Mark Asquith of HACKSAW

Mark Asquith

Director of HACKSAW

Mark Asquith is a serial entrepreneur who has built globally successful design & marketing, SaaS and digital businesses since he quit his job in 2005. A passionate podcaster, perpetual learner and helpful bloke.


Writing Effective Emails That Connect On A Personal Level

I am a geek. I love business and learning new things.

I have a tech startup that I’m in the middle of pivoting in the market so for me I have a fast working style and I love to be involved with many different projects at once.

Expert session

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

Using personality to drive email success

Result if you follow the steps in Mark’s session

Write emails that have more personality and connect with your audience on a personal level.

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

Expert session snapshot


I think email gives you a personal connection. You know somebody, for me, it’s on a par with something like a podcast in. So far as you you’re talking, I’m talking to Liam, Liam is talking to Mark, you know, it’s not the broadcast, or you shouldn’t feel like it’s a broadcast.

So the way I use it, and the way that I feel you can use is you know, a lot of people worry about mixing business and pleasure with the content. So they have two Twitter feeds, is what I post my professional stuff, is where I post my stuff about my Superman and my DC Comics fanaticism that I have, which I do have. And I worry about that because it gives you nothing to talk about.

If you walked into a room with, let’s say, you and I never met. We’ve never spoken before. And we were in a business networking scenario. There is no way on earth that we would get along before. We spoke about, was business, we talk about something else. We talk about, you know what we did. It annoys our wives. We talk about what kind of dog we’ve got, we talk about the sports teams, we talk about movies, or TV or music, or it’s just a natural flow of conversation.

So I have this problem where people separate that and forget that. So they go business and pleasure. And it’s kind of crazy, I think to do that. But the way that I use it in email marketing, I think the way that everyone can use is that the only thing that marketers ever tell you to do, and you know, we’ve all had marketing consultants in the past that come in and they bring the whiteboards down, it feels like a really good session. And all they do is bang on about the USP, your unique selling proposition.

And the sad fact is unless you sell some kind of widgets that have never been sold before, or you’ve got some kind of patent, you’ve got some kind of unique, actually genuine unique thing about your products, then you aren’t unique. You aren’t unique like apple and not unique, that do what Microsoft did is the UX that makes them different. And that’s their personality. Steve Jobs, personality seizing everything Apple does.

And I feel that that’s a really important point because if marketers tell you to market your USP, the only thing that is guaranteed to be different between any business and any email that gets sent out is you and I, we could do the very same thing. But the only thing that’s different is your life experiences much different from my life experience.

You have a different home, different set of parents, different set of friends, different dog, different set of kids, different wife, you have all of this stuff that’s completely unique to you. So why not talk about it?

So the way I use it is quite fun. Last week, I sent an email out. I asked for a server to be filled out and I hate filling service without my, if you send me an email saying can you fill the survey I’m like, I’d love to help you. But I’ll do that later.

And what I did was in that survey, I said something like we’re working on a new startup. It’s harder than, it’s harder than catching a chicken when you’re training for a boxing match, and then I put this little asterix in there. And I put right at the bottom, I went on to talk about it.

I said, the reason I’m writing is because it is that hard. We’re struggling to catch the chicken, we’re struggling to find out what we want to do and take all of that. And I want you to fill the survey out to help me.

And the asterisk will lead to a little notation at the bottom. And the notation said, by the way, if you can name the film and the person that makes the guy in the film chairs, that chicken beers on me. And ordinarily, I’ve tried this so many times. Service no one response, no response. I’ve got a massive response from that.

I’m talking about five times what I would have expected and all of the things, all of the dollar, the reply and all the things that came out of it, all the goodness were anchored around the point that it was Mickey gold, mill out of rocky getting rockets chase a chicken around and it was the guys that resonated with that little light.

Yeah, of course I’ll help with that man. I want to prove that I’m on the same wavelength as Mark is. And you understand, you know, I understand this pop culture reference. And I’ve done it, I’ve do it in all sorts of ways. I do it on my Twitter feed, my Twitter feed is a mix of business and showing you that my dog has jumped into a lake trying to chase a duck, or that I’ve got some new DC Comics or whatever.

Now, the real great thing with that is, if I I ever send an email out that is particularly asking for a particular level of effort from someone, so it’s not just a two minute survey, maybe I need someone to help me with something, you know, maybe I need genuine hell, why mentoring or maybe I’m asking them to buy something, I’ll anchor it around a point of personality that I know that I’ve got in common with the people that have replied to Mickey golden or being the trainer in rocket.

So I can go back and say, you know, listen, I’ve got a bit of a pivot going on in my business, but as you know, it’s not hard you hit, it’s hard you can get and get back up. Can you help me with this? Then instantly, then come back to that feeling good of helping you the last time. So you’ve got all these little things that you can do.

And very often I went to show with podcast websites, one of the businesses that I’m in, we went to podcast movement. Last year, we hosted a breakfast. And we surprised everyone by paying for the breakfast, we really annoyed my accountant. And we went out there and we had a good time and everything that, everything went on with, but pictures are a really good time.

And the single biggest thing that came up, the single biggest factor of two things, the single biggest thing that came up out of all of that was people coming up to me, and asking me one, how’s your dog because they knew about the dog or two who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman, because they all know I’m a DC Comics fan.

And instantly, these people that I would never normally have an instant rapport with felt like they knew me. So I’m putting all of my personality into my emails. Putting all my personality into that helped me create a community that I was then able to send an email to generate the14,000 pounds worth of income. And it really helps, you know, just get in the little bit of personality.

And people are afraid of that. People are really scared of it. Because you’re baring your soul, you’re actually kind of admitting that you’re not infallible human business machine, and you’re actually saying that I’m a human. And I’ve got a wife and I’ve got kids and I’ve got a dog and I’m into DC Comics, and you know what, I’m terrible at football, and all of this stuff. And people really, really buy into that because they’ve all got things that they can relate to with that.

So for me, it’s about creating these emotional anchor points and letting people know that you’re a real person that is approachable. And you can do it. I know the content you know, you can finish it off with a little jerk. I’ve got a very specific writing style.

I often start blog post with something like you know me, I got a bit addicted to season 10 of Smallville. And, you know, I’m really I’m here to talk about my journey, which is also spun 10 years and I, really silly little things.
When I talked to my wife about it, she’s like, why are you doing that? Why are you doing that?

But the great thing isn’t there the bits of conversation that lead to the business conversation there, the door opens, they’re the icebreakers. They’re the bits of things that you can get. So that allow you to get help and give help to people.

So, yeah, I think it’s really, really important to just open the door to people and not give everything away and not let anyone into your life in a manner that you wouldn’t normally let people in. But let people see that you’ve got a bit of a personality. But people see that you’re a real person and you like this, and you really dislike this. Because at the end of the day, the only thing that you can do is be different.

It’s very rare that you can be better, because everyone’s supposed to be better these days. Social media holds us accountable. Everyone shouts about things. The internet makes us all level. So the only thing you can be different. And the only thing that is unique about us is everything that’s in us. So you will go to market that USP.

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