Make Your Emails Stand Out: Speak the Language of progress

September 8, 2019

Often times people in marketing teams try really hard to sell a product, as such they wonder what the consumer wants. The answer is really simple. Clients want you, or your product, to help them solve a problem. But ultimately this is not all they want, once they solve said problem, they’ll turn their attention to the future. There is where the answer lies, consumers want progress.

This holds true for different companies and different products. When writing email content destined to your customers, they all want the same thing, progress. Ultimately what you want out of them is that they follow your call to action. The reception of your call to action can be increased by focusing on a simple thing the “Job to be Done” or JTBD for short. This can help you pique your readers interest. Start their buying process and persuade them to learn more about your brand, thus making them more engaged with it.

Here you will learn the fundamental aspects you need to know in order to properly speak the language of progress in our day and age. Take the following as a guideline on the way you provide content in your emails. A great idea would be to implement the advice given here along with the ideas obtained from our article about the anatomy of the perfect email.

Make Your Emails Stand Out: Speak the Language of progress

Everybody wants the same thing in the end.

As said above people want progress. This means that your emails should focus on what is attractive to customers while holding true that in the end your consumer wants progress. In this case progress can come in various shapes and forms. Do to keep in mind that in general progress is getting closer to your goal.

This is the same as saying that you get further away from what you don’t want. It doesn’t always mean doing the same thing you’re already doing cheaper or faster or better. It’s about improvement and change, making that better future more accessible.

This is the message and inspiration that people like to read in their marketing emails. Conveying the message is the hard part. This does require you to haver the right amount of abstraction when writing an email. When pitching a product this can be something really hard to do. For instance, if you’re selling a vacuum cleaner you might be tempted to say something like “making sure your house is clean with our product makes you seem more responsible” but this is just to plain and simple. In other cases, you might say something like “make your house cleaner than ever before with our new product” but this again, is too plain and simple, it doesn’t move people.

When writing a sales email your main concern should be focused on two main things that your customer cares for.

  • The situation that the customer is trying to change for the better.
  • The difficulties the customer faces in making an improvement.

With this in mind you need to ask yourself, are you speaking your recipient’s Job to be Done?

What is a Job to be Done (JTBD)?

powers motivational hierarchy

When we talk about a “Job to be Done” we refer to the need or want to improve your life-situation but can’t because some impediment. This is called a “job” based on the following.

  • In the same way an employer hires and fires an employee, consumers can do the same to their products based on their desire to change. Same as jobs.
  • Jobs are independent from any product, as they look for the solution of a problem while the product is the implementation of a solution.

Thinking like this can help you stay away of the product bias. This is being overly zealous of your product and trying too hard to sell it. Using JTBD is focusing on changing the customer life based on offering a solution to their problems rather than simply a means that may solve them.

As example of this, people don’t buy security cameras because they want to see the face of an intruder. This invites dread and makes you aware of a possible future that isn’t welcome. No, people prefer to buy security cameras in order to better help the police in the event of a break in, this would allow them to recover their property. Presenting the reason to buy a security camera in different manner, which the last is by far the most compelling reason based on what the customer wants, progress. This is just one example of using JTBD properly.

How to speak your ideal customer’s JTBD?

Speaking to a prospect’s JTBD will help you attract the right customers and at the same time keeping away unintended those customers that won’t help your business. We can learn how to do this by looking at the following example.

There’s a good article by CEO Jason Fried in which he talks about how his company looked for the answer “why do people shop?” instead of asking “why do my customers buy from me?”. The aim is to look for the elements that are needed to come together in order to generate a demand. His article leaves us with four JTBD phrased as struggles that cause people to shop.

  • We can’t keep working like this.
  • We can’t mess up like that again.
  • This project isn’t getting off the ground.
  • How am I going to pull this off?

Take a look at the following example from Basecamp, they send a message that aligns with these jobs.

why basecamp

Please do take notice of three very important data types that will help you understand demand.

  • The kind of change that is attractive to prospects.
  • The constrains or obstacles they face when implementing a change.
  • Competition, this is how consumers are currently trying to overcome #2 to get to #1.

Whenever you want to connect with your prospects as soon as possible, then acknowledge their struggles and obstacles and tell them you can get them the change they deem most attractive.

Your email should trigger the shopping and buying process.

Getting the attention of your possible customers is hard, but trying to get the attention of someone, that isn’t interested at first, is really hard. Keep in mind that people don’t start shopping until something moves them to do so. If you want people to shop for a new car then you need to entice them to do it. There are ways to do this properly in any case.

Other times you can take advantage of life-situations that move people to shop. For instances, if someone’s car breaks down and it’s more expensive to repair them than to buy a new car, that person will likely be shopping for a new car in no time.

These are not the only ways that makes someone start shopping. When you present a new and better way of living to a possible customer you move them to shop, you entice them to get your services and make progress in their lives. This is speaking the language of progress by using the JTBD mindset. This can be done in many ways, due to an ad on YouTube that has the right words, a scene in a TV series that makes them realize just how fun an activity is.

Once your possible customer gets a whiff of this possibility, then there’s no getting back. That possibility of a better future is always there in their minds and if you happen to provide a solution to their problems in the form of a product, then your chances of getting a new customer are pretty good.


The basis of the method described here can be put simply in the next question. How can I get my customers to begin shopping? The answer is simple. By speaking the language of progress.

  • Recognize their difficulties, acknowledge their constrains.
  • Make then aware of better experiences they might have because of your product.
  • Show them how your product can help them improve their life and overcome those difficulties, thus improving their life.

Implement this new mindset and language into your emails and I have no doubt that your sales soar trough the sky’s. Having more and better customers isn’t always about the sheer amount of effort in an email marketing campaign. Sometimes is about finding the right customers based on the language you speak; in the case of a successful business this language is that of progress.

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