Learning the Truth at 17: How to Establish a Unique “Voice” in Your Email and Autoresponder Copy


One of the most common questions I get asked is, “Jay, what sort of voice should I use in my emails?”

At first thought, it seems pretty simple — write in your client’s voice and sell the product as he or she would. No more, no less. Cut-and-dried.

But, as with anything in copywriting, it’s not as easy as it sounds. I know this firsthand (Boy, do I EVER) …

You see, a while back, one of my biggest clients was preparing for a major product launch of a high-priced product. And, he asked me to write some affiliate “swipe” copy for him.

In case you’re not familiar with the term, affiliate swipes are emails that are pre-written for affiliates by the marketer who’s asking them to promote their product. These emails are crafted specifically for each affiliate so they have little work to do before sending the email out to their lists … maybe just changing a name field or inserting a link. It’s a veritable win-win, because the marketer gets more sales and the affiliate gets a nice commission check for basically hitting the “Send” button.

So, when my client came to me with this project, I was ready. I had written my share of affiliate swipes in the past, so I knew exactly what to do.

“How many do you need?” I asked, thinking maybe three or four total.

“Seventeen,” he replied.


He wasn’t kidding — there were seventeen (17!) different affiliates that needed swipe copy. Which meant writing 17 different emails selling the same product. In 17 different ways.


But, to be truthful, creating all those different copy approaches wasn’t the REAL challenge here. Not by a long shot …

I had to write in 17 different VOICES as well. And, those voices were as varied as the food selection in a Las Vegas buffet …

We’re talking the full gamut, from renegade marketers who use slang and salty language like it’s going out of style, to straight-laced, conservative types who consult with Fortune 100 companies on a regular basis.

Plus, a few of these affiliates were high-profile copywriters, with names you would certainly recognize. Which made the task even MORE difficult.

So, needless to say, my work was cut out for me. I hunkered down, poured myself a Titanic-sized cup of coffee, and started clacking away.

Two days later, I emerged from my copy coma, unshaven and needing a shower, but intensely proud of what I had achieved — 17 vastly different, yet highly-specific emails that were custom-tailored for each voice and their list.

And, the result? One of my client’s biggest launches ever, with affiliate sales leading the way to millions of dollars in profits.

How did I do it?

Well, it wasn’t easy. Putting your words into the mouth of somebody else never is, especially when it comes to selling a $2,000 information product.

But, there were three go-to strategies I consistently used to help me find each voice during my quest, and I think they can help you with your own clients as well …

  • Dig Into The Client’s Website: This one seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by what you can learn from an in-depth study. Go over everything on their site(s) with a fine-tooth comb. Listen to how they talk to their prospects. Is it funny? Serious? Results-oriented? Hypey? Look for an “About Me” page and see if there’s some personal info you can glean from. The key is to find common recurring themes and implement them into your emails. VERY powerful!
  • Subscribe To Their Lists: This may be the easiest way to crawl inside your client’s skin and see what makes them tick. Look at how they approach each autoresponder message. See if you can find certain words or phrases they use consistently throughout and weave them into your own messages. If you’re pressed for time (like I was), go ahead and subscribe, then examine the Welcome email closely. You can pull a TON of great info from just that first autoresponder.
  • See What Others Are Saying: When it all comes down to it, it’s really about the list more than the client, right? So, Google their name and start reading what others are saying about them and their products. What’s the vibe? Positive? Negative? Approaching hero worship? Or torches and pitchforks? Then, form a general picture of the typical follower of this client in your mind and write specifically for THEM. So simple, but amazingly effective!

Hit all of these hot spots and you’ll literally be hearing the client’s voice in your head as you write. And soon, you’ll be effortlessly cranking out email and autoresponder copy that your clients will be drooling over (and their lists will be going crazy for).

In fact, it may be SO incredibly spot-on that your client gets all the locks changed in their home, thinking you’ve been sneaking in their house at night and taking notes. 😉

Go forth and prosper!

Jay White

Jay White

After working as an award-winning radio copywriter and catalog writer, Jay White made the switch to autoresponder copy and is one of the most sought-after writers in the industry.

One Comment

  • Jay,
    Great information and thanks!

    I was wondering—-Does using the “Power of One” approach help in developing ultra-specific, call to action points in these affiliate swipes?

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