Love and email marketing aren’t all that different.

Getting new email subscribers, just like entering a new relationship, is an amazing time. It’s all sunshine, rainbows, and newness. Then as the months go on it stops being new. You start taking them for granted, they become dissatisfied and if you guys don’t work out your problems; well…

… we’ve all been there.

When a company’s email list stops being new, they become one of two people: Barry Buckshot or Sammy Sniper.

Barry Buckshot

When you first get into a relationship with Barry everything is great. The new relationship shine is still there and you see a long-term relationship with him. Then the cracks begin to show. His charm begins to wain. When you bring up your needs he gives you the same cookie-cutter responses. You don’t feel listened to more so talked at.

Don’t be Barry

All too often companies treat their email subscribers like Barry treats his girlfriend. They expect their customers to be satisfied with any marketing they do. But as time goes on their customers’ needs change. And the same emails that brought them in won’t be enough for them anymore. Cookie-cutter “BUY THIS NOW” emails won’t work for frequent customers. They simply will learn not to open your emails. Or worse they will unsubscribe. The most egregious of these stale emails are what I call the Buckshot method.

Buckshot Method

The buckshot method is a copy technique of showing a wide array of products hoping something will catch the reader’s eye. Their end goal is to get people to the store to buy something. These emails generally include many images and links, all for the various products.

Short-term, these emails are great for introducing new customers to your products. But in the long run, this generic something is what stops these emails from converting as well as they want. Once a customer is introduced to your products they are no longer new and must be treated as such. Like Barry’s girlfriend, they have to feel listened to.

One example of the buckshot method is this email I got from Kohls. The full email will be below.

Kohls valentine email.pdf

This email is trying to sell you 5 different types of products and is packed to the gills with links and images all loosely tied around the theme of valentine’s day. It has no flow. The email is just multiple sales pitches packed into one. As a long-time Kohls customer, this does nothing for me. As none of these products are similar to the things I buy from there. And even if one of these products did interest me, the chances of me reading the whole email to find it is slim.

There is a better way.

And this is where suave Sammy Sniper comes in.

Sammy Sniper

Now a relationship with Sammy Sniper starts just as good. However, what he does to keep you is what sets him apart. And it’s ridiculously simple.


He shows he understands you.

That’s it.

He really pays attention. You always feel heard. With men like Sammy, it is often happily ever after. And your friends are often jealous of how good he treats you. And you love him even more as time goes on.

Sniper method

Just like a sniper who aims at a single target, The sniper method is copy expressly made for one client or type of client. This copy converts leagues better because the person is being sold products specific to them and their needs.

When we feel like we are being helped and not sold we buy exponentially more. This copy is typically light on images and links as it wants its message as clear as possible. It also flows well and leads you to the CTA.

Going off the kohls example, here is one way I rewrote this email.

Anytime I write copy I start with two questions; what is the purpose of this copy and who is my audience. For this piece:

  1. Purpose: Get people to visit Kohl’s site.
  2. Target audience: Women who are throwing a valentine’s day party.

I immediately portray this email as a few helpful tips rather than a sales email. I walk them through how to spice up their party then I gently nudge them to get their supplies from kohls. That’s it. It is cohesive and adds value to their day in exchange for their time(hopefully money). And even if this one email doesn’t convert crazy well I have set the standard of quality emails. Leading to more chances to make them convert.

In conclusion

Email marketing takes work. For new customers, it is completely acceptable to send them buckshot emails and see what sticks. You don’t know their buying patterns and they don’t know which of your products they are interested in. But as they become regular purchasers their buying habits reveal themselves. This is when you transition to selling them what you think they will like. Then they will love you

How do you feel about Buckshot and Sniper copy? Let me know below. Thank you and have a great day.