This Email Needs an Emergency Root Canal

Email copy clinic is in session.

Recently I was working with an entrepreneur, who I’ll call Sam.

Sam has a 7-figure business providing marketing services for small businesses—mostly dentists.

He’s a superstar marketer in a lot of ways—but his autoresponder sequence is a massive pile of fail.

That’s why he was talking to me.

Dentists sign up for his email list, all hot and bothered to try out his service, and he hits them with a half dozen emails trying to get them to call for a free consultation…

But they don’t.

Instead they ignore his emails and just kinda hang out for 6 months (or they unsubscribe), and maybe they eventually get around to calling him.

Pretty anemic.

So I decided to mystery shop his email list to see what I could see.

And even though I KNEW how great this service was, when I got these emails, I felt my own enthusiasm die a quick death.

Here’s one of ’em:

Subject: What gives?

Hey Josh! I saw that you hadn’t signed up for my webinar yet, what gives? This is good stuff! This webinar is a great piece of education for any business owner, entrepreneur, or dentist. You really shouldn’t miss it! I just wanted to make sure you know what I am going to cover.

So, where to begin…

The subject line isn’t bad—it’s one of those blind, personal-sounding subject lines that gets people to open the email out of raw curiosity.

Then the email jumps right in and starts talking about Sam and his kick-butt awesome webinar that you just have to check out and ZZZzzz…

Huh? Wha?!? Oh, sorry. Dozed off and drooled all over my keyboard there.

In just 5 short sentences, this email manages to be boring, hype-y AND vaguely insulting.

The only thing good about this email is—it’s short.

There’s no information, no story, no emotion, no grab-me-by-the-throat benefits.

Nothing that makes me as a “I-play-one-on-the-Internet” dentist want to read any further.

And even if I don’t click the Unsubscribe link, I’ve just mentally unsubscribed from Sam’s list.

Here’s the first part of an email I put together for him:

Subject: Collect an extra $5,334 a month (no selling required)

Hey Josh,

How often do you hear your patients say, “Hmmm, let me think about it for a few days.”

It’s mind-boggling—why do patients always seem to wait until their teeth are falling out of their head before they’ll take you seriously?

Recently I talked to a dentist who found easy solution, though.

His team made one tiny change to the patient check-in process, and their case acceptance jumped by 8% practically overnight.

NO sleazy sales scripts required.

The doc just walked in, presented the treatment, and the patients pulled out their checkbooks.

For a typical practice, that’s an extra $64,008 a year—or more—with no additional legwork.

So what was the change?


The subject line here combines a benefit (extra income) with something dentists universally despise—selling. Dentists want to be seen as respected professionals, and they find the idea of selling patients on treatments… distasteful.

Then I jump straight into a scenario they face every day—patients who only do the bare minimum that their insurance will cover, even if the delay will cause more problems down the road.

And I promise an easy solution, based on actual results from one of Sam’s clients.

Notice how many times I talked about Sam, his webinar or his service?

It’s ALL about the prospect, and the things that warm his little dentist heart.

That’s how you keep people reading your emails—talk about what matters to THEM.

Johnny - August 30, 2015

Hey Josh,

Nice short blog post. This little peace of writing gave me a dick-slap on what I need to do my self. I’m into a big rebranding and shift in what I work with. I have been a webdesigner for years, but are gradually moving away from that. Into coaching again. Part of my voice is to show awesomeness. And I know my content can be more of that. Especially my e-mail autoresponders.

Maybe you would laugh at them. Or would you be a little impressed to be my first series? …

Signet up. So I can improve 🙂

Thank you for this lesson.

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