Episode #6 – Andre Chaperon On Why Storytelling Is Like Crack Cocaine To Email Subscribers

by John McIntyre

Andre Chaperon is one of the best email marketers I know. He’s also a badass email copywriter, despite never learning copywriting the traditional way (like CopyHour, for example).

Andre created Autoresponder Madness, a course that teaches you his storytelling system for email marketing. His entire business runs off the back of email autoresponders (the hallowed “email business”).

In today’s interview, he shares his strategy for driving sales with email marketing.


In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • Why story-telling is like crack-cocaine to email subscribers (and how to use it to double, triple, and even quadruple my response rates)
  • How to use high-level marketing strategies to make selling superfluous (ie. unnecessary)
  • How to pitch products softly, in a way that causes prospects to appreciate my emails and respect my company (instead of making them race for the “Unsubscribe” button)
  • What is a “soap opera sequence” and how does Andre Chaperon (the KING of email marketing) use it?
  • How to become the “most trusted advisor” of my prospects (and why this is absolutely essential to your success as a marketer)
  • Ninja techniques for discovering your prospects’ biggest, most painful problems (and how to use that information to create a tidal wave of sales)

Email Marketing Podcast Episode 1


Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO

Raw transcript:

John: If there’s something to be said for when people get an email they just don’t want information they want to be entertained and it’s amazing what stories would do. I was thinking … we were at the bar the other night with a couple of friends and …
Hey podcast listener, you’re about to discover insider tips, tricks and secrets to making more sales and converting more prospects into customers with Email Marketing. For more information about the Email Marketing Podcast or the Autoresponder Guy go to themcmethod.com/podcast.
Hey everybody, its John McIntyre here the Autoresponder Guy and it’s time for episode 6 of the Email Marketing Podcast where we talk about the top tips, tricks and secrets to making more sales and growing your revenue with Email Marketing.
It’s episode 6 and today I’ll be talking to talking to Andre Chaperon about why story telling is like crack cocaine to email subscribers and how to use it to double, triple and even quadruple your response rates. Andre is one of the best email marketers I know and in this episode he outlines his entire strategy plus how you can walk away from this interview with an action plan to improve the email marketing in your business. To get the show notes for this episode of the email marketing podcast go to themcmethod.com/ep6 but first I’ve got another person famous by reading out their review. I’ll do this real quick.
Today’s review is coming from Michael Kawula at selfemployedking.com, it reads. Warning don’t send another email to you listen. John brings consistent informative guests to help you grow your business. Listen if you send emails you need to get these golden nuggets and if you’re not sending emails what’s wrong with you? This works. Listen to the Autoresponder Guy and get prepared for massive opens on future emails. Thanks Michael that’s … you can check out Michael’s website at selfemployedking.com.
Now if you want to shout on the show leave me review, go to themcmethod.com/podcast click on the review link to go to iTunes and leave a review. Don’t forget to leave a link to your site. If you’re review is chosen I’ll read it out on the show and give you a little bit of fame. Now is there anything in particular you want to hear about, anyone you want me interview, any specific problems that you have in your business right now? Because let me know. I want to podcast about it. Send your problems … that sounds kind of morose but send your problems to [email protected] I’ll see what I can do to solve them for you. Okay? Now let’s talk to Andre Chaperon.
It’s John McIntyre here the Autoresponder Guy I’m here with Andre Chaperon a master story teller. He created Autoresponder Madness an email marketing training program that puts your email marketing on steroids. He’s one of the best if not the best email copyrighters I’ve ever met and he never even studied copywriting the way most copywriters have. I’ve learned a ton from him and I’ve applied tons of his strategies to my own email marketing campaigns and today we’re going to be talking about a bunch of stuff but mostly it all comes back to Andre’s strategy or the Autoresponder Madness strategy. We’re getting to that in just a moment. Andre how are you going today?
Andre: How are you doing man, I’m doing really well. Please excuse my sniffy nose but I’ve got a bit of hay fever so I’ll try not to sniff too much.
John: It’s all good man, I was out late on the weekend and I got a bit of a blocked nose for a catching up a few nights with a bit of a hangover. All right man I think a few people know who you are but let’s start off and tell people who is Andre Chaperon and what does Andre do?
Andre: I just write emails I guess. Yeah, I’m an introvert, I don’t do interviews and I don’t do … I certainly don’t do any videos so I kind of just … I hide behind email and that’s kind of I guess why I became pretty good at writing emails is because it was the only way for me to communicate with an audience. It kind of became natural after a while that I can just use email and text and communicate with a massive audience and influence them and persuade them and get them to do stuff without me having to stick my face out there. Yeah that’s kind of why I really focused on email massively and so now it’s just easy.
John: Yeah, okay because you started a long time ago. You’ve been doing this for 10 years now or 6 years or 7 years or?
Andre: Yeah 10 years this year.
John: Wow, you have a party a 10 year anniversary of some kind.
Andre: Yeah, I’m looking forward to that.
John: Okay, so you started off doing a range of stuff and then you started doing email where you would … and kind of this strategy has evolved overtime and now as far as I know you would call it … I mean it’s in your product, you’re Autoresponder Madness. Tell us a little bit about what’s Autoresponder Madness?
Andre: It’s just … it’s a unique way of writing and setting up email using story telling. I kind of borrowed it from the way Hollywood write all their blockbusters and their TV episodes whereas if you think about like a block of emails as an episode of Lost, let’s say Lost season 1 and Lost season 1 was twenty odd episodes. You could literally make twenty odd emails in an email sequence that would kind of do a similar thing. Obviously it’s not Lost per se but you use all the elements that those guys use to create engagement and hook people back into the stuff.
Yeah, it’s really easier than it sounds I guess but it’s just using storytelling to get people to go from email to email to email, it provides value because people love listening to and reading stories and within the context of your stories is your marketing message where you get to promote stuff and get to do stuff, move people towards you, get them to buy stuff.
John: All right, so yeah at the end of the day it’s trying telling these stories so they buy. It’s not a story in a single email it’s a story that’s spread over 10 emails and it never really ends. It just keeps people so they’re opening your emails over and over again.
Andre: Right, so yeah, you just keep adding emails to the end of the sequence and I’m talking about follow up sequences here not to broadcast emails. The strategy for broadcast emails is different so almost everything I do is based around follow up sequences because then you have full control over the context of what people are seeing all the way through the sequence.
John: Okay, so one thing I’ve been meaning to ask, I was going to ask you at the end but now’s a good time is we’re both familiar with Ben Settle and John McCulloch and some of these guys that do daily emails and they don’t do a lot of open loops, they don’t seem to use AR like the open loop strategy very much but they’re very confident in their own way of doings which is really just to tell a story in each email and then to sell in every single email. What do you think about that in relation to Autoresponder Madness?
Andre: Well I mean at the end of the day there’s no one way to skin a cat right. It’s just for me doing it this way has created this amazing groups of customers that would just … they just latch on to your stuff, they love reading all the emails that get sent out to the point that they email you when they think they’ve missed an email. Yeah for me it’s always been win win that way and of course you can sell in every single email there’s nothing wrong with that if you do it correctly.
The thing is most people don’t do it right so yeah, it’s a balancing act I guess but for me I just find it really easy just to string sequences of emails together, tell a story across them, use some open loops to create some engagement and some excitement and get people wanting the next email. It’s just creating … at the same time you’re also conditioning people too, when they see the email hit the inbox they want to open it because they just know there’s going to be some cool stuff inside there.
John: Right, and one thing that I thought of then is that the strategies are very similar, what do you do to … the daily email stuff and selling every email or you do the ARM open loop stuff it’s still always stories. This is what really blows my mind and it kind of surprises me when I finally realized it but it’s that sales and marketing the best … it’s all just stories, it’s not sitting down and coming up with crazy copywriting techniques or looking at the best headline formulas or anything like that. It’s a lot of the time it’s just telling stories.
Andre: Yeah, it’s all about telling stories. The people that get it all wrong just don’t tell stories and it’s just buy my shit, it’s a very small email link and then they wonder why they don’t get results.
John: Right.
Andre: Yeah I mean people use story telling in every single market in every single thing or the successful ones anyway. There’s a great book called Tell to Win by Michael Guber and he talks about how he uses story telling throughout his whole business and he’s in the movie business.
John: Okay.
Andre: Yeah.
John: Are those … might even be some I talked to they interviewed for the podcast but they mentioned when Top Gun the movie came out navy recruitment went through the roof and the sales of aviator sun glasses also went through the roof but there was no sales pitch, there was no call to action, there was no headline or crazy technique or anything. There was just a story and it’s just incredible how much of … everyone understands how that works that’s the interesting thing.
Andre: Yeah that’s the cool thing with doing it that way is you can literally tell a story and within the context of the story without forcing it you can have a marketing message and then it can just kind of conclude with by the way here’s this thing if you want to move forward or move your business forward or you want to do X, Y and Z by the way this is it here, that’s what I’m using. There’s no selling per se, of course there’s something for sale but the way that the whole thing has been positioned and framed it’s just completely different and people don’t see it as a sales pitch. It’s just creating this context and giving them this … writing the email in the way that you’ve written it you’re essentially providing value though there’s something for sale.
John: The way I think about it is you’re getting someone’s … the story or the topic or the subject matter just gets a certain type of attention and then you just put things in front of that type of attention and certain people are just going to buy because you have their attention.
Andre: Yeah, I mean email … writing emails is all about attention and trust. Trust is something that you build overtime and attention you can use these techniques to create attention and then once you own those two things then you … then it is possible then you can do anything, you can make a lot of money using email.
John: That’s a really good point to turn over to what … basically the idea that what makes the storytelling work and what makes guys like Ben Settle and guys like you or anyone get away storytelling stuff and selling stuff without … it’s almost like … I hate to use the phrase because I think it’s lame but sell without selling. It’s still selling but it’s not selling the way most people think. It seems to come back to research and empathy, understanding the market and you talk a lot about this in your material. Tell us a little about that, what’s … why is it important and what can people do to go and start to understand who they’re trying to talk to.
Andre: Yeah, I guess if there’s one secret this is it, that is that one thing I mean everything else is just techniques to get even better results but if there’s one thing that needs to be done and it’s this part which is understanding who you’re writing to and understanding their wants and needs and desires and the problem and the pain that they’re going through. For me understanding that is everything. What I’ve been doing more of lately is in person interviews and it’s just completely game changing. I’m a massive follower of the lean startup methodologies and that essentially everything is around doing this thing called customer development which is getting outside of the bull bin and interviewing people face to face or over the phone.
Yeah, so by doing that you can really understand and get a feel for what they’re going through and the whole empathy thing it’s just so much better than the normal observational thing which is still important to do though. When you just hang … you can go to forums and you can go to places where your audience hangs out and you can essentially be the fly on the wall and figure out what they’re going through. That if anything is like stage one and then stage two is take it to the next level and doing the interviews and the aha moments just keep going off. Then obviously when you know who you’re writing to and you know all the pain points and you know all these different things about them you can write emails with a long … that again resonate and just work really, really well and connect.
John: Right.
Andre: Obviously then whenever you tell the story you just wrap the story around all these emotional heart buttons that you know are going to connect with the people on the other end but if you don’t know what’s driving or motivating them you can tell any story in the world it’s just … it’s not going to work the same way. You can’t just tell a story for the sake of telling a story.
John: Right okay. People … you mentioned then people talk about going to forums and Amazon reviews and things like that but at the end of the day to the B’s and E’s of this research stuff is to go on to … well find a way to interview these people, face to face, over a coffee or call them. How could the average person let’s say they’re just getting started or maybe they have a list because I think most people listening to this would have a list what’s the best way for them to go out and do this and what sort of questions do they need to be asking?
Andre: There’s some really great resources on the internet about doing problem interviews. There’s a book that I use as my little manual called Running Lean by Ash Maurya. It’s a fairly new book and he’s got the whole script on there that he uses or you can just type Ash Maurya problem interview into Google and he’s got a massive article that he’s written about how he approaches doing proper interviews. I mean I’m no pro at doing interviews which is why I’m saying this. Just type in Ash Maurya problem interview into Google and you’ll find his article and it’s all inside there. He’s got the scripts, what he does, why he does it, what you shouldn’t do and that’s probably the best place to start.
John: Okay.
Andre: Yeah and then you just … I mean essentially it’s just about understanding the problem and yeah you just follow …
John: What’s a good way for people to find someone to interview because I think some people would wonder about that? Where do they get an interviewee?
Andre: Obviously if you already have an audience that you talk to and if you already operate within a space then you’re probably going to have a list like you already mentioned. I do proper surveys like using PollDaddy or SurveyMonkey and I hard code those surveys into different parts of my Autoresponder sequence. That’s always contextually relevant, I’ll ask questions based on what that story has been … that part of the sequence but so I’ll do those sorts of interviews from time to time and then I’ll just send out an email saying listen I mean to understand X, Y and Z and I’m looking to interview a few people then you get people just responding. When you’ve got a list of thousands of people it’s really easy to get 5 or 10 people responding to whatever.
Actually just yesterday or the day before I sent out an email and again there is different ways of gaining all these insights, there’s no one way which is a perfect way. The email that I wrote on Friday I ended off in the PS section that I’m trying to understand how many people on my list have good six figure or seven figure businesses because I didn’t … in terms of what ratio I was a bit in the dark about that so I just asked a question really and I’ve got a whole bunch of responses now from people which I’m now going to go through and understand what … because there’s obviously a different type of person on my list. I do lots of segmenting so at some point I’ll even start creating some segments for those high tier people and then creating different Autoresponder sequences for them.
John: Okay, I like how you did that because I got that email when you sent it and it was just very casual and there was nothing salesy or pressurey about it you just PS a bit of background context to understand what you wanted to know and then just kind of hit reply and tell me and then a little smiley face and that was it.
Andre: Yeah, exactly. It’s all under the radar, it’s just very by the way and people kind of resonated and they respond to that because for them it’s you emailing them. They’ve just received this email, it’s you talking to them and it’s very casual and then they just hit respond, hit the reply button and then they’ll tell you anything you want. To get to that point you need to build up that trust equity number that I kind of talk about a lot. Once you’ve got some trust established and …
John: Okay, I think one thing people need to understand is that you don’t need a high tech set up, you don’t need … you mentioned the survey things like PollDaddy and those things you can use Google forms which is free or you can just tell people to reply to the email and they’ll reply. It’s amazing, when you ask people questions say hit reply and tell me X they’ll reply.
Andre: Yes and the best thing with telling them to hit reply and tell me they normally tell you a lot they’ll … because they just think that they’re responding to you personally which they are because I mean it doesn’t go into a nonreply thing for me, it actually goes to my inbox which I get to see what they replied. Yeah people know that and then when you respond to them even if it’s a very short response like thanks I really appreciate you getting back to me it just blows their mind because they’ve actually got this personal response from you.
John: Okay. What I want to ask is is this an ongoing thing because you have Autoresponder Madness and I think that’s your main thing, are you doing this research just when you create products and create a sequence or do you do it as an ongoing maybe a monthly thing or a quarterly thing?
Andre: Yeah the ones that are hard coded into my sequences are just so that I can get the intel along the way and so I’m always on the pulse. I have different products and then … so as people come into my sales final I’ll ask them the question as well. They’re brand new people and I’ll ask them why did they buy this product, what motivated them to buy, what one thing did I say on the sales page that got you to buy it? Do you know me yes or no?
That creates a whole bunch of really amazing insights for me because now I get to see what’s working in my copy, what was that one thing that’s motivated him to buy or was it just because they know my name and then I could have said anything which is why I always ask that question, do you know me? If they say no, I don’t know you and this one thing is why I purchased it, that’s amazing insight which that you can then feedback into your sales final and so you it’s always getting more and more tight. It’s so easy, it’s just one little survey thing and everybody seems to respond to it. I mean a customer once as they’re coming to our final I mean we must get a 70 plus response rate, it’s really high.
John: That’s awesome. Okay so we’re coming on to about time soon but one thing I think would be really interesting to talk about is how do you take the research that you get and actually turn that into an email or a series of emails?
Andre: Well once you understand where people want to go or what end result they want to achieve it becomes a lot easier to understand what you can say along the way that’s going to move them forward or move them towards getting that end result. That’s where I start and then I’ll just wrap a story around that. It’s not … when you watch Lost that’s obviously one story that will take … that will go across an entire episode you obviously can’t tell a story in an email that’s going to go through twin emails. I mean every email has a new story or it can it can have one story that maybe rolls across three emails and then it just starts over again but it’s always contextually connected to a previous story because obviously you know what you’ve just written.
John: Yeah.
Andre: Yeah I just mock down on a piece of paper all these little points that when I get to the end to get to that point then you do these … go through these steps and then it’s just about writing emails that’s going to move them closer to that. When you understand the pain and the problem and desires it does become a lot easier to know what to write.
John: Okay because I know you have the Autoresponder Madness that’s the paid product, when you have like a marketing final that’s unpaid like prospects who haven’t bought anything yet are you sending them like content … in terms of like content marketing like tips and tricks and that kind of thing or are you just telling a story and trying to get them a bit riled up a bit excited about whatever you’re about to sell them?
Andre: I’m not a fan … I’m not a big fan of giving away lots of free information for the sake of just giving away free information. I know there’s lots of people that make the mistake that … and they give this tons and tons of free information away and then they wonder why people don’t respond when they finally ask them to actually pay for something.
John: Totally agree.
Andre: I’m very careful about what free stuff I give them so I’ll always write stories and within the context of the stories there’s always value and there could be tips within those emails but it’s not just shares an entire email of how to do X which is just like a freebie thing. I tend to avoid that but there’s still value in the emails that get sent out including tips. I also like to write stories whereas I will … one of my sales finals that actually works really well which is a free one I just take people through the scenario so then they can put themselves in that seat and I’ll give everybody in the email a name so these proper characters have names.
I do say in the beginning that I used fictional names to represent … to create the story but it’s all based on fact though and then I told the story about the newbie marketer that does X, Y and Z and then the story just kind of goes from there. Then they can insert themselves into that because I know that they’ve been through this already and they’ve been through all these problems and they’ve hit their head against the wall. When they read the story you can literally see them nodding their heads and as soon as you get them nodding their heads then you’ve won, then you’ve got them on your side because that’s empathy and then you can move them along.
You can move them towards the solution and then obviously at the end of the story even though it’s a free story at the end of the story you can say it’s really easy to have your product, your pay product as the solution at the very end and you’ve given them all this really amazing value along the way which is free but then a lot more people are going to respond to actually buying the thing because of the way it’s been presented to them.
John: Yeah, I think there’s something to be said for when people get an email they just don’t just want information they want to be entertained and it’s amazing what stories would do. I was thinking … we were at the bar the other night with a couple of friends and I remember telling a story and it was a completely made up story. One of my friends was there and she was listening to it and I was just making it up. I was lying on the couch and we just started off like let me tell you a story about something that happened recently and soon as someone hears that it opens that loop. Then there’s this … I think you talked about this zeitgernic whatever that word is, affect.
Andre: Yes.
John: Where there is literally they experience anxiety until they hear the closure to that story and it’s extremely powerful just hearing that line like you should hear what happened to me the other day. Someone is what happened? It’s just a natural inbuilt drive that they have to know. It’s crazy.
Andre: Yeah I mean it’s, that’s a good point. Then from the point where you’ve opened the loop to the point where you close that loop and they get the conclusion they’re very, very aware. You can … you’ve got their undivided attention and there’s very few things that create that same effect yeah and you can totally do it using email.
John: Awesome, cool man. We’ll we’re just about at time so before we wrap it up though give yourself a plug where can people find you and then we’ll say goodbye.
Andre: Yeah, autorespondermadness.com or just type in Autoresponder Madness into Google or type in Andre Chaperon into Google and I should come up.
John: Yeah or the other Andre Chaperon. That was a bad joke. Anyway thank you for your time Andre, this has been really good.
Andre: You’re really welcome man, take care.
John: Hey everybody, thanks for listening. If you want to discover more insider tips, tricks and secrets about driving sales with email marketing sign up for daily email tips from the Autoresponder Guy. Go to themcmethod.com/podcast sign up, confirm your email address and I’ll send you daily emails on how to improve your email marketing and make more sales via email. You’ll find out why open rates don’t matter and the seven letter word that underlies all effective marketing and much more.

2 thoughts on “Episode #6 – Andre Chaperon On Why Storytelling Is Like Crack Cocaine To Email Subscribers”

  1. John – This podcast is so bad add. It’s really well done, and frankly, you’ve inspired me to start my own. Great stuff, and the guests you’re selecting are top notch. Really pro stuff, I think you are well on your way. My only comment is that you better get ready to take on new business, because it’s going to come.


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