Inbox Pause: How we used a GIF to help users visualize their goals – and hit them with Tailwind

Ep. 7 | Solo Episode

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How do you convince your audience to take time out of their busy day to set the goals they need to succeed with your software? You make a crazy ask and intro yourself with a little inbox mediation – complete with visualization GIF! Because when you’re talking to an audience using visuals to grow, what better way to help them see their success than having them paint their own imaginary self portrait for the future?



(4:27) How I landed on the big idea for this email flow – and the 3 reasons it worked so well

(6:52) The type of email that I find hardest to write – and why

(8:58) What it was like to write an email flow together with another copywriter

(9:53) How this email changed from its original iteration

(10:16) The reactions this email garnered


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Nikki Elbaz: So here I was drooling over all these gorgeous Instagram feeds, and in the
back of my head is also all this talk about how much they love their customers and how
much they appreciate their customers and how they know how hard their customers are
working. And I suddenly had this thought.

Nikki Elbaz: Welcome to email swipes, where we peek behind the scenes at the emails
that catch your attention and earn their place in your swipe file. Every other week we’ll
talk to an email expert about an experiment they ran, and in the following episode, we’ll
dive into the strategies and methods used in the email so you can inform and inspire
your own email work. I’m Nikki Elbas, the copywriter behind winning emails for eight
and nine figure sass and ecommerce brands like Shopify, Four, Sigmatic, and Sprout
social. And I know that hearing the background stories to these emails will help you turn
pie in the sky insights into plug and play actions ready to make inspiration tactical.
You want to grow your business by driving traffic from Instagram to your website.

Nikki Elbaz: Let’s go. First, let’s read today’s email.

Nikki Elbaz: So cool to see you’ve joined Tailwind, Nikki. I’m Danny. Hi. We haven’t met,
but I’m the CEO of Tailwind and I wanted to reach out to you because I feel like we have
something really fundamental in common. We both have goals. I know, I know,
everyone has goals. But we’ve got big goals. For example, you want to grow your
business by driving traffic from Instagram to your website. That’s a big, awesomely
ambitious goal. I shared one of my big goals on Instagram recently. It’s illustrated here.
My goal was to live a healthier life. My journey toward that goal started with I had a
vision of what my m after would be. My vision was that image you see on the right
above. I got there and now my vision has shifted to the next iteration of who ill be while
always being the proud dad of the birthday girl. Im not sure what iteration of your
business youre on, Nikki, but chances are good that no matter how successful you are,
youre in a before version of your businesss story. And you have an after in mind.
Something you envision, like doubling traffic year over year, or tripling leads from
Instagram, or something even more ambitious. Successfully driving good traffic from
Instagram is within your reach, especially with help from tailwind. But for stellar results,
it helps to envision where you want to grow too. It helps to visualize a future that’s as
clear as the after photo above. So I’m going to ask you to do something a little strange.
Nikki Elbaz: Bear with me. One thing I’ve learned from my pre tailwind days at Google,
AOL and YouTube. Is this when youre willing to take risks and do the crazy thing? You
create space for creativity and productivity to thrive. So heres my ask of you, as
wonderfully busy as you are, pause for a moment and look into the GiF below. Let your
thoughts wander with this prompt to guide them. What one thing has been keeping me
from driving the traffic and leads I want using Instagram? Theres no wrong answer by
the way. Next, take another moment to visualize what it will mean to your business and
your life. When you actually do double traffic from Instagram this year. What will it mean
when tons of that traffic converse into subscribers or leads? Visualize that outcome.
Nikki Elbaz: Got a crisp picture in mind?
Nikki Elbaz: Rosy filters applied? Good. Use that vision to drive the next few weeks with
Tailwind. And if you’re keen, why not hit reply and share your vision with me? Thanks
for taking this risk with me Nikki. I’ll check back in soon. Danny PS, I’m wondering what kind of results you’ll see with Tailwind? You can see typical
results of tailwind for Instagram members here.

Nikki Elbaz: This email was a welcome email from the CEO, um, for an onboarding flow
for the Tailwind Instagram segment to back up a second. Tailwind is a social media
management tool that focuses specifically on, um, Pinterest and Instagram. Yes,
Pinterest marketing is a legit thing. I was totally blown away when I dug into this
underground world when doing research for their Pinterest onboarding sequence.
Anyway, Tailwind has an amazing suite of tools for managing Pinterest and Instagram
accounts. And we, the copyhackers agency team where I was working at the time, were
tasked with helping new signups use the software and of course, to help them hit that
aha uh-huh moment so that they never want to go back to life before tailwind. So this
email sat in the flow that was specifically for the Instagram users, and it was the second
email to go out there being a regular, standard welcome email prior and then this one
coming second. But let’s back up a second and talk about the entire flow because it
was really fun. Dawn, Petran and I were on the project and Joe pitted us against each
other. Each of us would come up with a big idea for the flow and then the team would
vote on the winning idea and we would both write the emails using that winning idea.
Well, give me a competition like that and I am bringing my a game. I dug into the talent
platform, the research, and of course, all the Instagram feeds. So here I was drooling
over all these gorgeous Instagram feeds, and in the back of my head is also all this talk
about how much they love their customers and how much they appreciate their
customers and how they know how hard their customers are working. And I suddenly
had this thought, hey.

Nikki Elbaz: What if we feature the feeds in the emails? There is something so addictive
about the Instagram feed and the talent community is so strong. It was the perfect
marriage of these two things to create the perfect strategy. So that’s the big idea that I
brought. Each email hook would feature an image from one of the tailwind users
Instagram feed. Every email would open with a picture that one of the users had posted
on Instagram, and the email would segue from there. So, for example, we used a
picture of this insane wedding cake to talk about the fact that you need strong
foundations to build amazing things. We used a picture of a repurposed foyer table to
talk about finding diamonds in the rough to promote the hashtag finder feature, that
kind of thing. Now, the benefits of this were threefold. Number one, simply being that it
would be super fun and visual, just, you know, really engaging and enjoyable. Again,
that whole eye candy Instagram thing. Number two is that it was a great way to sneak in
some stats on their users success. So it was just really great, subtle social proof. In the
caption area, we listed the handle and the number of followers of the user. And the third
thing is that it was also really beneficial for the influencer because it was just another
way to promote their content to a new audience. Every new tailwind signup would see a
piece of their feed, so it was a way of giving back to the tailwind community. So this was
the idea of the flow. And then came the founder. Welcome email now. I always write my
welcome emails last. I find them very challenging. They are the brands first impression.
They are your first chance to make sure that it isnt your last open. And I always want to
stuff in so much into that first welcome just, you know, hit them over the head with
everything. So overall pretty challenging. But because we had this big idea for the entire
flow, this welcome was actually really easy. I mean, also because one of the founders
most recent Instagram posts was totally perfect for what I was trying to tell the new
users. I was scrolling through his feed looking for the right image to include in his email
and I was even wondering if maybe his email is different and maybe it didn’t need to
have an image, should it have the image. And then I saw his before and after weight
loss image. I clicked on the post and the story behind it was all about how he hit this
goal, the things he did to stay focused and how he worked hard to get from that before
to the after. It was total perfection. One thing that I find so hard about welcomes is that
you have to help the subscriber keep that fire that they’re feeling when they first sign up.
When they sign up, they’re excited, they think they found a solution, they’re dreaming of
the possibilities and then they realize that this is a tool and they have to learn it and it’s
going to take time to get results and they still have to work hard, even if the tool will
make things easier. So I thought, how can we tie all of this together? How can we keep
this excitement going even as they get into the nitty gritty of, uh, the software, how can
we combine everything that I wanted to welcome all together? And the answer is future
pacing. Future pacing is an important copy technique that we will get into in the
takeaways. But in a nutshell, it’s where you show your prospect what life will look like
when they achieve their desires with your solution. And because Instagram is so visual
and we were using these visuals and everything, I was just like, wait, what if we have
them visualize their future? So that in about six minutes is how this email was born.
We split the email between me and dawn to make it more personal
Okay, uh, now that we cover the big picture of how this email came about, let’s get into
the nitty gritties of this email’s creation.

Nikki Elbaz: I mentioned that we split the email. Writing between me and dawn and that was really interesting. That’s the first time I did anything like that. We came at it from very different angles. I was leaning
into the more SaaS voice of showing the platform in a concise, straight to the point way
and she was leaning into the audience of creatives and influencers and writing more
flowery and fun. Both of us were right, so we had to work to meld those two angles
together. It was really cool.
Nikki Elbaz: Another thing that was super cool is.
Nikki Elbaz: That this email showed me really strongly how genius Jo is at
copycheafing. She took what I thought was a strong email and uh, wow. She turned it
into a masterpiece. One thing that she’s always been really good at is getting into the
reader’s head at the moment that they’re reading the email. She added in the line of as
wonderfully busy as you are, validating that its a bit inconvenient to take the time, but its
an unconventional way to hit your goals. Well get into this more in the takeaways. She
also made the meditation exercise much more practical. I had close your eyes in order
to help them visualize their future. She had the idea to include a really mesmerizing GiF
for them to stare into. It was genius. Its kind of hard to read an email if youre closing
your eyes. There were a couple of cool results from this email. The first is that it led to
my unofficial promotion of head of email at the copyhackers agency. That was the cool
one. The second is that the team loved it. The founder specifically was really excited
about it.
Nikki Elbaz: That’s always huge when you’re writing an.
Nikki Elbaz: Email in someone’s voice. Getting their approval is a huge win.
Nikki Elbaz: He thought the idea of talking to.
Nikki Elbaz: The users about their goals was so strong he wanted to feed it into their
overall marketing strategy. He was also so keen on the.
Nikki Elbaz: Email that he asked if we could.
Nikki Elbaz: Ask people to reply and share their goals with him. He’s the one that added
in those two lines at the bottom. He knew it would make it more personal and also give
him some great anecdotal data on what his audience is working towards. And finally, it
got one of my favorite replies ever from the email expert who ran Sephora’s email
program. Hi Danny, this is probably one of the best intro emails that I’ve ever seen. With
five years of experience running an email program for Sephora USA. I love how
genuine and imperfect your welcome letter is. You’ve accomplished. Number one,
welcoming a new member into your home with open arms. Number motivating me to
set goals to accomplish bigger things. Number three, leaving such a great impression to
a stranger like myself. I am excited to use your platform and I can’t wait to take the risk
with your team. Best of luck and stay healthy. Sincerely, William that felt really cool. But
there was a big downside to this email story. These emails were ready to go live right
as COVID hit. So the team scrapped the emails and went with a whole other strategy
that fit better with the times. It was crazy disappointing and I still wish the emails were
given their time in the sun. But that’s email life. Sometimes the idea is still in my back
pocket. Maybe I’ll be able to use it for something similar one day. Or hey, maybe you
listening and will just make sure you send them to me so I can celebrate with you.
Nikki Elbaz: Thanks for joining me for email story time. If you enjoyed today’s story, give
this podcast a review so email marketers like.
Nikki Elbaz: You can have more fun with email. See you next week when we dig into
this story’s takeaways.

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