The R.I.P.E. Email Framework

The other day I Tweeted that the #1 myth in email marketing is that people don’t want a lot of emails.

And someone responded with “Wrong – as long as they have the right intent behind them.”

That got me thinking… what does intent mean when writing an email?

So I racked my brain and came up with 4 intentions or themes for an email:

  • Persuade: get the reader to take action, like buy an online course or click an article link
  • Inform: teach something
  • Entertain: make people laugh or cry
  • Repel: challenge the reader to decide if they’re in or not.

When we take the first letter of each word, we get P.I.E.R.

But… I don’t like that. Let’s go with R.I.P.E.:

  • Repel
  • Inform
  • Persuade
  • Entertain


As in ready to be devoured, like a big juicy watermelon.

Let’s talk about how to use each one in your email marketing.

The Repelling Email

Pushing people away is one of the most powerful marketing techniques known to man.

But it takes thick skin.

People will unsubscribe from your email list.

They will call you an idiot.

But you get two major upsides.

You know the people who stay are true believers.

And you show your audience you are not desperate.

Nobody wants to do business with desperate people.

So what does a repelling email look like?

The most common kind is the “this is not for you” email.

Let’s say you help people grow their Twitter followings.

You send an email explaining what your service is not for.

You’d say things like:

  • I only accept people willing to work 45 minutes a day
  • You must have under 500 Twitter followers
  • You must be willing to follow my plan to the letter

This might come off as obnoxious to you.

And that’s the point.

You split your audience into:

  • People who think you’re an idiot
  • People who believe in your message (a.k.a. customers)

How else can you repel your audience?

  • Experience Levels: “This is only for people with 5+ years of experience.”
  • Wealth/Income Levels: “This program is for e-commerce store owners earning $100,000+ per month.”
  • Political/Social Views: “If you voted for President So-And-So, you’re gonna hate this.”

The repelling theme works beyond email.

You can use it on opt-in pages, in marketing copy, and even when selling in person.

The Informing Email

The informing email is exactly what it sounds like – an email where you teach people something.

Informing emails are great because you do two things at once:

  • You offer value right off the bat
  • You surprise your audience

Because very people send emails that teach something right in the email.

Let’s say you show people how to edit videos with Apple’s Final Cut Pro X software

You could email a list of your favorite keyboard shortcuts.

Or a tip for managing audio files.

Or a warning about a broken feature.

Of course, you can link out to other sources in the email.

But make sure you let people learn something important right in the email.

It’s a huge trust-builder and it forces your readers to look forward to your emails.

And of course, if you join my email list, you get to learn things right in the email – no click necessary.

The Persuasive Email

A persuasive email is written to get someone to take action, like:

  • Click a link to watch a video
  • Buy a product
  • Fill out an application

I could write a 200-page book on the science and art of persuasive writing — and that might be coming in the future.

But here’s the short version.

To be persuasive, you must be empathetic.

Deep down, everyone in the universe is always asking “what’s in it for me?” 

Including you and me.

So if you want people to watch your video or buy your new course, you had better come up with a good answer.

Do not just beat people over the head with features.

You need to offer benefits, like:

  • Lose 17 pounds in the next month without exercising (fitness program)
  • Master the 6 best Metallica guitar solos (instructional guitar course)
  • Meet the woman of your dreams (dating tips)

The Entertaining Email

An entertaining email makes people feel something.

You want people to laugh, smile, cringe, or frown.

How do you do that?

You tell stories.

You share wins and losses.

You share great and terrible things that have happened to you.

For example, I told a story of how I worked on a 3-week product launch to 100,000 email subscribers, and made a whopping $37.

Not $37,000.

Not $3,700.


That was a big loss for me, and it makes me cringe.

But my readers find it entertaining.

And it’s also humanizing, because I show I’m a regular guy that’s made tons of mistakes and done lots of dumb things.

If you are always bragging in your emails, your audience will hate you.

Show your scars.

They make you more interesting.

Combining Email Themes

I’m sure you’ve asked by now “can’t we use more than one email theme at once?”

Of course!

You can tell a story in a sales email. 

Say you sell a copywriting program. You can tell people about your first successful sales letter, or talk about how your customers went from broke to making $15,000 a month. And you use those stories to get people to buy.

That combines Entertainment and Persuasion.

You can also teach in a “this is not for you” email.

Imagine we’re selling a course on making money through buying and selling used watches.

You could teach someone how to spot a fake Rolex. And then let people know they shouldn’t buy your course unless they have $5,000 to buy a real Rolex.

Read the sales emails in your inbox.

And I promise you will spot these themes.

Unfortunately, most marketers focus on Entertaining and Persuading.

They don’t spend enough time Repelling and Informing.

That’s all the more reason for you to be different.

Before you send your next email, ask yourself:

Out of the 4 first letters in the R.I.P.E. email themes:

  • Repel
  • Inform
  • Persuade
  • Entertain

How many of the elements are in place?

And is there a spot to use more than one?

Let me know how it goes…

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