This Simple Story Driven Email Formula Sells Stuff

I have a confession…

I’m not a ‘writer’ -writer. I have no formal writing training. I’m entirely self-taught. I’m just an average schlub with big goals.

And I got really tired of all the ‘marketing bros’ out there. You know, the people who milk you for every penny once you buy their gateway product. These people are rampant online.

Honestly, as a creative professional I didn’t want to do business that way. I hate the ‘used car salesman’ approach to sales and marketing.

I don’t like feeling pressured to buy the things I want.

Instead, I want to make the decision on my own. In the timeframe I choose. When I feel the moment is right and I trust the person on the other end of the transaction.

As an email expert I’m on a lot of lists. Like, a lot… So, I see all the current methods people use to try and sell their work.

Most creators have a serious issue (not you, of course, but the others). These creators have a chronic problem of forgetting what it’s like to be a customer as soon as they try to sell their work.

They get all markety.

They talk about themselves a lot.

And they forget what it’s like to be the person on the other side.

Customers have questions:

  • Will this work for me?
  • Why should I trust you?
  • Who are you, anyway?
  • What kind of transformation will I get if I buy your thing?
  • I don’t want to look stupid to my loved ones if I make this purchase

Our customers make their buying decisions with their emotions.

But most creators aren’t sending emails that address these emotions. They get all clinical and boring. They send emails that read like a catalog description, or some coupon book they might get in their junk mail.

The solution?


Not just any story either, but personal stories, told through the lens of the business owner. Stories help make the customer feel safe. You illustrate a lesson in an entertaining way, but the email doesn’t feel like marketing.

Email stories (done right) are fun. They’re fun to write and fun to read.

I developed a secret weapon for boring email.

I call this the B-SEC formula. It stands for:

  • Bang
  • Story
  • Enrich
  • Close

You start each email with a Big Bang, transition into a personal story, enrich the reader with a little lesson, and offer your product at the end.

This way, even if the customer doesn’t buy anything from you today, her time wasn’t wasted.

She got a little entertainment.

She got to learn something that didn’t feel like learning.

So, tomorrow, it’s more-likely she’ll open your email again.

Treat your email readers the way you want to be treated. Not the way the marketing bros like to treat people. We want to build lifetime customers. This kind of trusting relationship takes time.

In order to build that relationship you need to show that you’re a regular person too. You have flaws and quirks just like your customers.

When you show you’re a regular person your clients will learn to believe that your products will work for them too. All you have to do is share your personal stories.

These don’t have to be crazy, wild stories. Any little story will do. Then, transition that story to a lesson and an offer. If you connect with your reader at the moment she’s ready to buy, she will.

If not, your regular connection with readers will always be there the moment they are ready to take action, not the moment you are ready to sell something.

Story driven email marketing is a game-changer. After 20+ years of marketing and email experience I can honestly tell you when I made the switch to storytelling my income tripled.

That’s my experience. I can’t say what will happen for you, but I will say it’s worth giving the B-SEC formula a try with your own customers.

Your email list is the most-important marketing vehicle in your creative practice.

When you’re ready to grow your email list I have something special, just for you…

My Tribe 1K Email Masterclass is a $97 value (with all the templates and checklists included). Enroll today:

August Birch (AKA the Book Mechanic) is a writer and creative marketing coach from Michigan, USA. As an email marketing expert for writers and creators, August helps indie creators make work that sells and sell more work they make. When he’s not writing or thinking about writing, August hangs-out with his beautiful wife and handsome son, carries a pocket knife, and shaves his head with a safety razor.

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