What Types Of Stories Should You Tell In Your Emails?

Got two emails recently that I wanted to share.

The first email is about a sales page I wrote where I told a story about a frustrated developer that I called “Mike”:

I told a friend of mine about what you guys were doing. So they checked out your site and your “learn anything” product.

They said that “Mike” sounds like me.

I've known this person for years we worked very closely together.

So I read it, it was spooky, the technologies and the order and consideration were right on the money.

I've heard about writing and knowing your audience to the point they feel you are talking directly to them.

But this is the first time I've actually experienced it, frankly it was kinda spooky.

This second email is about a different sales page where I tell about a time when my business partner John nearly got in a fistfight with his boss during one miserable consulting gig:

That makes me think of a gig I had once that paid exactly the same rate.

Company was scamming its clients too. In my case, I was trying to work out home loan paperwork because we'd just sold our house and were trying to get a new one (after the new one we were supposed to get fell through).

Dude (not the boss) got in my face and yelled at me when I was on lunch break on my phone, trying to make it so that my family would actually have somewhere to live in a month and kept yelling while I was talking to the loan officer. I actually had to threaten to hurt him to get him to back off.

And the reason for the yelling?

Yeah, his company had lied to their client and told them that stuff was done that hadn't been started yet and they wanted me to work 80 hours a week to cover it. They bragged about how frequently they had to get onto developers for logging more than 85 hours a week, which was against company policy. I got carpal tunnel symptoms.

I was later scapegoated and terminated when the inevitable failure happened (my rates went up afterward). A year after, I applied at their client for another gig, at which point I found out that they had continued trash-talking me. Unfortunately for them, I had the emails where they as much as admitted that they had lied…

It's amazing to me how all these sort of stories have the same vibe. It makes me wonder how many of these sort of setups are still out there and how much human misery they cause.

One question that comes up a lot when I talk about using stories in emails is:

What types of stories should I tell?

My advice on this is:

As much as possible, tell stories that a.) mirror your prospect's experiences and b.) relate as closely as possible to the problems you solve for your customers.

Yes, it's fine to mix it up with the occasional funny story about your kid, or some quirky hobby you have.

Those can help you connect too.

Nothing builds trust faster though than eliciting the reactions you see in those two emails.

And when you get your subscribers to go, “Wow, this sounds EXACTLY like me…”

They've just taking a *giant* step closer to becoming paying customers.