Shark Tank Deep Dive: An Email Launch Breakdown With "The People’s Shark"

 

The first time I sat down to watch Shark Tank, I remember Daymond John talking about his dyslexia. 
 
I couldn't’ tell you the season, the pitch, or the words he used — but I could tell you the feeling I got when I heard it.
 
John spoke of slogging through the paragraphs of a book in his youth. Now, I’m not dyslexic... but at that time, my little brother could crush through Harry Potter books 2x faster than me. 
 
And I HATE losing to my little brother. I remember thinking:
 
“Hey I suck at reading, too...but look at this dude. He did too, but now he's a boss.” 
 
Hearing the CEO of FUBU and star of Shark Tank open up about that stuff was something I’ve never forgotten. I’ve always felt like an underdog in one way or another, so it hit home. 
 
This emotional landscape is critical terrain for Daymond to navigate in his email marketing... even moreso because of his consistent presence on national TV.
 
He’s in the enviable spot of perpetually existing in the conversation people have with themselves, their friends, and their family — as it relates to chasing the entrepreneurial dream.

The Emotional Undercurrents

Think about the “word tracks” looping in the heads of Daymond’s email list when they watch Shark Tank:
 
“WTF! I’m smarter than that guy who just scored a deal.”
 
“[Insert shark] would love my idea…if only I knew where to start.”
 
“What!? My idea is WAY better than that crap!”

It’s a whirlwind of emotions:

  • Fear (of taking the plunge, of leaving their job)
  • Inspiration (stories from sharks & other rags-to-riches entrepreneurs)
  • Desire for Power (access to sharks and an elite network) 
  • Greed (to secure a major investment, to get rich)

Now that we have the lay of the land, let’s swap positions and let Daymond pitch US on his product. Will we invest? Let’s see...

He sent a series of emails this April — here’s a few key points:

  • Product Name: Daymond On Demand
  • Product Type: Digital information product
  • Product Price: $997
  • What Is It?: “a digital business curriculum created by Daymond John to educate aspiring entrepreneurs and provide them with the skills, tools and resources they need to start, build and scale their business.”
  • Pre-Launch Emails: 4
  • Main Launch Emails: 1

PRE-LAUNCH EMAIL #1: WHERE’D YOU GO, DJ? (3/31/17)

Here’s a snapshot of Daymond as he appears in my October 2016 inbox:

Daymond emailed me 6 times, and got 4+ bonus points for 3rd party proof via other marketing masters I follow. Not bad at all.

Honestly, I liked hearing from one of my favorite sharks on the regs. 
 
Fast forward to 2017, and I was sad to see the frequency dropped off. Not to knock Daymond, but the downswing in contact meant he gave up the mental real estate I’d been leasing him.

As a rule, four months is a long time to go dark (especially before a launch). But for Daymond, I suspect his TV presence compensates for some of the absence.
 
Redemption came on Mar 31 with a brief apology, and a fat stack of killer content. 

 
I know you may keep up with me on social media or maybe you check me out every week on Shark Tank, but I want to apologize for my lack of focus on communicating with you over email.

Even though people will tell you about fancy new ways to reach out to a community, I’m still a big fan of classic email. It’s a great way for me to communicate directly with you without any filters, changing algorithms, or anything else.

Below this, there’s links to a bouquet of three “never before released” interviews with Steve Aoki, Tim Ferriss, and Jay Abraham.

And he’s out of the doghouse! This was a great way to re-enter the conversations, and give a ton of value before asking for an investment in the upcoming product launch.

Pre-Launch Email #2 - Your Business Challenge Survey (4/7/17)

A week later, Daymond follows up with a plain-text survey email to dig into the needs of his audience, hinting at the possibility of creating a “digital curriculum.”

This email pre-frames the campaign, builds some excitement, and shows his audience that he cares about their opinions. Plus, it only takes 2 minutes. Easy peazy.  

That being said, how many of your friends who watch Shark Tank are actually entrepreneurs?

A big portion of his list probably bought his book The Power Of Broke, attended one of his seminars, or opted in on his website... but they STILL haven’t taken that critical first step.

SPEAKING TO THE “WANTREPRENEURS”

I bet this email could have pulled more survey responses (and valuable insights) by speaking to a second customer persona — the wantrepreneur:

“I’d like to create a digital curriculum that helps you take your business to the next level OR kick start your entrepreneurial journey…

….for growing or starting your business.”

If you suspect two (or more) distinct prospect personas exist, make sure one of them doesn’t feel left out during any stage of your funnel. Going back to the emotional whirlwind from the start of this post, you want to reassure skeptics they can overcome their fears of getting started.

PRE-LAUNCH EMAIL #3: THANK YOU (4/10/17)

Three days later, DJ pops in to remind us he’s hustling. No surprises there, and no doubt he was burning the midnight oil to get this program up and running.

There’s nothing special about it, but I still like this email. He’s showing his people he gives a damn about them (which is rare). And, it’s a gentle reminder that exciting things are coming.

I do want to point out what the emails look like on mobile (and yes, Siri calls me King Lee, don't you dare judge me)

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Pro Tip: Use size 14 to 16 point font, so older people / blind people like my dad can read your emails

When a person opens your email, before they read a single letter, they subconsciously size up the text to decide how much work will be required to read it.

It’s lazy, but we all do it. It’s the reason why short paragraphs convert better, and it’s why you want to make your copy as easy as possible to read.

Like the genius marketer Joe Sugarman says, the copy should act like “a slippery slide.”

Bigger text oils the slide, makes it easy for your reader to enter the copy, and builds momentum towards the click or the sale.

PRE-LAUNCH EMAIL #4: BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK (4/17/17 - 7:07AM PST)

One week after the thank you, Daymond announces the digital course:

I’m already filming and cranking out this new digital curriculum that I’m calling Daymond On Demand. Check out the picture of me in the studio making it happen!
 This is highly intriguing. The glowing green background. The professional studio. Daymond in action. It looks like the real deal!

This is highly intriguing. The glowing green background. The professional studio. Daymond in action. It looks like the real deal!

This email does a good job of answering these two questions and possible objections to buying the course:

1. “What do I get?” 

He provides a photo of the digital dashboard, and says:

“You will have easy access to all the videos, supplemental guides, checklists, quizzes and much more. This way you can easily keep track of all of your progress and your resources in one easy place.”

2. “Why is this different from all the other business building courses out there?”

This next paragraph provides an interesting differentiating quality: fully interactive.

Daymond is in a highly-competitive market: online business building courses. There’s hundreds, if not thousands of them. 
 
That’s why the interactive feature strengthens the unique appeal of the course; adding the “tailored” touch, so you can be sure your lessons are custom fitted. 
 
Still, I wonder, “what if I run a service business? Is this only for apparel brands?”

The WIIFM Dilemma & 3 Email Ideas To Solve It 


Email #4 does a great job of answering WHAT I will get, but not HOW it will help me achieve my unique business goals. 
 
In other words, it leaves the prospect asking:

"What's in it for me?"

There’s still a lot of unanswered at this point. So instead of making the sales page shoulder all the selling, what if DJ could get to the 50-yardline (or further) before they click to the sales page? 
 
Let’s raise a few common objections and ways the launch emails could handle them.
 
(Disclaimer: this is a brainstorming session of what the copy could look like. I used real companies Daymond invested in, but I don’t have the hard facts)

Q: “How do I know this process actually works?”
 
Answer with specifics:
 
The “Formulating Your Sales Plan” module contains the word-for-word sales scripts companies like Bombas socks used to score deals with wildly successful subscription boxes like Birchbox. These field-tested strategies have skyrocketed dozens of entrepreneurs to success, and if you follow them, they will for you too. 
 
Q: “Why is it so expensive?”
 
Answer by focusing on the value rather than the price:
 
Nine-year old Mikaila Ulmer came to me with her fledgling family-owned company, BeeSweet lemonade. She was stuck at a common roadblock: how to enter convenience stores.

Using the very same contract negotiation strategies I teach inside the “Planning For Growth” Section of Daymond On Demand — she was able to secure deals with Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Vitamins Plus and scale her company from $100K in revenues to over $2 million in under 18 months. 
 
It took me untold millions of dollars of mistakes to learn the strategies I taught her. The same ones I will teach you in just 8 weeks.

How much would it cost you to go out and learn these lessons on your own? And even if you did, how long would it take you?

 Mikaila Ulmer - a 6th grader and social entrepreneur who secured a $60K investment from Daymond

Mikaila Ulmer - a 6th grader and social entrepreneur who secured a $60K investment from Daymond

There’s dozens of stories and case studies Daymond has at his fingertips that will reassure prospects they’re getting his best-of-the-best advice he reserved ONLY for companies he invested in, until now.

A final objection early-stage or hopeful entrepreneurs have is this:

Q: “Will this work for ME?”

I’d suggest giving detailed stories of people who never achieved success until they started working with Daymond.

The problem is, anyone who leaves the tank with a deal, probably walked in there with enough sales to spark serious interest.

One way to confront this, is to invite beginner entrepreneurs to test the program for free in return for feedback.

Their stories would build proof for a highly-skeptical segment of prospects who grapple with self-doubt, and need to see people like them, experiencing success.

Another way to answer this, is an ironclad guarantee that eliminates the risk a prospect takes on if they try the product.

Now, Daymond might be so confident in the product and only be looking for go-getters who would never dream of a refund. If that’s the case, it’s also a strong selling point to employ.

Q: “I’m a horse trainer for polo players, what do dope hats and t-shirts have to do with MY business?”

Fair question. I bring this up because Daymond left out a KEY piece of information in the email copy that he includes in the video:

“...and you’re also learning from professionals that I’ve learned from and they can share all the tools that you need to run and operate your business.”

Dude! You’re saying there’s other instructors who will teach me the skills that you aren’t as masterful at?

Who are they? Do I get to learn from your mentors, too? Tell me tell me tell me. 

If someone is serious about this product, you literally cannot tell them enough about it. This is stuff they want to know.

ONE AND DONE? DON’T LEAVE ME HANGING DJ

What’s super cool is, every one of the above questions could be engineered into its own email.

As you can see, there’s a lot to talk about. And a lot of objections to hurdle at the steep $997 price point.

(This is why some competing products with similar price points send 20+ emails in their launch series.)

It makes sense to add more emails to the series, to achieve the double-barrel effect of:

1) answering objections earlier before the prospect has a chance to say, “hey, what about [insert worry / fear / excuse].” You’re one step ahead, and it shows the audience you’re tuned into their unique challenges.

2) “future pacing” the results before telling you how you will get there. This means you buckle them into your time machine, zoom into their future life, and let them walk around in it — scribbling down their business idea, seeing that first sale in their Shopify, taking the afternoon off to watch their daughter’s dance recital. All of this gets them emotionally invested in a positive future.

Once you create an open frame of mind, then you can step in and show them — logically —  how you will get there. But, visceral emotion is the first domino in the chain.

Alrighty, let’s check out the fifth and final email, the launch email.

LAUNCH EMAIL - EARLY ACCESS LAUNCH (4/17/17 - 7:33AM PST)

Timing: the email before this one came at 7:07 AM on the same day — just 26 minutes earlier. I opened this email first, got a little confused, and had to dig back to the first email to figure out what was going on.

This is an easy fix. Just send the launch email the morning after the behind-the-scenes look, so you aren’t double stacking two emails in one day.

Subject Line: EARLY ACCESS – I’m Opening Up My Digital Course to A Select Few

This got my attention because of the urgency and appeal to my ego. Maybe I’m getting something other people aren’t. I should probably open and find out…

1. MAKE ‘EM FEEL SPECIAL

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It only takes six words to appeal to my ego, which is fantastic. “Ooh ‘select member’…” I think, “I’m getting an exclusive look other people aren’t seeing…suckers!”

We all like to feel special and preferred.

Think about every premium credit card name or the Disney World fast-pass.

(P.S. Best feeling ever? Grinning your way to the front of Tower of Terror, past miserable families staring you down).

2. LEVERAGE YOUR STRONGEST ASSETS

The emails up until now have referred to Daymond On Demand as a “digital course” and a “digital curriculum”. Keeping this consistent is important, and I think “course” might cause less confusion.

As for the second sentence, any business owner who watched the show, has fantasized about getting emails, incoming calls, and office visits from the likes of Daymond, Cuban, or even Mr. Wonderful.

Hell yeah, I want the prized lessons and tactics you save for your partners!

I already touched on this in the objection section above, but there’s massive power in leveraging the authority of and fascination with the Shark Tank enterprise.

Imagine how many millions of times a week people whisper “If only I had X shark in my corner...I’d be unstoppable.” Dozens of emails could be written using this idea alone to sell the product.

It would take virtually no effort to expand on this, and directly tell the audience they will be learning some of the same the sales, ecommerce, and strategic partnership strategies he teaches his partners from Shark Tank.

3. HEY, WHY THE FEW SLOTS?

Anytime you’re creating a special deal, it helps to have a reason. The “Select Few” and “limited spaces” angle got me reading, but didn’t really tell me WHY he was doing it.

I did some digging an found the reason on the bottom of his Instagram post (@thesharkdaymond).

Turns out this is a “soft launch”. He didn’t mention this reason in the email. What would have been better, is telling me how many spots are available.

Specifics + scarcity are a winning combo. “234 spots left” would light more fires under more asses than “limited amount”, and snap people out of the "I'll get around to it" mentality - which inevitably never happens.

4. DRAG ME TO THE BOTTOM (WITH YOU), THEN SHOW ME THE EXIT

Consider the reality DJ faced when he started FUBU:

  • He was 20 years old with $40 in his pocket
  • He started selling hand-sewn hats on the corners of Queens, Ny
  • He held a job at Red Lobster to make ends meet early in the biz
  • He mortgaged his house with his mom to raise $100k for the company

These are all super interesting AND relevant to the challenge of starting a business. Any of these bullets could be spun into a killer email to sell the course, books, even the adult coloring book!

Here in Email 5, Daymond levels with us mortals, sheds his suit, and removes the diamond earrings:

“If you're an entrepreneur, you realize that this journey of growing your business is tough. And it’s even tougher when you don’t know where to go to get answers. I created this course because I know that feeling too well.
Even though you see me in a nice suit and tie on TV, don’t forget that I was once a broke and lost entrepreneur too.”

Remember our whole “emotion before logic” discussion? Daymond nicks the surface here, but there’s a whole ocean waiting to be explored underneath.

Your prospect needs the gritty details, the TMI, and the painful stories — so they can bond with you, know you understand the struggle, and start trusting your product could be their lifeline.

Many experts forget how far they’ve soared, and miss the gaping chasm between the prospect’s current reality and the claims you .

One way to breathe trust into your prospect and show them you get where they’re at, is to SHOW them – in painstaking detail – that you’ve scraped bottom face first.

I know Daymond didn’t forget this, he talks about it all the time in interviews. Heck he wrote an entire book about how being at a disadvantage, is actually an advantage: The Power Of Broke.

Here’s some real life shit from an interview with news.com.au:

“I failed at a marriage, got divorced, lost my family, how did I rebound from that? Many of my friends are dead or in jail. So there are so many ways that I have failed and even when everything was going well and it wasn’t dramatic failures, here were other brands that I launched that have failed too.”

Let’s remember DJ started FUBU with forty f-ing dollars!

Tell us about the look on your partners’ faces when you told them he mortgaged his house to finance the business.

We should feel that acid stomach rush when crass New Yorkers told Daymond his first products sucked. Anything that vaults the reader into a place where they can feel the raw emotion.

Don’t overreach on the relatability scale and parrot: “Look! I was JUST like you” — like every annoying marketer ever...

That’s gross, and people feel the insincerity. Instead, you can relate to the gut-level emotions swirling inside every entrepreneur (or hopeful one) for whom your product is a fit.

Now that you’ve shown them where you went wrong, and the pain and tears that came from it — you can swoop in, and easily position your product as the hero solution.

People are far more open to buy after they have felt the warmth of your human-ness.

If you are an expert like Daymond, many will perceive you as a God until you bring yourself down to their level.  Only then can they feel safe enough to buy.

5. BULK UP THE BENEFITS, BRUH

So this blog post grew wayyy longer than I initially planned. Lets wrap up on a quick bullet teardown from the launch email:

What kind of copywriter would I be if I didn’t talk about features vs. benefits? Here, Daymond could color up these features by tagging on benefits that communicate why prospects should care (Remember: WIIFM).

SWIMMING WITH THE PEOPLE’S SHARK: KEY TAKEAWAYS

It’s astonishing that Daymond finds the time to help entrepreneurs. On top of the 44 total deals,  $6.4 million invested on the show, and the companies he was running when sharks were just scary sea creatures — he’s still got time to create a brand new way to help entrepreneurs. Good on you DJ.

Let’s recap five of the main ways I think Daymond could improve the hard launch, and impact an even deeper pool of business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Frequency & Value: it could be something that happened in Starbucks... if you can add value to your list, email them!

Frankly, I didn’t hear from Daymond for a long time. Once I knew what was happening, the product had already launched. Fight to stay front-of-mind and add value before the launch, so you have leeway to do your selling when it's crunch time. 

Slay The Heads Of Your Objection Dragon: after telling your list a launch is coming, handle these early and often.

Entrepreneurship is incredibly scary. We come up with a laundry list of excuses and feed them like pets. I know I do it.

People need to envision their future self with this new artillery of skills, but the problem is, there’s dozens of objections clouding their view. That’s why you’ve gotta chop down objections one at a time... like a 9-headed dragon. Then you can show them your product is the path to freedom.

Spread The Lovin’: this launch only contained two main launch emails. Most launches I write for my clients are between 8 and 20 emails. The thing is, you can’t predict whether people will open them in order, or open them at all. It might take three days and they read the last three in one sitting. You just don’t know. Which is why it pays to space your emails accordingly, and make sure your emails

Show Me The Struggle Is Real: notice I say “show” and not “tell”? People want to know without a doubt that you are human, and suffered the pains of starting and scaling a business.

Not only will you bond your prospects to you, you’ll position your program as the route that steers around the death traps you drove into.

Gimme The Proof: now, I understand this is a soft launch, and it seems like there isn’t solid proof yet that the course works. But if you peel past this perceived layer, there’s dozens of mentees, founders of companies, and partners Daymond could leverage to highlight his skills as a coach.

People are more jaded than ever these days — you can avoid losing clicks to your sales page by providing a window of proof IN your emails.

BONUS: SALES PAGE FIX TO DOUBLE VIDEO VIEWS

I know I said I was gonna stick to the emails — but this is the last thing (I swear) and it’s a biggie if you want your sales video to get watched.

In a recent episode of the i love marketing podcast, Dean Jackson and Joe Polish talked about how copy is so much more than just words. Design. Pictures. Even what you wear can be considered "copy."

In this case, I noticed an easy graphic fix that could be implemented to get more video views.

First, let’s look at two ways Ryan Stewman’s Break Free Academy Entourage sales page optimizes for views (which, if your video is good, contributes to a better-converting page).

*Orange text on the top is mine

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1. Automatic Video Recognition: there’s a clear border and a YouTube icon in the bottom right corner. You know it's a video. 

2. Autoplay Feature: this isn’t optional. Stewman set up the page so the video starts immediately. He’s a super engaging guy, so I bet damn-near-everyone watches at least a piece of the 19-minute video (he hides total video time, which is a smart move if you’re over 2 minutes...people are lazy).

1. Invisible Border: the black theme, combined with the black background and black suit — hides the border. It took me a few visits to realize it was a video.

2. Minimalist Play Button: just filling this in would increase views, although the autoplay seems to be the go-to move for today’s top online marketers.  

Okay, okay...I sweat that's it. I really hope you guys and gals enjoyed this admittedly long-ass post. Feel free to comment, share, or email me about it.