Wax on, Wax off: How the Karate Kid Can Help You Sell Without Selling in Your Emails

Published on January 15, 2014 by

Karate KidThis one might be a little hard to get your head around at first...

But if you can grasp this concept, you'll have a whole new way to create email copy that pulls in your readers and keeps them engaged throughout.

I'm talking about what I call a "kinda-like" statement. And it works like this...

I've found that, in many cases, email readers are oblivious to the messages they receive. If they open them (and that's a BIG if) they see the same ol blah blah blah they always get from every marketer. So what happens? They basically gloss over the entire copy (and your message is rendered mute).

But if you come at them in the beginning with something COMPLETELY different than what they're expecting, they don't do the normal gloss-over. They actually start READING the email. And they keep reading, if you hold their attention.

So what do I mean by completely different? That's where the kinda-like statement comes in...

What I do is find a want/need/desire/problem that the prospect is experiencing, and ask, "This is kinda like....WHAT?"

Then I find something that is unrelated, yet somehow tied together to this want/need/desire/problem, and I start the email off with that.

Confused yet? I can see a few of you scratching your heads, so let me give you an example...

I didn't start with a hard sell about a high ticket item
(which it is). I came in "soft" with a sweet story
that any parent can relate to.

A while back, I was writing some autoresponder emails for a client of mine. He was selling a coaching program, and I was trying to come up with another angle for an email.

As I was pondering this, I looked out into our family room and saw my daughter, who was 6 at the time, watching the original Karate Kid movie on TV.

If you remember the flick, there was a part where the old sage instructor, Mr. Miagi, was training the young student, Daniel, in how to do the "crane technique." This was the weird looking stance that featured the arms raised and wrists bowed downward, while one knee was raised upward, and it ultimately helped Daniel win the big karate tournament at the end.

My daughter was trying to imitate this as she watched, and she wasn't doing well. Every time the leg came up, she would topple over. It was one of those "awwwww" moments that you have when your kids are being completely adorable.

But she kept trying, and I remember thinking: "Wow, if she just had a Mr. Miagi to help her, she would pull this off in no time." And just like that, I had my idea for the email.

Because the whole premise of the Karate Kid was "kinda like" what my client's prospects were going through. They needed someone to come along and help them achieve more by having their own version of a Mr. Miagi--which was my client's program.

In about 10 minutes I had this email cranked out and ready to send. Here's a quick excerpt:


SUBJECT: Wax On, Wax Off...

Hey FIRSTNAME, MARKETER NAME here with a hilarious
story a friend of mine just told me...

Seems his 6 year old daughter was watching a rerun of
"The Karate Kid" recently, and trying desperately to imitate
the infamous "crane" position made popular in the movie.

You remember--both hands high over the head, wrists
pointed down, one leg raised while the other is poised
to deliver a crushing blow.

But as it is with most 6 year-olds, balance is not
her strongest suit. So the more she tried, the more she toppled over.

My buddy tried not to laugh, but it was so precious. He
couldn't help himself.

After I hung up the phone, I got thinking more about
the movie (one of favorites, BTW) and I realized how
it's a lot like my coaching program...

See what I did here?

I didn't start with a hard sell about a high ticket item (which it is). I came in "soft" with a sweet story that any parent can relate to.

It's the kind of thing we'd tell a co-worker around the water cooler at work, something harmless and interesting and fun. And then I innocently tied together with what I REALLY wanted to talk about.

Now I've got them engaged, and the chances of them glossing over this message have pretty much dwindled away. They'll stay with it, because they don't see themselves as being sold. Just entertained. 🙂

Of course, this approach isn't applicable to every email you write. There's obviously some instances and audiences that aren't a good fit for this. But in this case, it was the perfect message at the perfect time. And it did quite well for my client.

So next time you're stuck coming up with a new and different email copy approach, try the "kinda-like" statement and see what happens. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the cool, innovative ideas that will pop into your head.

Until next time,


Jay White Jay White is an email marketing copywriter, consultant, trainer and speaker who trains copywriters and online business owners on how to write sizzling hot emails that get opened, get read, and get click-throughs. If you want a FREE video where Jay reveals 5 simple tweaks you can make to your email copy to boost conversions and increase profits, click here NOW!

1 Comment

  1. Lynne

    I agree. Great way to keep your readers attention and actually make them read your email. Wonderful tips to follow.

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