics here can apply to all different kinds of marketing. But there are many other tactics not discussed here. The truth is, there are lessons in selling to be found all around us. The more we study life, people, and other marketers, the more we internalize these lessons and become experts at making the good sale.

In the words of today’s fearless teacher, “S’all, good man”


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

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A Case For Doing Work That’s, “Beneath You”

Why Delegating All The Tasks You Don’t Enjoy (Or Are Below Your Pay Scale)… Can Hurt You In The Long Run

I see this advice everywhere. I’ve heard it at business conferences, read it in blog posts about time management and found it in almost every course promising to help grow your business.  

Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.

The idea is that as your business grows, your time is best spent on the highest level tasks that actually make you money. So, you should delegate to employees or outsource all the menial (but necessary) tasks that take up time but don’t directly generate increased profits. Enlightened advice givers will also point out that spending your valuable time on tasks you don’t enjoy will actually suck your energy faster and reduce your overall effectiveness.

I have experience both as an employer (I own a bagel shop and have managed up to 25 employees at a time) and as a freelancer. I understand in both situations, the importance of delegating tasks in order to keep business moving. In fact, for my entire career I have been meticulous about tracking time for every task, updating our written systems to accommodate new hires, and off loading work from my plate to allow me to grow my businesses. 

However, I’ve always made a point to keep some of the tasks that I could delegate, on my own to-do list. Whether I’m running a 7-figure bagel enterprise, or growing a 4-figure solopreneur venture, I still value the simple tasks that aren’t directly making me money. Today I want to make a case for all business leaders to reserve a not-insignificant portion of their time on what others may consider “menial tasks.”

“Why the president should clean the toilet”

According to Christianity, Jesus Christ is the Son of God. In this capacity Jesus healed the sick, performed miracles and traveled thousands of miles giving speeches. However, when Jesus wanted to show his quality as a leader, he chose to humble himself with tasks that other religious leaders of his day would have thought “below them”. Jesus washed his disciples feet, an act of service that astonished everyone, but made clear Jesus’ intentions. Jesus spent extended time ministering to chatty, wild, simple-minded children, devoting himself to what was considered “women’s work.” Many people recognize the kindness and integrity of the Christian Jesus, but few understand how much his humble lifestyle and actions were crucial to his ministry.

The humility of bible stories connects in interesting ways to present day life. The President of the United States, or of a company, is no more valuable than Jesus himself, or than any other person alive today.  Even the newest employee (or subcontractor) hired for the lowest paying, simplest task, has the utmost value as an individual. The concept of justice is built on this idea that every individual has equal worth as a human being. Entire countries have been built on this same lofty principle. And while we don’t ever see this value lived up to in reality, it is still a principle that people intrinsically understand and respect.

That is why it is important for leaders to not only show, but fully believe that they are not better than those who work for them. Taking on menial tasks, like cleaning the toilet, taking someone’s coat, or even just the humble act of actually listening to another person, is how a leader demonstrates this value, to themselves and to their followers. 

By its very nature, humility does not show itself off. There are, however, what I’ll call “side effects” of humility that you may recognize.  If you think back to a boss you had that was “always there for you” or a team that “looked out for each other” or a leader who “seemed like just a regular person,” you are probably witnessing the by-products of a humble leader. In business, humility is rarely looked at or spoken of as important. The truth is, to be an effective leader, humility is essential. 

“Don’t Forget Where You Came From”

How many movies hit their climax when the hero is forced to face his past. We see a young single mother in a roach infested apartment, a neighborhood of scraggly kids with an ‘up to no good’ look in their eyes, or a dimly lit mail-room swarming with sweaty, tattooed ex-cons and possibly homeless old men. Our hero is forced to choose between what benefits himself, and his new found community of rich, powerful folks, or doing right by those people who knew him before he rose to the top. The “good” hero doesn’t forget those who helped her get where she is today. 

These ideas work in fiction because they are too often ignored in real life. Getting ahead is synonymous with not having to do the shit you don’t like anymore. No more eating generic brand food. No more scrubbing floors. No more paper pushing or answering to bosses you can’t stand. But some of the things we don’t like doing, are important for us to keep on doing even when we don’t HAVE to.

While there is value to outsourcing tasks that suck up your time and energy, some of those tasks are still incredibly important to the health of your business and the morale of your staff. If you aren’t filling your time with at least one menial but still important task in your work, you WILL forget where you came from. As a result your employees will lose respect for you, the quality of their work will decrease, and your own inflated sense of yourself will infect your entire operation, possibly incurably. 

“You have to know it to believe it”

The third reason I have for including menial tasks in your work week is much less lofty and simpler to explain. Many tasks should not be delegated completely because a leader needs to stay familiar with how their business runs on the “ground level”. Before you delegate, you should do every task at least once, so that you know the basics and can better manage those who take it over. But even after you’ve delegated, it’s important to keep coming back and spending time doing all of these tasks so that you can make sure the systems are working up to their best possible potential.

As your company grows, or if you own multiple companies, you won’t have time to check into all of the tasks that make your business run. However, spending time each week in different departments, doing the work of your employees will help you understand fully how the work is done and will ultimately make you a better leader.

Bonus: “Idle hands…”

My last idea is a bonus idea, because it is only a matter of my opinion (and experience). I believe doing menial tasks that include manual labor are the most important to incorporate into your work week. Nevermind the fact that sitting at a desk all day wrecks havoc on our health and stress levels. But performing manual labor as a part of our work also brings a tangible aspect to our success. 

As the owner of my bagel shop, I can analyze numbers, develop new income streams, or create marketing material all day long. Each of those tasks brings money directly into my business, allowing me to pay my employees a fair wage, grow the business profitably for my family and our future, and offer something valuable to my community. However, it’s not until I get my hands dirty in the dough room or mix the cream cheese flavors or break a sweat in front of the oven, that I actually understand what makes my business money. Spending time on the physical, tangible activity in my business is what fuels all of the ideas I need to do the rest of my work.

In my job as a copywriter, there are far fewer tangible jobs. However, I still incorporate walks into my creative process because nothing helps me distill my ideas better than physical exertion. I also incorporate handwriting into my work week because the physical act of handwriting, whether it’s hand copying someone else’s sales email I found to be effective, hand writing the first draft of my novel, or jotting down my daily to-do list on a notepad, the physicality of the task energizes a necessary part of my brain. 

If you can find a place to incorporate manual labor into your work week, then I believe you will see cognitive and emotional gains which will boost your productivity and the overall quality of your life. 

You Are What You Do… Repeatedly

When I talk about incorporating menial tasks into your work week, I’m suggesting this become a regular practice, a part of who you are as a leader, and as a company. One of my favorite SaaS companies, Bonjoro, exemplifies these ideas beautifully. They are a Customer Relationship Management system for recording short, personalized videos to send out to customers. When you sign up for a Free Trial with Bonjoro, within a day, you will receive a personalized video from the company’s CEO, Matt Barnett. Every single person who signs up gets one. These aren’t even paying customers, and yet Matt is such an incredible leader that he takes the time to record these first impression videos himself, and he’s been doing so for years. He is able to communicate his excitement for his company, and for your new arrival in it as a prospective customer. But I’m sure this does more than create high levels of customer loyalty. I’m sure that it keeps Matt, the CEO, dialed in on a physical, emotional level, to the essence of what his company does. He can’t ever get lost in meetings, growth strategies or paid time off, like so many leaders do, and forget what the company is all about. He is, it seems daily, connecting back to the most basic tasks that make Bonjoro run. And I will also predict that his team has a high level of respect for their leader, as well as motivation to do their best, because they see him doing it.

This is just one of countless examples of companies who have humble leaders driving their success. Take a second to think of your favorite company, and I bet you’ll find that some of the same activities I’ve discussed in this article are an essential part of the leadership team’s daily practice. Now it’s time to start making it part of yours too.


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

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SaaS Email Breakdown: Featuring Bonjoro

Today I’m giving an in depth email breakdown of a welcome email from one of my favorite SaaS companies, Bonjoro. Bonjoro is a company worth studying. Not only do they offer a unique, effective and user friendly software solution to their users, their marketing is on point. They do a great job with brand personality, building a connection with their audience, and they communicate frequently, and effectively, using email marketing.

If you are a SaaS company, e-com app developer or an agency looking to increase visibility and conversions with email marketing, you can learn a lot from today’s email breakdown.

About Bonjoro

Bonjoro is a customer experience SaaS solution that gives brands a unique way to connect, human-to-human, on digital platforms. Bonjoro provides an intuitive CRM (customer relationship manager) tool where brands can record personalized videos with embedded links in customer emails. 

The Bonjoro platform allows brands to identify key moments in the customer journey such as website browsing, first purchase, benchmark CLVs, re-engagement etc., and alert the team when a customer has triggered these events. Then, someone from the brand records a quick, completely authentic, personalized video, and sends it off to the customer in an automated email.

Bonjoro’s innovative tools boast incredibly high success rates, however the solution naturally brings up immediate objections for prospective buyers. The most common objection is… “Is recording personalized videos worth my time?” Bonjoro uses their own tool, as well as effective email marketing strategy, to answer these objections, communicate their brand values, educate leads on how to succeed using their tool, and ultimately drive conversions to their paid plans.

Bonjoro’s Welcome Email 

You can view the entire welcome email from Bonjoro here or just read along as I break the email down into its parts. I’ll explain why and how this email achieves key objectives.  But first, I want to highlight a few overall notes about why email is exemplary of SaaS email marketing done right.

  • The email is from a person at Bonjoro and uses a familiar, friendly tone, immediately making the prospect feel as though they are a part of the Bonjoro “family.”
  • The email is mostly text, with a few graphics added in for the purposes of framing.
  • The email gives plenty of specific details about Bonjoro, but in every paragraph, the information is communicated in such a way that’s relevant to the prospect reading.
  • The email is set in a specific place and time and includes both 1. Calls-to-action for the prospect who is ready to act now and 2. Future pacing for the prospect who needs to be nurtured in future emails before they’ll be ready to act.

Free Trial Opt In

Before I get into the email copy, some background on how a prospect ends up with this email in their inbox. 

On Bonjoro’s homepage you are immediately asked to start a free trial by filling out a simple, 3-field form. Bonjoro allows their email automations to nurture and qualify their leads for them, without the risk of wasting unnecessary sales energy or turning perfect prospects away at the “door.”

SIDE NOTE: I can not tell you how many SaaS companies and e-com app websites over complicate their opt-in form. They are trying to filter out bad leads, bots and spammers by qualifying their opt-in traffic. But the result of such heavy, laborious opt-in procedures (and I’m calling anything with more than 4 fields to fill out, and any questions beyond basic identifying questions, heavy and laborious) is that many good leads and slightly warm prospects give up before ever making a connection with the company.

I’m not sure how Bonjoro is bringing in cold and warm leads to their website, but a quick search in the facebook ad library yields “0” results, so my guess is Bojoro is using plenty of cold email and organic social.

Email Breakdown

Section 1: From and Subject Line

This email came to my promotions tab in gmail, which isn’t the best. So that’s a deliverability issue Bonjoro could work on for the future.

The subject line “A Beary Warm Welcome” stands out while still being straight forward, and it is wonderfully “on brand”.  Not every company can get away with spicing up an otherwise boring subject line, but this speaks to the benefit of having a clearly defined brand, and in this case, a playful one. 

This email comes from a real person, “Simon” from Bonjoro. I love how they do this with all of their emails. This is a great way to personalize emails without having to identify a single personality in the company who is ostensibly writing all the emails. However, “from Bonjoro” provides continuity for the reader across their entire email marketing strategy.

Section 2: Lead (and optional logo)

I support the choice not to use my first name in the salutation. There are differing opinions on the use of personalized fields in email automations. I think if you can adequately personalize the email without using the reader’s first name, you’ve won the day.

I like how the logo is small enough to allow the full lead to show on both desktop and mobile. When your copy and branding is right on target, a huge logo distracts. This email strikes a perfect balance.

This might be one of my favorite welcome email leads ever. It’s a fairly common opening, they paint a scene of the workers at “brand” getting excited over your appearance on the scene. This gets the reader’s attention, but can run the risk of getting an eye roll… Most prospects know better.  

However, this one feels realistic. The scene is 100% believable but it still achieves the goal of making the reader feel like their addition to the brand is a big huge deal.

Section 3: Key Argument: Setting Expectations

One of the basic rules of email copywriting is that every email should have one single objective, getting the reader to take the next step, either mentally or actively. 

This Bonjoro welcome email follows that principle fairly well. The purpose of this email is to let the reader know, take a mental step, what we can expect from the company in the next phase of our relationship. In this case the phase is the duration of the free trial, and we are promised guidance by Bonjoro throughout the course of our trial. 

We aren’t just shown that single, clear concept with words… We’re even given a cartoon to illustrate the exact same point.

Notice how they slip in a line about the benefits of using their product here: “building next level relationships.”

However this line is in service of the larger goal of the email and it adds to and supports the core messaging.

This is beary, beary well done!

Section 4: Bullets

Every SaaS email has one thing in common. Bullets. 

When you have a complex technical product, bullets are great way break up a wealth of information into impactful but easily consumable portions.

But these are no standard, dry and boring SaaS bullets. We’ve got:

  • personality (in the parentheticals)
  • Copy that focuses on YOU, the reader 
  • Future pacing where the reader can visualize something truly rewarding coming their way on their journey with Bonjoro
  • A bright turquoise call to action smack in the middle!
  • Even these bullets have bullets… keeping the information organized and clear.

I do notice that all the personality and visionary copy kind of drains out from these last two bullet points… they kind of feel like an afterthought. I’ll go into this more below, but I would actually leave out the second section of bullets, I think it distracts from the main objective of the email.

However, white space is a good thing, especially in the first email in a sequence. You don’t ever want to confuse your reader, you want to entice them and keep them coming back for more.

Section 5: The Close (with CTA)

The button copy in this email is very well done. Not only are we given big bright buttons, but the copy itself tells you exactly what will happen if your press those buttons, and it persuades you to want to take that next step. 

But we’ve already been treated to a large CTA in the last section, so why throw in a second? If these were spaced out in the email, one link embedded in the ext, and the second as a button at the end, I would say this is a smart move. But these two CTAs don’t even go to the same place.

This first CTA follows along with the main objective of the email, getting the reader ready to engage with Bonjoro. It lands the reader on a welcome & tutorial page within the Bonjoro platform.

This second CTA connects with the second set of bullets and leads the reader to start recording those specific types of videos mentioned in the bullets.

I think all this extra information and multiple buttons may distract or worse, overwhelm the reader. I would suggest taking out all the information about the testimonials (the second set of bullets) and adding a second link in the text “above the fold” perhaps the word “guide” in the beginning of section 3.

I’m not a fan of the text portion of the “close” of this email, which isn’t a close at all, but rather it races on to an entirely new idea, one that could live in a follow up email all on it’s own.

But then they give us this adorable, on brand, on message, hopeful graphic that warms my heart and makes me think, 

“awwwww shucks… what next?!”

Section 6: The P.S.

*Nada*

There is no P.S. in this email, but I think this is a missed opportunity. I mentioned above that the testimonial information from the second set of bullets, and the corresponding CTA could live in it’s own email. But an even better idea would be to place the information in the P.S.

Something like, “P.S. Ready to begin right away?” and then write the copy about the testimonials and throw in the button below.

Conclusion

If you are a SaaS company building out your welcome sequence, Bonjoro is a great company to study. They bring a strong brand identity, personalization, humor, humanity and credibility into their marketing strategy. 

Even if you are a much more buttoned up brand and cartoons and puns are not really your style, email is a perfect chance to show your audience a softer, more personal side. With emails like the one above, your brand can begin to build a relationship with your prospects, one that convinces them you are the best solution for their current needs… as well as keeps them connected and loyal to your brand for many renewals to come. 


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

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Wickedly Effective SaaS Emails



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