How Internet Marketers Use Deceptively Simple Emails To Make Millions


in Guest Post, Make Money

One thing we don’t talk about much on Hack The System is the nuanced world of internet marketing.

Why? Well, there are a few reasons.

First — it’s incredibly hard to have an honest conversation about what goes on in the industry because many of the so-called “gurus” lie about their incomes, inflate their numbers and obfuscate the truth. They don’t really WANT us to know what they’re doing…or how they’re doing it.

Second — there’s so MUCH to cover that it’s extremely difficult to give a comprehensive overview of what internet marketing actually is, and how it works.

But the fact remains, there’s a tiny subset of the entrepreneur population that knows how to leverage the powerful psychology of direct sales and marketing, combined simple email technology, to make more money than most of us could ever fathom.

How do you write persuasive copy that captivates peoples’ minds and persuades them to buy?

What is a “funnel,” and how do savvy marketers use it to create a virtually unlimited cash flow?

Welcome my friend, Daniel DiPiazza — a high-level copywriter, marketing strategist and the founder of Rich20Something.

Today, he’ll reveal to you exactly how he uses every tool at his disposal to help trigger customers to buy — and in the process, make his clients hundreds of thousands (sometimes, even millions) of dollars.

Take it away, Daniel.


As many of my readers know, one of the ways that I make income is as a high-level copywriter and marketing consultant. I help 6 and 7-figure companies put together products and funnels that generate them LARGE amounts on money, very quickly.

But when I talk about this with my friends and family….they really have no idea what that means. So today, I wanted to not only tell you what copywriting is, but also TEACH you how to create a powerful marketing funnel.

(If you’re not familiar with what a marketing funnel is, you probably haven’t read about The Narnia Effect.)

In this post, you’ll learn how to:

  • A) Build a new funnel that will make you lots of money
  • B) Enhance a funnel that you already have to make much more money

Essentially, I’m going to teach you how to use only your words to create massive amounts of revenue.

At the end of the post, I even give you the exact formulas I’ve used to do it myself.


Step 1: Build an email list

The first thing you’ll need is an email list of people that want to hear from you.


I command you to stop whining!

Building an email list/online brand is not that hard.

30-Second crash course in building an internet brand/email list:

1.) The first thing you’ll want to do is start a blog that has something unique to offer — make sure it stands out (here’s how).

2.) Write honest, original content that people want to read — so compelling that they MUST share it. I owe my success (and THOUSANDS of subscribers) in large part to my Open Letter To Frustrated 20-Somethings, which went viral and ended up getting featured on Under30CEO, Lifehack, Huffington Post and others.

3.) Don’t just wax philosophical – write step-by-step content that actually HELPS people — hint: the monster post you’re reading right now is an example. Then, find other, bigger blogs where your content will fit and offer it as a guest post. For instance, check out this guest post I did for Under30CEO. MASSIVELY helpful to others (look at the comments – almost 200!), and sends me hundreds of readers/month. It’s truly a gift that keeps giving.

4.) Don’t just wildly pitch blog owners to do guest posts — use a strategic approach. Ramit breaks it down well here.

There are many ways to build an email list, but the 4 steps above can get you thousands of subscribers without doing anything else.

Step 2: Learn basic copywriting

Once you have the email list — even a small-ish list of a few hundred people will do — you can start monetizing it by offering products and services that people want.

They can be digital products, physical products, services or experiences. It really doesn’t matter. But how you communicate that offer DOES matter.

We covered the list-building part. Naturally, copy is the next part.

The amount of money you make will be in direct proportion to:

  1. The size/responsiveness of your list — more people = more $$$
  2. The quality of your content/copy — has to be compelling
  3. The quality of your product/service — and how well you communicate that
  4. The construction of your funnel — the more sophisticated/personalized, the better

I don’t have the space to go into the basics of copywriting here. It’s an art form in and of itself. What I can tell you is that it’s not as simple as slapping a few words into an email, pressing send and hoping to make sales.

Will you make sales even if your writing sucks? Honestly, probably. But you’d be astonished how much MORE you can make if you just learn the basics of how to write direct-response copywriting.

My suggestion – don’t scour the internet reading 5,000 articles trying to “figure out” copywriting. Dive in and take a short course — like Neville Medhora’s Kopywriting Kourse.

At the very least, buy his book: This Book Will Teach You How To Write Better. Solid, actionable advice you can use right now to become a better writer. And the book is like $2 on Kindle, dude. There’s no excuse. No, I don’t get any type of commission or props for recommending his products. I just know that they work, and have bought over 40 copies for friends and family.

Ok. Done with that.

Step 3: Construct the funnels

Alright, you’ve made it this far. Yes! We have our list. We know how to write purty good.

Now it’s time to start building these funnels.

Now, to clarify here: There are  3 funnels that have made clients of mine over $1 Million.

  1. The Emotional Trigger Funnel
  2. The Multi-Variate Funnel
  3. The Live CTA Funnel

Since they take a long time to sketch out  here’s the deal I’ll make you:


Today, I’ll show you a #1 on the list, a powerful funnel called the “Emotional Trigger.” Although it may look a little complex, it’s actually the simplest of the 3 funnels, and the easiest to implement immediately.

The “Emotional Trigger” funnel is the foundation of every great funnel, and mastering it will teach you 90% of what you need to know about this creating compelling, systematic sales processes.

The other 2 funnels are even MORE powerful, and I’d be happy to show them to you, so I’ve created the Advanced Funnel and Copywriting Blueprint. It’s a free “mini-course” on the most powerful material I’ve used to make my clients, quite literally, millions of dollars.

The blueprint even includes actual BATTLE-TESTED copy that I’ve written so that you can reference and see how everything fits together — and you’ll get access to me if you have questions.
I’ll send the Blueprint right to your inbox — just click here to get it.



In the meantime, take a look at the “Emotional Trigger” funnel.

Something to remember: These are all “launch funnels”  — meaning that they are used to launch products periodically. But with a little tweaking, they could always be turned “evergreen”, which means that they would become automated, and they would be sent to new leads automatically upon signing up.

For the sake of simplicity, I won’t differentiate between the two here. I’ll just call everything a “funnel.”

As I stated above, there are several elements to maximizing your revenue  — but putting the pieces of the funnel in the correct place is one of the most important aspects.

And it’s also the aspect that nobody ever talks about. People who don’t know exactly how everything works speculate.

And those who DO know how to create these systems tend to play coy and keep the information for themselves.

No more, I say!

Funnel #1: The Emotional Trigger Funnel

Glossary of terms

1.) Pain points are emotional triggers that are universally felt and understood. Things that feel uniquely personal, but at the same time, are shared experiences. Dr. Suess really understood these pain points and used them to create deeply touching works that connect with kids and adults alike.

My favorite example of a universally shared pain point, The Sneetches. All of them had stars on their bellies, except for one unlucky fella — and he felt like an outcast. What starts as a simple story about fictional creatures in a make-believe land evolves into something personal: “Hey, I’ve felt like an outcast before.” Hit these universal, emotional pain points.


The Sneetches

2.) CTA means “Call To Action.” Basically, just instructing the reader to take an action. In some cases, it may be to click a button, leave a comment or email you back. In a sales situation, a CTA would be “gain instant access”, etc. A green light at an intersection is an example of a universally-understood CTA.

You have to TELL people what you want them to do. They’re much more likely to do it when instructed. Remember the TV psychic Ms. Cleo? She built a multi-million dollar business not by asking, but by telling people, “Call me NOW!”

Look at this brilliant CTA:


3.) “Open loop” refers to something that you start in one email, pique the reader’s interest, then intentionally….

….don’t finish the interesting statement until the next email.

It’s great for connecting emails and making people want to read.

Get it?

 P.S. – this works well if you put it in a “P.S.” People tend to scan the email and read the last few lines

4.) Crunchy tactic – Something actionable, that the reader can actually DO.


5.) Magic bullet – the solution to the reader’s biggest problem



The Emotional Trigger Template (Copy This And Make Money)


The “Emotional Trigger” is the most important funnel because it is the basis of so many effective email campaigns. It’s the bedrock. It’s square one. This isn’t the ONLY way to construct a funnel — but it’s a simple format that’s been tested to work.


Remember, our entire goal is to use psychology to delight our audience and make them identify with us (reference the Old Spice campaign). This funnel leverages emotional triggers, especially pain points, to dig deep into the psyche of our readers and compel them to feel an emotion. Later, we’ll leverage that emotion and show them a product that we know will help them.

 (Insert evil laugh)

If you look at the diagram above, it’s laid out over 5 days, and each day, the reader gets a new piece of the message that leads them further down the rabbit hole of pain, eventually compelling them to buy something that you can provide.

Think of your campaign as carving out a unique piece of the customers brain, like a puzzle piece, in a shape that can only be completed with the matching puzzle piece — your product offering.

 To illustrate how this works, let’s create a sample product. Something simple.

Let’s say we’re selling digital courses on how to play the guitar.

Why did I pick that? Well, I just looked around the room and saw my guitar. But this doesn’t have to be an information or course-based product. It could be a physical device or a service offering. The guitar course is simply an example.

ASSUMPTIONS: We’re going to assume a few things about our demographic/list to guide our copy here. Do your own research for your market and email subscribers:

  • Primarily males
  • 18-35
  • 40k average income
  • Native English speakers
  • No experience playing guitar/ very beginning level

Here’s a day-by-day bulleted breakdown of how the email sequence might play out.

I’m not going to write the entire funnel for you because, damn, that would take a long time and you can’t afford me. But I’ll give you enough to get the idea.

SIDE NOTE: I linked the skill of guitar playing to to attracting women because of the assumptions I’ve made about my fake demographic. This is an arbitrary decision I made because linking things to relationships/sex/social pain can be powerful.

You definitely don’t have to take that type of positioning.



Email #1 — Monday: Emotional Story

SUBJECT: I watched from the sidelines as he impressed her…

  • Emotional story about your high school experience. Relatable.
  • One guy was so cool, always played guitar and girls swooned over him
  • Looked so rugged playing in the back of his pickup truck. Held “parking lot concerts”
  • He wasn’t smarter or better looking than you — he just had a cool, in-demand skill
  • Pain of having no attention, not even knowing where to begin
  • CTA: Email me back – have you ever been envious of the attention somebody got because of a unique skill they had? Do you find yourself STILL thinking about it years later?
  • PS – Tomorrow, I’ll tell you exactly what I did to snap out of my “mental haze” and actually start learning guitar — and getting more attention


Email #2 — Tuesday: Overcoming Obstacles

SUBJECT: The moment I held my first Fender

  • Narrator makes a decision that he’s going to learn – no matter what
  • Goes into music store – picks up a Fender guitar
  • How it feels in his hands – he’s inspired and a little afraid
  • But then, realizes that he doesn’t have to master this overnight – it’s a process
  • Crunchy tactic – take learning a new skill one day at a time
  • Once I had this realization, a feeling of ease
  • Now I help my students get that same feeling – and it actually makes them see success much faster
  • Tease: If this sounds like something that’d be helpful to you, keep reading, I’m working on something special that I’m going to reveal tomorrow.

Email #3 — Wednesday: Turning Point (soft sales)

 SUBJECT: Finally…it all started to “click”

  • Narrator starts playing, slowly, painfully but progress is there
  • Starts to learn one of his favorite songs – and actually gets it!
  • Not 100% confident, but brings the guitar to school where the cool guys are
  • Starts playing and attracts a little crowd
  • Girl he likes says “OMG, I love that song!”
  • He can’t stop smiling – and at that moment, it “clicks”
  • He realizes guitar isn’t about the instrument, it’s about self improvement and expression
  • His confidence is up 1000% and he keeps learning and getting better
  • Why did he wait so long??
  • Now, he wants to other people to have the same amazing feelings- so he developed XYZ course
  • CTA: “I’ll be telling you more this week…but If you’re sick of waiting for this transformation, you can check out the course here.”
  • PS – course will only be open until XYZ – add LINK

Email #4 — Thursday: Sales Open

SUBJECT: XYZ course is now open – learn more here 

  • Yesterday I told you about my turning point blah blah blah, and now, I want to tell you about the course I put together to help you get there even faster
  • Here’s a tactic/strategy you didn’t know
  • Lists features of course
  • List BENEFITS of course*
  • What if you had this? How much better would your life be
  • CTA – click here to join the course LINK TO SALES PAGE
  • PS – Tomorrow is the last day LINK TO SALES PAGE


NOTE: The difference between features and benefits — features tell what the product does/consists of, benefits tell how it will help/change the user’s life.


Quick example:

Feature of a guitar training course: 10 hours of modules in HD video

Benefit of a guitar training course: Learn to play 2X faster than trying to teach yourself


Email #5 — Friday Morning: Sales Close #1

SUBJECT: Is XYZ course right for you (closing tonight!)

  • Identify all objections and prove they are wrong
  • This course is right for you if…
  • This course is NOT right for you if…
  • “Future-casting”: Where will you be 6 months, 1 year, 5 years from now if you don’t take this step?
  • Testimonials from current customers
  • Guarantee
  • PS – Scarcity: Course is closing tonight, get it now! LINK TO SALES

Email #6 — Friday Evening: Sales Close #2*

 SUBJECT: XYZ course is closing in 4 hours – last chance!

  • Last chance
  • Hazards of not taking action (doom and gloom!)
  • Examples of people who were skeptical, but it worked!
  • Challenge yourself, nothing to lose
  • This is the last time you’ll hear about this for a while
  • Brief recap of benefits

* Sometimes a personal video works well with this video. Just open up your laptop and speak openly and honestly.




That, in a 2,495 word nutshell, is how you sell anything via email.

Properly used, the information in this article (which should be a mini-book, actually) is worth at least $500k in the right hands.

But what about the advanced stuff?

Get all the ADVANCED secrets I couldn’t cover here — FREE


I’ve put together an entire advanced course for you called the Advanced Funnel and Copywriting Blueprint, completely free. The course contains a HOURS of material that I couldn’t fit here.

It includes:

  • Step-by-step diagrams for building and running multiple high-profit funnels at once
  • Specific formulas for automating your funnels to be “evergreen” so that you make money in your sleep
  • Real copy I’ve used successfully so that you can see exactly how everything works.   
  • Worksheets and checklists to maximize your copy and make sure that you’re not forgetting anything
  • Access to me for help with your project

Get Daniel’s Advanced Funnel and Copywriting Blueprint — click here.


MICHELLE!!! May 5, 2014 at 9:23 am

Thanks for the detailed info Daniel! I am just getting started and am in the very beginning stages of this. I have been wanting to start blogging and start an online business, but don’t know where to start or what to write about. I want to do what you have laid out in this article, but don’t know what to sell. Thoughts?


Philip April 20, 2014 at 2:49 am

This was an amazing article

I have studied marketing, human nature and emotional buying triggers for a long time and what you say is what all the great marketers say.

I spent many years in the Internet Marketing community. All the things you teach is great and powerful stuff. What I have a problem with is all the lying that begins to creep in to these kind of marketing tactics

LIE: “Only 500 copies will be sold”
FACT: thousands of copies will be sold

LIE: “Oops…the server died and we have decided to extend the deadline to buy our product.
FACT: this was another lie, their server didn’t crash. It happens but its rare

LIE: “I have made 7 figures on auto-pilot. You can too.
FACT: they put alot of hard work and hours into making money

I am not saying Daniel that you are like those Internet marketing guys. But I am just tired of so many of the lies

Thanks for sharing your knowledge


Priyanka Dey April 19, 2014 at 12:35 am

Daniel, good post.
Before it was like, You open mailbox hoping to find letters and postcards, you instead see a handful of flyers for local restaurants and retail stores that offer coupons and inform you of upcoming sales. Most people probably end up throwing these ads in the trash and lots of money and paper gets wasted in the process.

The Internet has introduced a twist on direct mail and given businesses chance to reach people, a technique known as e-mail marketing. It’s a cheap, fast way to reach a large base of customers, and unlike direct mail, it’s easy to track the effectiveness of an e-mail marketing campaign electronically.


mian April 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm

wow, this is the best blog post i have read in a long long time. excellent stuff.

do you have a detailed course on building funnels?

I’m having a hard time constructing my funnel and the timing for this couldn’t have been better.


Viktor April 17, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Another amazing post by Daniel… thanks so much! Thanks Maneesh for having him on here 🙂


Daniel DiPiazza April 18, 2014 at 3:02 am

Thanks, Viktor !! 🙂


Carter April 17, 2014 at 10:37 am

Awesome Post Daniel. And you’re very generous to share all your funnel tactics! Super helpful and I look forward to reading more of your blog.


Daniel DiPiazza April 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Thanks, Carter 🙂 Let me know what you think!


Kevin April 17, 2014 at 8:10 am

Great, great post Daniel! Lots of useful nuggets. And your writing is fantastic. Although long, I couldn’t help but kept reading… down your slippery slide 😉 Thanks for sharing this!


Daniel DiPiazza April 17, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Thanks, Kevin! I’m not sure I could have written this without being long-winded. But I saved most of the stuff for the blueprints 🙂


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