Search
  • John Kuhlman

How to Make a Successful Boot-y Call On Your First Email Date

Updated: Sep 19, 2019



Creating a prosperous business is about creating engaging and long-lasting relationships. For many online retailers, that relationship starts with your first email to a new subscriber.


Think of it as a first date.


Let me help you cement that connection in your head with a quick story.


Meet Mr. I’m so Awesome


One of my smart and witty friends is using technology to find dates (lead generation). She recently matched up with a guy (prospect) and they each checked enough of each other’s boxes (lead qualification) to meet in person for a first date (discovery call) at a coffee shop.


She expected to have a conversation. Inside. Over a cup of fancy coffee. Like most people, she wanted to check this guy out and decide if he matched his advertised persona.


She meets the prospect, er, I mean date, in front of the coffee shop and they never go inside.


He starts the conversation by telling her she “looks as advertised” and immediately launches into a monologue about how amazing he is while trying to “awkwardly caress” her neck. He tops it off by adding that ladies think he is “best catch ever.”


Sounds like a fun guy, right?


Businesses do this all of the time with their email marketing. Like this assclown, they come on too strong at the wrong times.


Let’s say this guy pulled his touchy “I’m so awesome” card on the 3rd or 4th date -- after he built rapport and trust with my friend. Probably a different outcome, right?


Use the “I’m so awesome” card on the first date, and you’ll end up with a lot of first dates and no repeat business.


Your first email -- that one you send when someone signs up for your list -- is your first date.

Don’t blow it.


Don’t be the “I’m so awesome” business that charges out of the gate at 100 m.p.h with pushy sales tactics and starts monologuing about yourself.


Nobody likes that.


That’s the insecure blowhard who proposes marriage on the first date.


On the other end of the spectrum, don’t be the business that sends the standard MailChimp “Thanks for signing up!” template and then sends nothing else for weeks...until you need something from your reader (like sales).


That’s the Business Booty Call.


Nobody likes that guy either.


You need to find the sweet spot right in the middle. Show that you care about your reader and that you bring value, while also creating an opportunity for conversations to take place.


Wolverine, You Had Me At “Hello”


While I have yet to plop down $385 for a pair of Wolverine’s famed 1,000 Mile Boots, I have become a massive fan of their brand. In particular, their email marketing.


Their indoctrination, or welcome email, sequence immediately sets the right tone and encourages creating a connection with the reader.


Let’s take a closer look at what they do right and how they match up with the Key Points of a Welcome Email Sequence.


Wolverine Indoc Email 1

  1. Welcome and Thank You Just like any real conversation, start off by using your manners.

  2. Set Expectations Let them know what they just signed up for. When will they hear from you? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Every once in a blue moon when you need to make some money? Wolverine skirts the delivery frequency but implies they’ll only send you relevant information about new styles and special offers.

  3. Start the Relationship & Don’t Be Pushy Your goal is to create a connection and build trust. Don’t make an offer. That’s kind of like asking your first coffee date to set up a Target baby registry before your lattes arrive. You can, however, give them a coupon code or check out some of your great content. Wolverine does both (see 4 & 5).

  4. Introduce Your Brand Share your origin story, talk about recent successes. Wolverine’s brand is all about authenticity and durability that dates back to 1914. You get that right off the bat with the guys in the photos, even though you don't get the origin story.

  5. Show Off a Little Showcase your best content and advice. Wolverine combines their brand story with what I’m assuming is their iconic product, the 1000 Mile boot.

  6. Start a Conversation Create engagement and show there is a real human being on the other side of the email. Invite your reader to connect with you by responding to the email, or engaging (not just following) you on your other social media channels. Wolverine accomplishes this by asking the reader to connect with the #MYWOLVERINES hashtag and by sharing the brand’s social media platforms.

Other things that might be worth testing in this email:

  • Create an Open Loop - Our brains are hardwired to remember uncompleted tasks (Zeigarnik Effect if you want me to use a $5-word). You want your reader to be asking, “what’s next?” Wolverine could have accomplished this by teasing the origin story and sharing it in the second email. Instead, the origin story was the subject the seventh email I received about a month later (see below).

  • Share Benefits - Remind your subscriber how they will benefit from being on your list and how you can help them solve problems or issues.

Don’t do all of this in the first email. Successful brands, like Wolverine, don’t share their full awesomeness on the first date. They break it up over several dates, always creating that open loop.


The second email they sent 48 hours later only focuses on point 6 (Starting a Conversation). I’m sure this is also done to segment their subscribers and send them down other sales funnels.


Wolverine Indoc Email 2

About three weeks after the first email they send a short survey to learn more about their readers. Again, point 6 (Starting a Conversation) in action here.


Wolverine Indoc 3

And about four weeks later, the reader receives the iconic Wolverine origin story, key tactic number 4 (Introduce Your Brand)


Wolverine Indoc 4

I would have moved this earlier in the sequence, but I’m sure Wolverine has their rationale, and analytics, for sharing this story later.


I also received some typical “sales” emails in between the ones I showcased here. But not many. Wolverine is obviously dialed in on their target market and seems to be doing a fantastic job of finding that delicate balance between too much and too little information.


Heck, if I were into dating boots, I’d seriously consider asking Wolverine out for a cup of coffee.


Want articles like this in your inbox each week?

Join Now