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Sales Email Case Study

The anatomy of a profitable email that boosted a new Kickstarter to 100k+

Today I've got a real treat for you.


A detailed case study about an awesome sales email written by myself - that managed to take an already successful Kickstarter project to a whole new level.


At the end of the day, the project received funding in excess of $102,000 and managed to beat original projections multiple times!


Before we dive into the juicy details, there are 2 things I'd like to mention first:


1 - The campaign had solid foundations right from the start.


In fact, I've been working with this company on refining their vision & mission, ensuring that the campaign's message reflected their highly-revered brand values.


Needless to say, this is extremely important, and building a solid foundation FIRST should be the top priority for anyone looking to create a successful sales campaign.


2 - The company had a small, 900 person email list.


And even though this wasn't really an active list, it proved yet again that having an email list is an extremely powerful asset - one that can make a real difference to your bottom line.


In fact, think of your email list like your own private 'ace in the hole'


So with that said, let's get into the email itself.

The Full Sales Email

Subject line: Remember your grandfather?



Hi [NAME],


My grandfather was the hardest working person I knew.


My head starts spinning just thinking about how relentless he was in his passion.


Because, when he dreamt of something, he didn’t rest until he found a way to turn it into reality.


Quality, respect and craftsmanship”, he always kept saying, and rightfully so, because he was a proud descendant of a family of Master Watchmakers.


Always trying to craft something based on Swiss heritage, he went to painstaking lengths to ensure that he gathered the highest quality raw materials he could get his hands on!


Not surprisingly, I was always fascinated by his work ethic and deep belief in the need for character, integrity, and honesty.


And I always tried to live my life according to the same principles and to also run my business like I live my life - with quality and respect.


In fact, you being an exclusive member of our club know precisely that Rebel was born out of this vision as well!


So, stepping into the shoes of my grandfather and never backing down, I created a brand that combines timeless heritage with a modern take on the masculine style, with 2 objectives:


>> Objective #1: I wanted to create stunning, exclusive timepieces that are bold over boring and made to Swiss standards, without breaking the bank.

 

>> Objective #2: I wanted to fill the painful gap in what was offered on the market compared to what was needed for someone bold living on the edge – for the Rebel Man.


And now here we are.


If you have ever felt the same way about life, I have wonderful news for you…


My childhood dream has been finally turned into reality (in no small part thanks to our fiercely loyal Rebel fans).


Our ultimate watch, the Rebel Aquafin got its very own successful Kickstarter campaign, with over 187 backers and counting!


Check out why the Rebel Aquafin blows any other watch out of the water (yes, pun intended!)


  • It’s entirely Swiss Made, having the same rigorous quality standards as the best watches in the world
  • It’s a robust beast, crafted from marine-grade 316L stainless steel
  • Powered by the tried and tested Sellita SW-200 automatic workhorse movement. You know what other brands use basically the same movement? Tissot, Hamilton and even Tag Heuer!
  • It’s a serious dive watch with 300M water resistance, screw down crown and case-back.
  • It has a completely scratch-resistant sapphire crystal domed front (with AR coating) AND see-through back so that you won’t have to deal with any reflections whatsoever
  • We also made sure that it has blindingly bright Superluminova, for maximum legibility.

…and there are MANY more awesome features on the campaign page.


But above all else, the limited-edition, exclusive Rebel Aquafin symbolizes self-confidence and badass style, speaking to the inner rebel in each and every one of us!


And you can’t put a price on that...


You won’t find such a badass watch with killer features like these anywhere else, especially for the mind-boggling price of only $489!


As an additional bonus, we also decided to toss in a free DLC coating (diamond-like carbon) for EVERYONE, once we hit the $125k mark, and we’re already over $100k!


I promise you: You’ve never seen an exclusive timepiece so eye-catching.

 

So bold. 


So irresistibly dominating.

 

A watch that expresses your masculine individuality, sets you apart from the rest, and becomes your loyal companion in your quest to make your unique style shine!


Plus, it’s made to the highest-quality Swiss standards, crafted from the sturdiest materials and designed with the help of world-class designers.

 

We wanted to go all in with it, to leave no stone left unturned. 


To give you the best.

 

And now here it is.


I know you’ll be astonished by how crazy-good this watch looks and feels on your wrist (Don’t be surprised if friends and family comment on how gorgeous and premium it looks!)


See for yourself.


However, let me be very clear about one thing…


The Aquafin is strictly a limited-edition exclusive watch.

 

In fact, we only plan on manufacturing 350 pieces in total and in 3 days our campaign is over. And once it’s over, it’s over for good!


And let me tell you why we do this...


Because bold people take ACTION. And that’s why this watch is only for the brave who take action and heed the call, marching forward.


We will probably never produce any more Aquafins after this, only the limited numbers for our select campaign backers.


If at this point you are still hesitant, then perhaps it’s okay to back down. People do it all the time.


However, if you want a worthy companion to the rebel inside you, here’s the chance.

 

What are you going to do with it?


If you’re interested in reserving your own personalized Aquafin and unleashing its boldness on the world, you should probably do so NOW, while you still can!


Get your badass Aquafin TODAY! [LINK EMBEDDED IN BOLD TEXT]


Here’s to you,


[name]


REBEL TIME


P.S. Remember, you won’t find such a badass watch with all these amazing features anywhere else. Get it today for only $489! [LINK EMBEDDED IN BOLD TEXT]


P.S.S Be sure to move fast because there are only 3 days left from the campaign. After that, I don’t think we’ll do another batch ever. Once this set is gone, it’s gone. Reserve your personalized Aquafin NOW![LINK IN EMBEDDED IN BOLD TEXT]


Phew, that was a long one...


As you can see, this email is almost 1000 words!


That's a lot. Especially for an email.


However, think about this for a second: most of the typical 'vanilla' emails people send are only a few hundred words long - and usually only filled with promotional content.


They don't hook reader's attention, apart from discounts (which can get old and lose their power surprisingly quickly).


They don't connect with the reader on an emotional level (and we ALWAYS make decisions based on emotions - only then do we justify our decisions with logic).


They don't build enough desire with juicy features & benefits.


And they don't have sufficiently powerful Call to Actions towards the end.


Notice how the final part of the email goes into hardcore selling mode - yet this is OK since the audience has been warmed up beforehand.


In fact, this is one of the areas where a lot of people miss out. 


They're afraid to sell.


They don't want to make the final part 'too aggressive'.


And while this is a perfectly legitimate concern in a lot of cases, the thing is that IF you're offering something of true value AND you've warmed up your readers emotionally... THEN you should definitely go hard on selling.


Why?


Because you're offering a genuine product that can give real value to people. It's your responsibility to give them a reason to buy - because otherwise they probably won't.


It's just human nature.

LESSONS SO FAR

  • check
    It's OK if a sales email is longer and has a length of 1000+ words
  • check
    You need to warm up your readers emotionally before asking for the sale
  • check
    Once you've build rapport and have a genuine product to sell, you NEED to give them a reason to buy

The Rebel Sales Email Dissected


THE ATTENTION-GRABBING SUBJECT LINE

Subject line: Remember your grandfather?

Just as with headlines, the subject line is often written last, after you've completed the email body.


Why is that?


Actually, the answer is pretty simple: because you need a subject line that leads directly to your hook. And you need a hook that ultimately leads to your offer.


You see, your offer is basically the most important aspect of a sales email.


So much so that copywriters often start with the offer (or even the call to action) and then work backward to come up with something that seamlessly leads to this offer.


Think of it like a slippery slope.


The reader starts reading the subject line, and they become drawn into your copy, paragraph by paragraph, line by line.


Each line's objective is to get the reader to read the next one. And so on.


Therefore the subject line has a tough job to do: invite the reader on a journey that puts them on this slippery slope.


It starts their own story, either with a value proposition or intrigue (usually the latter).


In fact, the reason I chose 'Remember your grandfather?' as a subject line was because it's intriguing and it ties in perfectly with my hook.


Plus people would never expect such a thing in their email inbox.


THE POWERFUL HOOK

Hi [NAME],


My grandfather was the hardest working person I knew.


My head starts spinning just thinking about how relentless he was in his passion.


Because, when he dreamt of something, he didn’t rest until he found a way to turn it into reality.


“Quality, respect and craftsmanship”, he always kept saying, and rightfully so, because he was a proud descendant of a family of Master Watchmakers.


Always trying to craft something based on Swiss heritage, he went to painstaking lengths to ensure that he gathered the highest quality raw materials he could get his hands on!

BOOM, we're inside the email!


Congratulations for reading this far 🙂


First thing's first, I started with a personal greeting. This is very typical of autoresponders, so nothing special here. It usually works great.


After greeting them, I immediately went into my hook, designed to grab their attention and keep it.


Notice how, instead of talking about my client or his company, I started the email by talking about his own grandfather.


Not only that, but I highlighted a few of his personal qualities that I knew were important to the audience - and that resonates with the brand's image itself. 


In fact, while developing the voice of Rebel (the brand), we deliberately chose these qualities as aspirational symbols: relentless, passion, quality, respect, craftsmanship, heritage, high quality.


These words didn't end up in the email by chance; they were deliberately chosen to reflect Rebel's values. 


Why?


Because people LOVE associating themselves with idealized stories from the past. These seem 'pure' and 'genuine'... as if people were somehow more 'honorable' and 'just' back then.


We don't exactly know if this is true or not, but it works wonders regardless - especially for watch brands!


Not only that, but by talking about these concepts in an emotional story, readers are also more likely to subconsciously link them to Rebel itself. 


And that's what we want!


In other words: people know this is just a story, yet they automatically start associating the values discussed in it with the watch itself.


And this is VERY powerful.


THE SMOOTH TRANSITION

Not surprisingly, I was always fascinated by his work ethic and deep belief in the need for character, integrity, and honesty.


And I always tried to live my life according to the same principles and to also run my business like I live my life - with quality and respect.


In fact, you being an exclusive member of our club know precisely that Rebel was born out of this vision as well!


So, stepping into the shoes of my grandfather and never backing down, I created a brand that combines timeless heritage with a modern take on the masculine style, with 2 objectives:


>> Objective #1: I wanted to create stunning, exclusive timepieces that are bold over boring and made to Swiss standards, without breaking the bank.

 

>> Objective #2: I wanted to fill the painful gap in what was offered on the market compared to what was needed for someone bold living on the edge for the Rebel Man.

After the hook has grabbed the reader's attention, the next objective is to funnel them towards the offer.


However, we can't just do that because the email will look forced - as if the grandfather's story was only inserted to hijack attention.


So the best way to ensure people make the proper link from hook to offer is by using a transition.


Now, there isn't really a clear-cut formula or science to this. A great transition needs some creativity and its main goal is to link the hook with the offer. Basically, that's it.


So in this case, I came up with a transition that further reinforces Rebel's values and presents the grandfather's life philosophy as the same driving force behind my client.


But I took it one step further by saying: 'I always tried to live my life according to the same principles and to also run my business like I live my life - with quality and respect.'


This accomplishes 2 things:


  • 1 - It subconsciously links all the built up positive values with Rebel
  • 2 - It instantly makes my client look like his honorable grandfather

And from here on, I have a much easier time transitioning to the offer because I've built respect and credibility in the eyes of the reader.


However, before I get there, there are still a few more things to do.


First, there's a 'transition within the transition', to keep everything smooth.


And second, I present 2 ideas that are basically re-statements of Rebel's value proposition. This is important because it primes and pre-qualifies people for what's about to come: a juicy offer that will fill their hearts with desire!


THE IRRESISTIBLE OFFER

And now here we are.


If you have ever felt the same way about life, I have wonderful news for you…


My childhood dream has been finally turned into reality (in no small part thanks to our fiercely loyal Rebel fans).


Our ultimate watch, the Rebel Aquafin got its very own successful Kickstarter campaign, with over 187 backers and counting!


Check out why the Rebel Aquafin blows any other watch out of the water (yes, pun intended!)


  • It’s entirely Swiss Made, having the same rigorous quality standards as the best watches in the world
  • It’s a robust beast, crafted from marine-grade 316L stainless steel
  • Powered by the tried and tested Sellita SW-200 automatic workhorse movement. You know what other brands use basically the same movement? Tissot, Hamilton and even Tag Heuer!
  • It’s a serious dive watch with 300M water resistance, screw down crown and case-back.
  • It has a completely scratch-resistant sapphire crystal domed front (with AR coating) AND see-through back so that you won’t have to deal with any reflections whatsoever
  • We also made sure that it has blindingly bright Superluminova, for maximum legibility.

…and there are MANY more awesome features on the campaign page.


But above all else, the limited-edition, exclusive Rebel Aquafin symbolizes self-confidence and badass style, speaking to the inner rebel in each and every one of us!


And you can’t put a price on that...


You won’t find such a badass watch with killer features like these anywhere else, especially for the mind-boggling price of only $489!


After the hook has grabbed the reader's attention, the next objective is to funnel them towards the offer.


In this case, that's the Rebel Aquafin, a premium automatic watch.


However, instead of just putting it out there like 'Ok, here's your watch, go buy it', I took one more step to relate this offer to the audience and their aspirations - and pre-emptively thank them for being a part of this.


Such a gesture is a great way to build positive rapport in the reader and also create future-pacing (by assuming that they become fiercely loyal fans).


In addition, I also took great care to introduce social proofing in a very understated way (187 backers and counting).


Only then did I arrive at the part with the features & benefits.


Let's talk a bit more about features & benefits because there seems to be quite a lot of misunderstanding around them.


Normally, copywriters argue that the more benefits you present, the better. And this is absolutely true, 95% of the time.


In fact, the distinction between features & benefits is such a biggie in copywriting, and so many people confuse the two that I'm going to include a separate note on it...

FEATURES VS. BENEFITS

What's the difference between the two?


It's quite simple: features are the blocks of what your product can do. These can describe the physical elements, characteristics, observable static aspects, technical descriptions, size, or shape of a product.


On the other hand, benefits “translate” these features into actual benefits that personally affect your reader or make their lives better.


For example, a benefit might be something that tastes good, gives satisfaction, allows fast and easy results, saves times or money, makes money, allows peace of mind, and so on...


The idea is that people can personally identify with benefits because let’s be honest: they don’t care about the features of your product...


They only care about what these features can do for THEM!

So remember to write about benefits, and not just (often technical) features - unless...


...You have a warmed-up audience in a specialized niche that's crazy about specs.


And the premium watch market is usually such a niche.


So I decided to go a bit heavier on features, while still taking care to describe several benefits as well.


Why did I do this?


Because here's the thing: people who want to purchase a specialized Swiss dive watch that costs $500+ do CARE about specialized features - very much!


And that's exactly why I've highlighted the fact that this watch is:


--> Durable (made from 316L steel)

--> Has a proven mechanism (Sellita SW-200)

--> Is a serious dive watch (300m water resistance)

--> Includes sweet extras (sapphire crystal, SuperLuminova)


And then... I 'translated' these features into the ultimate benefits this niche is looking for (based on our customer research): self-confidence and badass style, speaking to the inner rebel in each and every one of us!


And this is basically a 'coup de grâce' for ANYONE even remotely interested in this watch.


If they're interested, they're going to want to know more, and now their desire-o-meter is FULL!


So this the perfect place to mention the price.


Only $489.


Everything has been leading up to this point.


And right now, they can have ALL of these juicy benefits... for only $489, which is an extremely attractive price for such a watch.


​REINFORCING THE OFFER WITH EVEN MORE BENEFITS

As an additional bonus, we also decided to toss in a free DLC coating (diamond-like carbon) for EVERYONE, once we hit the $125k mark, and we’re already over $100k!


I promise you: You’ve never seen an exclusive timepiece so eye-catching.

 

So bold.

 

So irresistibly dominating.

 

A watch that expresses your masculine individuality, sets you apart from the rest, and becomes your loyal companion in your quest to make your unique style shine!


Plus, it’s made to the highest-quality Swiss standards, crafted from the sturdiest materials and designed with the help of world-class designers.

 

We wanted to go all in with it, to leave no stone left unturned.


To give you the best.

 

And now here it is.


I know you’ll be astonished by how crazy-good this watch looks and feels on your wrist (Don’t be surprised if friends and family comment on how gorgeous and premium it looks!)


See for yourself.

Alright.


The offer has been presented.


The price has been revealed.


Now it's time to make this offer even more compelling by building more desire in the reader.


So first, I introduced an additional bonus (free DLC coating).


Then, I went on to paint an ideal, almost dream-like picture of how the reader's life will be once they own this watch.


It's going to be bold, dominating, masculine, unique - things that this target market values VERY much.


Not only that but if they get this watch, they'll forever raise out of mediocrity and become the very BEST!


Remember, the objective at this point is to build as much desire as possible.


In fact, John Carlton, a.k.a. the 'most ripped-off copywriter of all time' said it best:

John Carlton
"Be the one thing your prospect reads today that gets his blood pumping and makes him crave what you’re selling. His adrenaline levels won’t go down until he’s sent you money."

John Carlton

Remember, at this point whatever you're selling is like the reader's opium: They want it. They desire it. They CRAVE it.


So at the end of this part, I also included even more future pacing and some NLP copywriting techniques as well (but more on using NLP patterns in another article).


OK, so everything is laid out perfectly and they should buy the watch already, right?


Not really. There's a problem.


And the problem is this: People are more willing to walk away from an offer then to buy it.


Let me explain...



​​RAISE THE STAKES WITH FOMO & SCARCITY

However, let me be very clear about one thing


The Aquafin is strictly a limited-edition exclusive watch.

 

In fact, we only plan on manufacturing 350 pieces in total and in 3 days our campaign is over. And once it’s over, it’s over for good!


And let me tell you why we do this...


Because bold people take ACTION. And that’s why this watch is only for the brave who take action and heed the call, marching forward.


We will probably never produce any more Aquafins after this, only the limited numbers for our select campaign backers.


If at this point you are still hesitant, then perhaps it’s okay to back down. People do it all the time.


However, if you want a worthy companion to the rebel inside you, here’s the chance.

 

What are you going to do with it?

At this point, you've grabbed the reader's attention, you've hooked them emotionally, you've presented the offer, and you've even built up blood-pumping desire...


So can you FINALLY ask for the sale already?


Well, you *could*... but your results would be mediocore.


And here at Game of Conversions, we don't settle for 'good enough' when it comes to sales emails.


So there's one more step before asking specifically for the sale: FOMO.


Or in other words, the fear of missing out.


And this, dear reader... is our nuclear ace in the hole!


You see, human nature usually strives for instant gratification, yet people seem to have several inbuilt mechanisms that STOP them from making a concrete decision once they have something to lose.


As it turns out,  parting from our hard-earned cash is neurologically the same as physical pain.


Of course, there is some variation from person to person, but it's safe to assume that most people will be on the fence when it comes to actually asking for the sale.


So the best way to 'knock 'em off the fence' is to use scarcity tactics.


Not dishonest, fake scarcity - but actual, REAL scarcity.


In this case, I had an easy way to implement genuine scarcity because Rebel was only offering a single batch of 350 pieces. 


That's some real scarcity right there... Imagine our reader being pumped-up with desire for the watch. They're practically salivating over it - the only problem is the price.


Yet even if you offer them the best deal of their lives, most people will still hesitate and put off the purchase for later; ​they'll just think 'Yeah, I think I'll just buy it tomorrow'


But they rarely do.


Life gets in the way, plain and simple.


So you gotta grab them while they're desire level is at its maximum.


In order to do this, I give readers the real reason why stocks are limited (while being as transparent as possible - people LOVE this!).


However, before dropping the scarcity-bomb, I also do something clever...


...I deliberately call out the 'Rebel' inside of them - based on all the values mentioned so far.


'Because bold people take ACTION. And that’s why this watch is only for the brave who take action and heed the call, marching forward.'


Remember, most of the email was based around building up these masculine values, so people feel that this watch WILL change their lives and transform them into their ideal self.


Now it's time to call this out and give people a psychological ultimatum:


If they buy, they prove that they are bold and are worthy of becoming a member of the 'Rebel family'.


And if they don't buy, that means they're not serious enough at this time (and that's completely fine).


At least we know that we've exhausted every possibility. And this is actually quite liberating.


I end this part of the email with an open-ended question: What are you going to do with it?


Questions such as these usually work very well for knocking people off the fence, and you should definitely use this technique whenever you can.


DO ASK FOR THE SALE

If you’re interested in reserving your own personalized Aquafin and unleashing its boldness on the world, you should probably do so NOW, while you still can!


Get your badass Aquafin TODAY! [LINK EMBEDDED IN BOLD TEXT]


Here’s to you,


[name]


REBEL TIME


P.S. Remember, you won’t find such a badass watch with all these amazing features anywhere else. Get it today for only $489! [LINK EMBEDDED IN BOLD TEXT]


P.S.S Be sure to move fast because there are only 3 days left from the campaign. After that, I don’t think we’ll do another batch ever. Once this set is gone, it’s gone. Reserve your personalized Aquafin NOW![LINK IN EMBEDDED IN BOLD TEXT]

Last step: the Call to Action.


The most important part of the entire email.


In fact, to give you a sense of just how incredibly important this is, think of the entire email as basically a lead-up to the call to action.


That's right, the hook, the offer, the desire building, all the psychological techniques were just tools to get people to click the Call to Action button/link.


So at this point, you don't want to be 'that guy' who assumes people will buy just because the email has done its job so far.


They won't.


Seriously, DO ask for the sale because a lot of people won't automatically take the step you want them to take. So you help them. You make this whole thing as frictionless as possible.


This is YOUR time to finally ask them to buy. Were all this work pays off. Where interested people click through.


If you've done a good job with the rest of the email, you shouldn't feel bad at this part: it's totally okay to ask for the sale if you're offering something of genuine value


You WILL NOT become a 'sell-out' and you WILL NOT become 'aggressive'. Period.


Of course, there will always be trolls, haters and tire kickers who will try to blame you for selling something, but don't worry about them: they will never ever buy anyone and they feed on drama.


The final few lines of the email are just CTA's nested in different forms. 


The first CTA is a regular ask, the second one mentally reinforces all the benefits, and the third one taps into the fear of missing out one last time.


Copywriters do this because you never know which angle gives the final push to a reader. So the best thing to do is to simply include 2-3 different angles, while also leveraging the power of the PS (making its content the last thing people see). 


And after the PS, we're basically done with the email.


Congratulations for sticking with me this far.

CONCLUSION


And there you have it. 


An in-depth case study about dissecting a profitable sales email - one that helped fund an already promising Kickstarter project to an impressive $102,000 (beating the original target multiple times and ending up at 250%).


So what are the most important takeaways here?


First, before writing a sales email, make sure you know the basics of what your target market cares about. What are their pains, fears, hopes, and dreams? What keeps them up at night? What resonates with them emotionally?


Second, a good sales email needs to have a bullet-proof structure - one that instantly grabs the reader's attention and elegantly guides them toward your call to action. Direct-response copywriting techniques make a HUGE difference here, so you should definitely write the email body from a copywriter's perspective.


In this case, the main structure was the following:


  • check
    Interrupt them with an unexpected, attention grabbing subject line.
  • check
    Start with a compelling hook that connects with the reader at an emotional level
  • check
    Have a smooth transition between the hook and the offer (that doesn't feel forced)
  • check
    Present an irresistible offer, listing the most desirable benefits
  • check
    Build up desire that gets their juices flowing and blood pumping
  • check
    Add strategic (and genuine) scarcity and Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) 
  • check
    Close with an explicit, powerful call to action

Third, remember, people will put off their buying decision if you don't give them a sufficiently powerful reason to buy now. You have to knock them off the fence by introducing scarcity, and explicitly telling them what to do next with a direct call to action.


Finally, don't be afraid to sell people when they covertly 'want you to sell them'. If you have a great product, your intentions are genuine, and you can give value to people - then you have absolutely nothing to worry about! In fact, it's kind of your duty to sell them the thing that can actually make their lives better.


Use these concepts while writing your own sales emails and you'll no doubt experience a dramatic rise in open rates and click-through rates. 


Congratulations, today you've armed yourself with several extremely powerful tools & techniques that will take your email game to the next level!


Well done.

About the Author Csaba Borzasi

Csaba Borzási is the founder of Game of Conversions. After spending 10 years learning the ins and outs of persuasion psychology, Csaba now focuses on what he loves most: helping ambitious entrepreneurs grow their online business and get more profitable customers. When he isn't geeking out on discovering how the human mind works, you can probably find him climbing a mountain, dancing salsa, or traveling around the globe.

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