A 6-yr-old’s guide to writing persuasive emails

Let me share a brief story.

This story is 100% true and illustrates a rule of good copy.  Fail to do this, and dollars will leak from your emails like sand from a bucket with a hole in the bottom.  Do this, and it will instantly make your emails more persuasive.

The other day, as we were headed to school, my 6-year old daughter Olivia was giving her old man all kinds of grief.  She didn’t want to wear tights under her jeans.  She didn’t want to put her winter boots on.

I tried gentle cajoling, “ok, please just put your boots on.”

I tried explaining it’s the coldest day of the year (-12) and she’ll freeze.

Finally, we were getting late.  So I said, “I don’t want to do this but you leave me no choice.  You have until the count of three to put those boots on or they’ll be no T.V. tonight.  One…two…”


Still no boots.  BOOM. Officially sanctioned.

Fast forward to pick up.  After some pleasant exchange she queries, “what are we gonna watch tonight?”

I reply, “nothing, remember?”

At home she asks for a sheet of paper.  She begins to write.  Every now and then she stops to ask me how to spell a word.  Here then, is her first plea bargain attempt:



And written just the way she talks, “like, c’mon Dad, ugh!!”

I tell her it’s cute and funny — great start.  But here’s the problem: it’s all about how SHE feels.

What about how I feel?

Try putting yourself in my position, I say.

Show me you understand and you’re sorry — but only if you mean it.

She watches and listens intently, eyes narrowed, then picks up her pen with a fresh piece of paper.  Again she goes to work.  She gets some spelling help on the big words but the sentiment is all hers.  Here’s attempt #2:


Much better.

(Notice the well-placed call-to-action of the yes and no boxes.)

Anyway, here’s the point…

Being cute, funny, or clever in your emails doesn’t hurt (indeed I’m using a smattering of all three right now).

But people are motivated by self-interest.

What are your market’s most fervent fears and desires?

Why should they care about what you have to say?

For more persuasive emails, then, speak to what matters to them.  And note that this has little to do the features of your service or product, and everything to do with the outcomes you create, or the problems you solve for your customers.  One of Stephen Covey’s seven habits of effective people is seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Go back and reread my second paragraph.

You’ll see how I framed my story to appeal to the reader’s self-interest.

Unfortunately, many of the newsletters I get leave it up to their subscribers to bridge that gap.

Don’t let yours be one of them.

At bedtime, Olivia said: “I learned a valuable lesson today.”


Hope you did too…

Happy Persuading,

Conor Kelly

P.S. I’m looking for one more case study to add to the collection.  If you’d like me to do all this “marketing stuff” for you, just reply “Case Study” in the comments, and I’ll get you all the details. 🙂


My new year’s resolution (sort of)

Ok, so The Conz don’t make resolutions.

But one thing I’d like to start doing more of again is going for long walks.

I walk a lot in general.

I mean the ones of the forty-minutes-or-longer variety.

I’ve got so much to do it’s easy to talk myself out of it.  And with it being winter…well, that just whips up the rationalization hamster wheel even more.  I admit I was shamed into lacing up my walking boots at least once last winter when I heard my 83-year-old clients were still getting their daily 90-minute ‘constitutional’ despite the very-sub-zero temperatures.

All that aside, I’ve found few things better for my wellbeing.

I don’t count steps.  There’s no target mileage.  I just walk.  And I watch.  I stare at things off in the distance.  I let my body tell me if I should keep going or make for home.  Another point: no treadmills allowed on this particular journey.  You see, we Homo sapiens have a primal need to be outside…and most of us city-dwelling folk don’t do it nearly enough.

By the way, I’ve found this to be a great way to come up with content – little creativity tip for ya.

Some of my best emails have been ‘direct downloads’ I channeled during a walk, and that I couldn’t type out fast enough once I sat back down at my keyboard.  I also get ideas for what to do.  Solutions to problems or puzzles I’ve been struggling with often occur to me in the same fashion.

Many great thinkers knew this little secret.  Einstein’s daily walk was sacred to him.  Darwin did three 45-minute walks per day.

What’s the point of such ramblings?

I invite you to join me in boosting the step count, if you’re not already.

It doesn’t have to be every day.

We can aim for two or three days a week.

Just do this consistently and you’ll be amazed at what happens.

Then, write me back and share your story.

I’ll be genuinely curious.

See you out there,

Conor Kelly

P.S. In my next email marketing tip (Tuesday) I reveal the #1 thing you must do in every email if you want to make sales.  Get this one thing right, and you can do pretty much do everything else wrong and still get business.

Not too late to subscribe:

Go here to subscribe to my email marketing tips.


The Governator’s secret to winning at email

I’ve been ruminating on the Arnold Schwarzenegger clip I shared earlier this week.

All the books, audios, and courses I’ve ingested have more or less turned my brain into a search bar for self-help content.  Re: Arnie’s comment on it being ok to fail, the software of my memory turned up this little ditty…

I recall someone saying that the most remarkable thing about Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx, was his ability to laugh about failure.

Whenever one of their initiatives flopped, and many did, he’d get a wry smile on his face, shake his head and go “wow that really didn’t work.”

Then he’d simply say “what next?”

During my brief stint in stand-up comedy, I wrote pages full of set ups and punchlines.  I quickly realized about 10% of it was funny.  The catch is the only way to know which 10% is to stand in front of people and let 90% of your stuff bomb.  Do that ten times and you wind up with five minutes of material that will do reasonably well with most audiences.

Call it accelerated failing.

That’s the great thing about email.  As a format, it’s very forgiving.  Most emails aren’t runaway successes.  Some might not resonate.  But there’s always the next one.  And if you have even a tiny bit of good will built up with your reader, they’ll quickly forget about any duds.

The only way you lose is if you stop.

Going back to the comedy thing for a moment, there were many times a joke landed and all I got back were crickets.  It never occurred to me those could be reasons to stop.  I just figured that was the process.

In fact, I’ll go you one further…

I embrace failing.

Because the more I fail, the smarter I get.

Besides, if that’s your approach, and every attempt results in either a win or a lesson…

Do we ever truly fail?

Happy Failing,

Conor Kelly

P.S. Go here:

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ENCORE: The TRUTH About Commitment

Tips and secrets to double your sales with email:

Go here to subscribe to Conor’s email marketing tips.

Happy New Year!

The message below is from January 2017.  It got more happy replies than almost any other email I’ve sent.

I thought you might like to read or re-read it.

And in the P.S. I’ve included more on this idea from a fella you might recognize…

Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy, and Successful 2019.


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson

With REAL commitment, there’s no debate.

There’s no longer equal opportunity for DO or DO NOT.

The decision’s been made.

(The root of the word “decide” is the latin decidere.  It literally means to kill any alternatives.)

All that remains is the steady forward march of implementation.

That’s why commitment is the ultimate ZEN.  It silences the chorus of opposition, and clears the path for unobstructed and pointed action.  It’s like water running downhill; it effortlessly curves to the shape of the terrain.

I’ve experienced real commitment only a few times.

Not because it’s hard.

Because it’s so easy it scares me.

There’s so much power in it, so much real-ness to our potential that I deign to use it only sparingly.

But I wonder sometimes where my life would be if I wasn’t afraid.

What if every decision was a FINAL decision?

Sure, you could re-evaluate long-term commitments to determine if they still serve…or make short-term commitments, and periodically re-commit…but what if, for the most part, that was that?  What if, in the Viking warrior tradition, you could burn the ships as soon as you land in new and unconquered territory? Could you gaze up the beach and know that beyond it are only two possibilities – victory or death?

All great gut check questions I’ve been asking myself as I hang up my calendar for another year.

As human beings, we’re capable of so much, yet we squander our powers.

For what?


It’s an illusion…a mere shadow of Mother Nature’s attempt to protect her children from an unpredictable ecosystem.  Safeguards placed into our brains by DNA.

We are no longer children.  We are the part of nature that is coming to know itself, and we stand face to face with the unboundedness of our existence.

We are free…

Anything is game.  There is NO certainty.  Trust me; you don’t need it anyway.  NOW is the time to find your center and live from that place.  Not fear, but opportunity.  Not what anyone says (much less what the media says), but what inspires you…

The future belongs to those who create it.

Let’s make it good.

Happy Committing,

Conor Kelly

P.S. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNpEFf0I60M

Why spellcheck might be killing your sales

Here’s a strange story for you.

A few years ago a company called Porter Stansberry Research used a plain Jane video sales letter to sell a whopping $200M worth of subscriptions to their Investment Advisory.

The video was called End of America.

(You can watch it on YouTube if you’re curious.)

I mean this thing is ghetto.

It’s black and white, and conspicuous by its lack of images…in fact, there are no graphics at all, just words.

The late, great Eugene Schwartz, the Granddaddy of the modern copywriter was famous for saying:

“The ugly thing in the world of beauty stands out.”

(The video also tells a great story, topic for another time…)

Similarly, when most businesses are sending slick-looking, branded HTML newsletters with fancy graphics, your plain text emails complete with typos and all stand out.

I’d go as far as to say that trying to make your emails ‘professional’ is the kiss of death.

For one, professional is common, drab and uninteresting.  And it screams corporate – a good way to ensure no one cares about your emails.  Finally, many of the newsletters I review are busy, click-baited hot-messes that lack a clear call to action.

The best emails are simple and personal.

Like a message from a friend.

And most people that are not corporate mouthpieces write in a conversational tone, use imperfect grammar, and can’t spell worth a dime.

As hard as it will be for the graphic designers of the world to swallow, looking good and making sales – sometimes – are competing ideals.

To learn more about how my simple email system can generate a flood of new clients for you, mosey on over here to book your stress-free brainstorm call:


Happy Misspelling,

Conor Kelly

“The Muscle” @Marketing Muscle

A better brain when you bite this bitter bean

Say my title six times in a row, fast.

I had fun with that one.

Why stop there?

That is not all.

I shall go full nerd, and to Dr. Seuss call…

As for the brain benefits, they’re a result of THIS bitter bean.

Click to allow images and you’ll see exactly what I mean.


This bitter bean is chocolate.  My favorite (pictured) much too dark.

At 100% cacao its taste is more like chewing to chew bark.

Its benefits are many, a food fit for kings and queens.

We now turn our tale to the brain and amyloid precursor proteins.

(Ol’ Seuss never had to rime that one.)

“Explain,” you say?

I will not delay:

Amyloid precursor proteins are agents of cell repair, abundant in the brain.  After the age of 25, bits of these proteins break away and form plaque buildup in nerve axons and the synapses between cells, impeding the flow of neurochemicals much like plaque in the arteries impedes blood flow.

Over time, as this plaque accumulates, it gunks up the machinery and leads to a loss in cognition and memory – even Alzheimer’s.

Polyphenols, found in chocolate (black tea is another source) have been shown to prevent this plaque from forming.  The best chocolate is organic, of course.  It doesn’t have to be 100% cacao like my Gratitude above, but the higher the better.

I recommend two squares a day of the highest percentage you still enjoy.

There you have it.

A simple brain tip – sussed out and Seuss-ed out.

Don’t forget…

When biting a bitter bean has a better brain as a benefit…

That benefit is a boon to any bright, bold believer that bites this bitter bean.

: )

Happy Chocolate Eating,

Conor Kelly

P.S.  Find out how I get my clients 3x-10x their email marketing results using simple, fun emails like this one.  Join the many that have already jumped and subscribe to my NEW newsletter with tips on how to make more sales from email (click the link below and you’ll automatically be added):

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The #1 most important line in any email

What is the most important line in any email?

I’ll give you a hint.

It’s NOT…

*your opener

*your subject line

*your call-to-action

Or even your link.

Would you like me to tell you what it is?

Ok, enough suspense.

The #1 most important part of any email is…

The sender’s name.

That’s right.

WHO the email is from matters more than almost anything else.

It’s not that things like subject lines aren’t important.  Indeed, if you know your market well (and you should) there are ways to make your subject lines almost impossible to ignore – like an itch they simply have to scratch.

But if your subscribers know, like, and trust YOU…

THAT’s what ultimately gets them to open your emails and devour your words like freshly baked cookies.

You see, intelligent email marketing is about the relationship.

And relationships are like bank accounts.

Every time you send a funny, inspiring, or personal note with a story, a relevant tip, or an interesting fact, you make a deposit.

(And the great thing about email is it’s easy to make REGULAR deposits.)

If all you do pitch, pitch, pitch… or you’re (gasp!) boring…or if your emails are about your product or service and not your reader’s problems… you make a withdrawal.  Then you risk your sendee losing interest or worse, tuning you out altogether.

On the other hand, when the relationship account is sporting a healthy balance, the people on your list who vibe with what you do will be delighted to see your name in bold when it pops up in their inbox.  “More cookies, yay!” is what bubbles up from their subconscious.

Then, not only are you welcome to send them more emails, but you can sell them more of your service or product via said emails.

See how that works?

That’s accounting I like.

Remember, lead with a giving hand and you won’t go too far from the mark.

Before you hit send, ask yourself, “Will this serve in some way”?

Happy Depositing,

Conor Kelly

P.S.  Find out how I get my clients 3x-10x their sales by sending simple fun emails like this one.  Schedule your Email Income Consultation today by replying to this email or going here: