I was working on some custom copy for the owner of a martial arts studio. As part of my process, I spent some time reading through the website, talking to students, etc. You know, trying to get into the mindset of the prospect. Then I asked my husband, “Why would you sign up for martial arts training?” His immediate, didn’t-even-pause-to-think-about-it response was, “So I’ll be ready for the Zombie Apocalypse.” I laughed for awhile and then wrote this email:

Subject Line: Before you find yourself in danger

Before the Zombie Apocalypse Begins… Book Your Appointment

Hi Friend,

Almost every time someone learns I run a martial arts school, they say, “I would love to learn martial arts.” To which I say, “Come join us then.” That’s when I get a response like this, “No, I really don’t have time. Besides, when am I going to need martial arts?” I don’t usually answer that question. And I’m not going to answer it now. Instead, let me ask you a question…when the zombie apocalypse begins, who do you think is going to survive? Ours is one of the very best schools on the East coast. We pride ourselves on teaching strength, self-defense, and confidence. And we’d love to have you come join us. When you call us at (XXX) XXX-XXXX we’ll get you set up with a tour of our facility. Remember, you never know when you’re going to need a few skills. We’re looking forward to meeting you.
This email never even made it to the business owner. He was a very serious guy and I didn’t think it would go over well. But since that time, I’ve given a LOT of thought to why Zombie Apocalypse emails should be a standard in your marketing efforts.

Reason #1: It Breaks the Pattern

If you consistently send emails to your contacts, they become familiar with you. It doesn’t take long before they anticipate what your email will say before they even open it. Even if your message is different every time you reach out, they become comfortable (and complacent) with your voice, your offerings, your persuasive copy. To effectively grab their attention again, you’ve got to break the pattern. Enter…an email about Zombies. No one was anticipating that one.

Reason #2: It’s Entertaining

Like you, your contacts are busy. They’ve got jobs, kids, health concerns, social functions, errands to run, etc. Their minds are constantly on something else. But when you send them an email, you’re asking them to take a minute out of their lives to think about you and the services or products you offer. With a Zombie Apocalypse email, not only do you get their attention for a minute, you immediately reward them by offering something unexpected and entertaining. That could go a long way in building their relationship with you.

Reason #3: It Gives You a Personality

Copywriters and marketers know the very best content in the world helps consumers feel connected to the person on the other end of the email (or sales letter). When your contacts feel they know and trust you, they’re a lot more likely to buy. But if all you ever write about is how great your offerings are, how does your contact create any sort of attachment to you? The Zombie Apocalypse email shows your sense of humor, your easy-going nature, your interest in science fiction. By offering a little insight into something you love, like a quote from a favorite movie, an allusion to a historical event, or the statistics of a recent sporting event, you’re humanizing yourself. And it will go a long way in building those long term relationships with your contacts. A lot of times, we get caught up in writing the “perfect” copy. We want so badly for our contacts to know we have a REAL solution for them, that we forget to take a step back, once in awhile, and simply connect. If you feel your engagement with your contacts has been flat lately…or your email open rates are dropping…spice it up. Do the unexpected. Have fun with your writing. And your contacts will respond.