Direct Marketing Magic
(i.e. killer emails)
Not your grandma's society newsletter
If you're anything like me your promotions inbox is a wasteland of unasked for coupons and unopened pleas for attention.
Ghosts rising from a misty river...crying out but never heard.
The problem: No voice, no character, no value.
Look I don't blame companies for sticking me in their email list after I buy something—I understand the psychology that previous customers make the best customers.
But can't they at least enchant me?
Offer me value—not just some % off. Teach me something. Entertain me. Persuade me why I should consider opening my wallet.
If I wasn't planning to buy something, a discount isn't value.
Dunno about you, but I don't have time for that.
Let's play 3 truths and a lie:
Teaching is the most effective way to market value.
Good writing takes time and discipline
Loyal customers will visit your website unprompted
If you aren't collecting and sending emails you're leaving $$ on the table.
Did you spot the lie? Of course you did—this ain't your first rodeo. The question is, what are you doing about it?
How will your voice be heard?
(Find out with this 2-minute Brand Voice Quiz)
Stand out from the undead.
Quillpower your subject lines.
Note the Quillpower difference:
Copywriter: Announcing 3 new RokBanned shows near you!
Quillpower: Guess what RokBanned singer did in <CITY> 🤫
Copywriter: Get 25% off RokBanned tickets
Quillpower: Want $50 to spend on RokBanned swag?
Copywriter: Last chance for RokBanned tickets!
Quillpower: Saved a ticket for you <NAME>. Come get it
And that's just how to get emails opened. Great discounts aren't enough anymore. Subject lines need to sound like a human person hinting at treasure.
And then what? How do you keep readers scrolling and get them to click on things?
You need good writing.
What's the point if most emails get ignored or overlooked?
Most bad emails get ignored or overlooked. Good ones get opened by the millions. It comes down to subject line, storytelling, and meaningful CTA (not just Click for coupon).
I don't open any emails—why would they?
You don't open any? Or don't open the boring, valueless ones? You'd never do that—your emails will be packed with value and voice so people look forward to them. Your emails will deliver human connection and storytelling.
I don't want to bother my customers—won't they buy my stuff when they need it?
Sure, if they remember. But how often is that? And definitely don't bother them. Offer them value. Deepen your connection. Humanize your outreach and tap into limitless ROI.
But email marketing isn't relevant for my business.
Any business whose customers have email can benefit from email marketing—but not by half-assing it.
Email marketing builds on itself over time. With patience and nurture and long-view strategy, the ROI can be staggering.
Your customers may love you but they're not thinking about you. Constant stimulus from every screen is light-pollution to the star-chart of your website. And your competitors are ready to pounce on any google search with high-budget ads.
But emails come directly from you. It's the next best thing to bantering across the counter at your shop. Especially when social distancing has snuffed that scenario. 😷
Paul has the rare ability of understanding the mindset of customers, to create effective and persuasive content that drives them to action. In one case, I needed an email nurturing series for an international fintech audience, and within 24 hours I had working drafts. I highly recommend Quillpower for any organization that recognizes the importance of voice to engage and convert customers.
–Jenna Bos, Director of Marketing
Wake up, remember...
The cocktail bar I returned to after getting fired from teaching was having a hard time recovering from a flood that shut down business for 6 weeks. Staff were fleeing from a sinking ship—and the owner confided he was considering liquidation. I had no idea what I was going to do.
Then I realized the restaurant had hundreds of emails collected through OpenTable—so I launched the Rogue Revue newsletter to remind people we existed, to tell cocktail stories and feature regulars, to sell t-shirts and events...
Guests started returning and things were looking up. By summer's end we'd rebuilt the business enough to get an offer. The exhausted owner took the deal and retired to what he'd always wanted to do: quietly making cocktails.
For me it was a glimpse at the power of email marketing, and fueled my launch into Quillpower and customer's journey copywriting.
Now I help creative businesses tap that power to improve their customers' lives—with the delightful side effect of stacking more cash.
Your brand voice is honed. Your website tells your story. What comes next?
If you're not sending emails your market is only half tapped.
Email is the most powerful form of digital marketing—and the most complex. Even more than subject lines and storyselling, effective email campaigns are built on strategy and technique.
Like all marketing, direct emailing is a numbers game.
List size, open rate, click rate, purchase rate—it's a cascade effect. Boost one, boost all. Good news is, tools abound for boosting those numbers.
Yet how many newsletters don't even send an immediate welcome email? Within 5 minutes of checking my inbox and coming up dry, I've forgotten about it and moved on to other things.
Out of inbox, out of mind. Lost forever in the endless riptide of my promotions folder.
Sure it's a lot to keep track of. And all that writing takes time and forethought. But the ROI is worth it.
Email marketing has 3 main purposes:
Direct outreach and news
Constant contact and fountain of value
Sell some shit
Want a workbench of email powertools?
Irresistible lead magnets trading freebies for emails
Automated welcome emails for each opt-in and signup form
Re-engagement emails for neglected lists and unresponsive members
Educational nurture sequences driving traffic to your site and blog
Targeted promo sequences building value and revealing exclusive deals
Re-offers and bonus value triggered by user action (or inaction)
Note: even the best tools are only as good as the hands that wield. Organization and strategy come first. But without good storytelling, it's all shiny shells with nothing inside. If eyes don't move down the page, your call to action goes unseen—and nothing will happen. Problems unsolved.
For truly effective email campaigns
you need pro copywriting.
I'm a novelist. I'm not happy without a whole narrative arc laid out before me, with all its juicy tangents and cliffhangers.
Writing for clients I take the same approach. Your Ideal Customer Avatar is the main character in a choose your own adventure about having a better life.
Too many marketing emails extol the product or the discount—forgetting that copywriting is about the customer. And the experience they're not having yet. In other words: the benefits.
My background in character-driven narrative uniquely prepares me for finding those benefits and transmuting them to gold.
Follow me to the treasure!
Let emails map our way.
Ready for serious ROI? Get it with Quillpower:
Sequence strategy and storyboarding
Opt-in magnets and freebies
High-performing A/B subject lines
Industry-topping open rates and click %
Tailored to your needs
The list goes on—and every project is different.
First we'll have a 10-minute call about your goals and expectations. Then we'll talk about talking further.
Ready to quillpower your email list?
We struggled for a long time with how to announce the new head of our Nantucket office to clients and contractors. Paul came in and wrote exactly the newsletter we were picturing. He nailed it.
–Heather Goodnow, PR Head
Woodmeister Master Builders
Get inboxed where it's warm and cozy.
Direct Marketing has always been the best way to sell products and services. That used to mean door-to-door hustle. Nowadays it means vying for attention in a crowded inbox.
Either way it's all about storytelling and human connection.
The power of modern email platforms is segmented targeting. Just like the customer's journey funnels on your website, the more specific and personalized the better.
Platforms like ConvertKit make it easier than ever to segment your email list by activity, location, product, demographic...whatever helps you customize your customer's experience.
Offer value and stories tailored to their needs, and people will open wallets and pay your bills.
Step 1: Discovery & Ideation
We'll start with a 10-minute call about your goals and expectations for email outreach. If it makes sense to move forward, I'll put together an outline of ideas for your project. Together we'll develop this into a strategy and a scope of work, supporting a contract.