Jon Buchan of Charm Offensive

Jon Buchan

Founder of Charm Offensive

Jon got started in b2b lead generation when he was desperate for sales. One night, he wrote a cold email when hammered. In the morning, while still tipsy, he decided it was still a good idea to send this email to senior marketing staff at large global brands. To his amazement, it worked. He met with RedBull, Pepsi, Hewlett Packard, Symantec and countless other global brands and corporations.

He started his Facebook Group, Charm Offensive, at the end of March this year. It is dedicated to making business communications that stand out and cut-through the noise. His message resonated, going from 0 to nearly 5,000 members in 5 months. Many people focus on the persuasion, whereas his focus is on getting attention and using creativity, humour and other disruptive means to get an ‘unfair advantage’.


The Drunk Cold Email Success Story (This Works!)

I used to work for digital marketing agencies. After 5 or so years, I decided to start my own agency.

It went well for a year. Then, all my word of mouth leads dried up. I didn’t know how to open leads cold. I got desperate.

Expert session

Tactic that has had the biggest impact on Jon’s success

Ignore all the rules you’ve been told. Be human. Be honest. Be funny.

Result if you follow the steps in Jon’s session

Grab more of your prospect’s attention using cold emails with humor and pattern breaking to prompt a relationship

Full session with video, notes, audio and discussion inside EHQ Club. Learn more

Expert session snapshot


I like greetings because the subject line I often used was apologies in advance, which is used because I wanted to take advantage of the fact that they don’t know who I am. And if you see a stranger apologizing to you, it’s going to get your attention.

And then to start the email, instead of, I wanted every little bit of it to be different, I do remember that because I was getting cold emails from, you know alpha digital marketing, but I was getting cold emails from people offering me digital marketing.

So I knew what everyone else was sending. And I just wanted every little bit to be different. So even not using dear or even hey, I’d use greeting because who says greetings anymore?

And it’s just another little point of differentiation. And when you’ve got enough of those, it adds up. So I like greetings, like salutations, as well. It’s a minor thing, but it stands out if you’re using a different opener than everyone else, and then that first line should just be the most honest thing that I can possibly say.

And that’s like a Warren Buffett technique where he starts his stock presentations, not that he has a lot of bad news with the worst news he has or the most honest thing he can because then everything else he says has more credibility. And in a short in a small way, we’re doing the same thing.

Yeah, okay, then. That does make sense. And that’s an interesting approach, isn’t it? And from what I’m hearing is, you’re writing this email, the next step is you really want to get the person attention you like.

You want to stand out from the crowd to get the response and you feel like if you can really stand out be different, you’re going to get that response. What is it about the standing out though that’s actually going to deliver that response?

Sure. Well, there’s a few different reasons why. There are a few different things you’ve got to do and to make a sale or to get a sales call and the one is the get attention, and then communication and persuasion.

And everyone else really focuses on the persuasion and communication aspects. But if you don’t get someone’s attention, none of that clever persuasion stuff matters. And if some of these people I was emailing they get hundreds of cold emails every day.

So standing out is important. There’s you and then there’s other 99 boring emails they’ve got, The other benefit of that is, I once got an email where someone said, I’ve had your email for a year. And finally, I’m replying to it because I remembered you.

That doesn’t happen with a standard email. So the attention part’s really important. And I think that’s where the biggest gains that we made, because if I can get the attention of more people, not many people trying to compete on that metric, everyone else is trying to do the clever persuasion stuff, I’m going to get their attention.

And also, if you can do it in a clever way, by making someone laugh, you’ve given them a nice feeling remotely, like it’s the best first impression you could possibly make on someone. And if someone’s in a good mood, because you put them in a good mood because of your email, they’re more likely to hit reply.

And when they reply, they’re not going to reply in like corporate language, they reply and they’re already talking informally with you. And that is a huge advantage. And they’re actually looking forward to doing a call with you.

It’s not just some lackluster. Yeah, okay. I’ll do. But it’s like, I can’t wait to speak to you. You’re already pre framing, that this is going to be an enjoyable call if you’re not going to be hard salted.

So there’s all these different advantages of having this approach. It pre frames it as an enjoyable call. It shows that you’re getting cut through like that is persuasive in itself. It shows you must be clever or, you know, interesting. And, as more and more people do cold email, I think the standing out is going to be more and more important.

Hand-picked experts share their #1 tactic

One marketing tactic delivered to your inbox each morning, 5 days a week