Skip to content

The E-mail Road Less Traveled …

Daniel Levis
Daniel Levis

Dear Web Business-Builder,

Great things can happen when you build an e-mail list and learn how to sell to that list.

But it’s not as easy as the online marketing gurus would have you believe.

It takes a lot of effort to build a list in the first place. And a lot of effort to keep people reading and responsive.

See here’s the problem …

Chances are your subscribers did not subscribe to your list to be sold to. They subscribed in order to get useful information they can use to better their lives.

You, however, are not a registered charity.

You did not build an e-mail list for the sole purpose of giving away free information, did you?

You need a return on your investment. And that means you’ve got to sell stuff to the people who joined your list. Egads!

So how do you resolve this gut wrenching conflict?

If you send e-mails filled with reasons why people should buy a product … in an attempt to get them to click through to your (or an affiliate’s) order pages or sales pages, they’re going to unsubscribe in droves. Or they’ll just tune out, and your click through rates will shrivel.

And if all you do is send out free tips or an e-zine with various “columns” and incidental resource links that people can click on to buy stuff, you won’t make many sales.

One approach is to mix and match …

Switch up between these two types of e-mails. Send three or four “content” e-mails followed by one or two with a blatant offer. Then rinse and repeat. This can work.

Results will vary, of course, depending on the quality of your execution.

Another approach is to use some of your e-mails to sell your subscribers on consuming content via some other medium … perhaps a teleseminar, webinar, video, PDF report, blog post, whatever.

This can work as well, IF you gain some real leverage as a seller from the shift in media. If you don’t, you’re just putting a roadblock in front of the sale.

And there’s a fourth, less common approach.

How to have your cake and eat it too …

Write e-mails that make people feel like they’re getting value from the e-mail itself. And tie that value directly to a very specific offer with a strong and seamless call to action.

Now obviously there are as many ways to do this as Carter has little liver pills. And once again, results will vary greatly on execution.

That said, here’s an example of one such e-mail I have running in my autoresponder series right now. It’s working like crazy …

Subject Line: Psychological Ventriloquism?

Some cult leaders and con men can get people to do just about anything …

… While most people can’t even get their teenage children to take out the trash or load up the dishwasher.

What do the bad guys know that you don’t? It’s not what you’re thinking …

→ [[affiliate link here]]

Hi %$firstname$%,

It was 1925 …

A long black limousine pulled up in front of one of the ritziest hotels in Palm Beach.

Presently, a Japanese chauffer assisted an aristocratic looking gentleman out of the car.

Tall, dark, devilishly handsome … the man would later be seen in the lounge receiving telegrams at all hours of the night.

One after another they would arrive, brought to him by his Japanese chauffeur.

With utter nonchalance he would rip the telegrams up and toss them in the trash.

Sporting an elegant diamond studded cane … the man would take his place in the dining room each evening at exactly a quarter past nine and begin reading a large impressive looking book.

Before long, both staff and guests were buzzing with rumor, speculation, and interest in this strange man. And they were magnetically drawn to him.

All that was known about him was that his name was Count Victor Lustig, and that he came from one of the wealthiest families in Europe.

His real identity? The most talented confidence man in America — perhaps the world.

The limo was rented. The cane was a fake. And the telegrams were blank.

Lustig spoke several languages … prided himself on his cultural refinement … and was known in con artist circles for his fearless audacity.

But most of all, it was Lustig’s uncanny knowledge of human nature that gave him his edge.

Had Lustig used his amazing talents honestly and ethically he could no doubt have lived a charmed, perhaps even great life.

But he loved the game too much …

Lustig was a master. He could size people up in an instant. And he intuitively seemed to know how to win their trust.

But there was one thing above all others that allowed him to pull off the most outlandish scams imaginable.

It was a secret that allowed Lustig to sell dozens of supposed “money-machines” to wealthy and otherwise prudent businessmen for $30,000 a crack … the equivalent of $300,000 in today’s money …

A secret he used to con the most distrusting man on the planet — Al Capone — out of $5,000, just for the thrill of it …

A secret he used to sell the Eiffel Tower to a skeptical Paris scrap metal dealer for 250,000 francs — a million dollars in today’s money.

How did Lustig convince so many intelligent people to believe his outrageous lies, when most would-be persuaders can’t even get people to believe the truth?

The answer …

He performed a kind of psychological ventriloquism that made his lies seem true — true because they seemed to be thoughts that were emanating from within his mark’s own minds.

A phenomenon explained in depth in Blair Warren’s Forbidden Keys to Persuasion e-course transcript. Discover Lustig’s incredible secret on page 20.

[[affiliate link here]]

Now please remember … these keys are forbidden for a reason. They are amazingly powerful.

I’m trusting you to use them ethically and honorably to generate more sales … to create truly beneficial long-term customer relationships based on truth and service … and to live the genuinely charmed life that someone like Lustig never could.

[[affiliate link here]]

Until next time, Good Selling!

Daniel Levis

Now I ask you, what kind of e-mail is this?
Is it a tutorial, or is it a pitch?

Answer: It’s both.

People read this thing all the way down to the bottom, click through on those links, and they buy, buy, buy! This e-mail gets phenomenal click through and conversion.

The net effect is much better than if I were to write a blatant affiliate promotion talking up Blair’s course. And infinitely better than if I had written a tutorial and simply put a resource link in my signature file at the bottom … or used an e-zine style mailing with ads all over the place.

What’s more, I get very few people unsubscribing from e-mails written in this unique style.

Now let’s be clear. This isn’t something I do all the time. Every marketing situation has its own unique requirements. Novelty is also part of the equation. But whenever I decide to use one of these e-mail oddities, it’s almost always a huge winner.

Why does it work? Not sure. But here are my suspicions …
  1. It’s not immediately obvious that there is something for sale.
  2. It is story-based, interesting, and informative.
  3. It does eventually name a product, and gives a taste of what’s inside, while drawing attention to a key point or secret that can only be obtained by buying the product.
  4. It talks to the prospect’s self-interest indirectly through story, and also by direct statement.
  5. Delivers a specific call to action right in the running copy.

I admit this is a quirky, odd-ball sort of an example that’s very specifically targeted to the people on my particular list. But don’t let that fool you. You can apply the same basic principles listed above to virtually any business.

Simply tell a teaching story based on your own experience … or somebody else’s experience … or drawn directly from case studies used in the product. And follow the rest of the principles outlined above.

Not many marketers are doing this kind of thing. I subscribe to literally dozens of different lists and only a small handful of marketers are writing e-mails that meet all five criteria.

Give it a try and let me know how you do.

Until next time, Good Selling!

signature daniel levis
Daniel Levis
Editor, The Web Marketing Advisor

Daniel Levis is a top marketing consultant & direct response copywriter based in Toronto, Canada and publisher of the world famous copywriting anthology Masters of Copywriting featuring the selling wisdom of 44 of the “Top Money” marketing minds of all time, including Clayton Makepeace, Dan Kennedy, Joe Sugarman, John Carlton, Joe Vitale, Michel Fortin, Richard Armstrong and dozens more! For a FREE excerpt visit

He is also one of the leading Web conversion experts operating online today, and originator of the 5R System (TM), a strategic process for engineering enhanced Internet profits. For a free overview of Daniel’s system, click here.
Attribution Statement: This article was first published in The Total Package. To sign-up to receive your own FREE subscription to The Total Package and claim four FREE money making e-books go to “”.


No Trackbacks


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

Dennis on :


Thanks for the ideas. I might need to rethink how I am sending emails to my clients.

Comments are closed.
However, if you want to tell me something, drop me a line. Contact Us link in the footer.