154 people x 2 emails = $504,000.00 in sales.

That’s the formula I want to talk about today – how we at Tech Guys generated over a half of a million dollars in sales with two stupid-simple emails for one of our clients…

Before I get into the mechanics of the emails I sent, let’s first discuss the single most important thing in marketing – compassionately understanding your audience.

While teaching at Tulane University as a Professor of Practice in Marketing, I can’t tell you how many times I harped on and on about the importance of compassionate avatar identification…

(Hold up… don’t think too highly of me. I have a BS in Political Science and barely graduated, having scored a 1.0 GPA my first semester. Thank you Microsoft XBox and Halo.)

Anyways, back to marketing, or really, one of the fundamentals of marketing: psychology. I subscribe to Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s idea that all humans have the same needs, we just prioritize them differently. Rosenberg came to the conclusion that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is grossly under-detailed and lacks significant understanding of the emotional needs everyone has.

Rosenberg, a Detroit native of Jewish heritage, grew up in the race riots where he first identified that everyone has a need for safety, security, stability, support, to be seen, stimulation… and those are just the needs that start with the letter ‘s’. From his assessment of all people, he proposed the notion that we each go about getting our needs met in the ways we know how, no matter how unskillful.

Check out Rosenberg’s Center for Nonviolent Communication list of Needs here:


Keep this on your Bookmark Bar in your web browser and refer to it when you’re writing marketing.

When it comes to marketing, now that we understand that all humans have the same needs, we can make the logical connection that each person prioritizes their needs differently. You may prioritize your need for space above closeness while I may be the opposite. Same needs, different prioritization.

Therefore, when we talk to people, we need to connect to their needs and serve them compassionately.

Just like a fussy child, we don’t see their screams as bad behavior, we see their screams as their most skillful way to getting their need for touch and comfort met.

Crossing back into marketing…

What is the definition of marketing?

This question would send my business school seniors into a tailspin… is marketing branding? Awareness. It’s getting more awareness. Or is it how people feel about your company? What is marketing?

I’d firmly stand at the pulpit and proclaim that marketing is…

Salesmanship in print.

That’s what John E. Kennedy said (not to be confused with JFK, who was a master marketer of a very different type).

Being able to get someone to take action using print, instead of face-to-face… that’s marketing. Claude Hopkins said marketing was “Salesmanship multiplied.” I think both definitions are fitting.

What do these NEEDS have to do with selling $504,000.00 with 2 emails?


Here’s why…

We simply cannot mail 1 message to an entire email list and expect it to hit everyone’s needs. We need to slice-and-dice that list down, make empathy guesses, and position a message that connects DEEPLY to the recipient’s shared needs.

That’s how we were able to generate over a half a million dollars with a tiny 154-person list.

The first thing I did when helping this particular client was to review his entire past customer database. Who were the heavy hitters? Who purchased before and had a great experience? I took a list of over 7,000 buyers and started refining it… Who was in the US, where the service we were selling was going to be delivered? Who did we know was a Bad Fit?

I had the CEO look over the list, then one of his senior employees, then I looked over it to make sure I didn’t see anything glaringly wrong.

Once we were done, that 7,000 person list shrunk down to 154 past buyers who had the same needs, buying power, and experience with previous products.

This was our awaiting goldmine.

From there, I leaned on the insights Gary Bencivenga gave me while working on a project with him and Ted Nicholas back in 2010… the best time they found to send email was Tuesday and Thursday. Through my own experimentation in the past, I found 3pm Eastern to be a good time for the type of product we were offering.

The construction of the emails were actually quite simple. It was a candid email from the CEO, sent via the VP, that made a specific offer. There was no fancy header graphic… frankly, it was as plain and basic as an email could be. But it looked authentic because it was.

We said “You’ve been hand-selected to see this offer…” Because they had been.

The subject line, which sees that your email gets opened or not, had to be good. We started the subject with “(Confidential)” because the offer was, in fact, very confidential. We were mailing to a very esteemed list and didn’t want word to get out to the public what we were offering.

The email body was short and to the point. “I’m writing you because <> thought you’d be a good fit for…”

The email was short, but it was also personal. We wrote to the needs of the individual, praising them on their success with the products in the past, then making a simple offer. We did a take-away; “If you’re interested, let me know by <>. If not, no problem! Just reply back and let me know either way so that I can update <>.”

Our open and reply rate was through the roof. We then pushed everyone who raised their hand into a phone interview, then closed them on the phone.

To those who didn’t reply, we sent a follow-up a week later (first email Thursday, second email Tuesday) that replied to our first email, asking if the prospect had seen it. It was a straightforward “Hey %firstname%, I just wanted to make sure you got this…”

And that’s it. A highly qualified list, mixed with an offer that compassionately meets the prospect. We didn’t have to spend hours on email template mockup, nor on building a fancy landing page. We didn’t have to call in the techs for a top notch order page. A simple two-email series of ugly text emails, with a clear “reply back and let me know” call to action was all it took for this phenomenal success.

More to come…
Now that I’ve left Tulane and began a travel stint of location independence, I’m going to be sending emails like this every week. Some will be much shorter, some longer. It’s dependent on the strength of my morning coffee more than anything.

Once a month, I’ll be hosting a free webinar where I’ll talk through marketing strategy, new technology, my favorite Gin Fizz recipe, or whatever else I can get away with. Occasionally Mike Cline will join me (if he’s not off on Mars or something).

Shoot me a note back and let me know what you think of this email, and what you’d like to hear about in future newsletters.

To warm summer days without sweat staches,

Prof. Casey Stanton
(or pr0stan, as the students call me)

PS – I’ll be sending one of these out each week. Reply back if there’s something specific you’d like me to cover.