Email of the Month, "iWork for iCloud" – Why I Opened It…

October 28, 2013 | Justin Gray | No Comments |

How many times have you sat down and been completely sure of the email you are about to write?

Recently, one of my favorite clients came to me with a new project. She asked me to send out an email to a segment of her company’s database notifying them of a new way to place orders. Sounds straightforward, right? When I think something sounds straightforward, I automatically think it sounds boring, too.

I decided this “notification” email needed some spin. I struggled with ideas – everything I tried was a flop. Even worse, I couldn’t communicate my concepts clearly to my client. We were going in circles.

  • Me: “What about using a fun analogy…?”
  • Her: “That Costco mayonnaise reference is funny, but there’s a negative connotation…”
  • Me: “True.”
  • Me: “What about simplicity… a tagline like ‘less clicks per checkout’?”
  • Her: “It’s too simple; we have features we need to highlight.”


I’m not trying to make her sound like a Debbie Downer – she isn’t! I’ve simplified the above conversation for the sake of this blog.

So, I turned to my email inbox as a last resort and looked through my emails to see which emails I had been compelled to open. This really should have been my first step, which is why I took our winning email example and broke down for you why this email works.

We’re taking a simple notification email to the next level here. And we are inspired by none other than Apple.

  • 1. Apple is known for successfully making its customers feel special, when really, Apple only offers a handful of products and everyone is buying the same thing. I bet my iPhone looks just like yours. Surprise! But really, this subject line caught my attention. “Oh. Hi Apple. You think I’m good enough to play with your latest product? I guess you do. This invitation does make me feel like I’m worthy, and somehow, it implies that there are others who are not.” I bet apple sent this out to the masses. But, I still feel special because I was “invited.”
  • 2. Beta. “Oh, so this isn’t released to everyone? And you care about my feedback, huh?” Sold.
  • 3. Addressing me by name and speaking to me like you’ve written me an old-fashioned snail mail letter – big win. Apple seems sincere; after all, they signed the email, “Sincerely, The iWork Team.”
  • 4. Again, exclusivity is the key here. The marketer in me thinks, “I don’t care if this really is a special beta release, by telling me it is so, I want to get started with iWork today, before the “real” release happens.
  • 5. Simple, clear call-to-action. “Yes, iWork, I’d like to ‘get started’ right now. And I can see exactly where to click in order to do so.”


I gave a copy of this email to my client and asked her if we could use exclusivity to spice up her notification email. She loved it. I was proud of it.

Lesson of the week? Work smarter, not harder. Reference real emails that you respond to and use those to mold and communicate your marketing ideas.

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