Famous John Caples Headline Revived in Email Marketing

I subscribe to a variety of email lists that focus on marketing, economics, and stock trading.

Some I subscribe to because of genuine interest in the subject matter. Others I subscribe to as a form of research for my copywriting.

Anyway, one of the things I like to do is watch which subject lines get my attention. Here’s one that got my attention last week:

They laughed when we launched a mutual fund…

I opened the email and this is what was inside:

They Laughed When We Launched a Mutual Fund...

I think this is a brilliant adaptation of the classic John Caples headline…

They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano
~ But When I Started to Play!

Why do I think The Motley Fool’s version is so brilliant?

Because starting a mutual fund really is something people would laugh at — especially if up to that point you’ve only offered individual stock picks.

I also love the transition from the headline into the subhead… “But guess who’s laughing now? Our shareholders!”

This puts a little twist on the original John Caples ad.

Instead of focusing on one group’s laughter that turns to shock and then applause, The Motley Fool email talks about two groups of people. The email shifts from the group who first laughed at the idea to the group that didn’t laugh and actually invested in the new mutual fund. Now they’re laughing.

Because of this shift, The Motley Fool version adds an extra dash of revenge. Those who first laughed are now being laughed at.

So why do I share this email with you?

Because in case after case, it’s clear that all the most successful, most dominant, and most profitable companies know how to sell by email.

All these companies have to do is press send and within minutes their online coffers are filling up with cash. It’s the next best thing to minting money.

Want to make more money online? Build a list and learn how to write emails that sell.

-Ryan M. Healy


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Ryan Healy

Ryan Healy is a freelance copywriter, list manager, and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like WordStream.com, SmallBizClub.com, and MarketingForSuccess.com.