Turning Downsides into Benefits: Good Email Marketing Example

By | August 18, 2013

I recently received an email advertisement that reminded me of the importance of turning downsides into benefits in your marketing.

As the old expression goes, this is about turning lemons into lemonade. Here’s how it works…

Think of the top “problems” regarding your product. What are the main objections or things that your target market might not like about it?

In some cases, you simply have to overcome those objections. However, in some cases you can turn those problems into benefits. By turning it into a benefit, you can automatically overcome the objection before it even becomes an objection.

In this example, I received an email advertising houseboat rentals at Lake Powell. Apparently, Lake Powell is at its lowest water level in many years, a fact that might be alarming for would-be vacationers.

But instead of apologizing for the low water levels, they turned it into the primary benefit, dubbing it the “NEW” Lake Powell: A Paradise of Discovery.

Email advertisement example

They’re combining this creative re-branding with a compelling offer, and a “reason why”. After all, a compelling offer isn’t nearly as compelling unless there’s a good reason for it.

Email marketing example

Next, they’re packing several benefits into their sales copy, mostly related to the low-water situation. Here’s an important point: these are real, legitimate benefits.

Many years ago when I was in retail sales, I heard phrases like “polishing a turd” and “putting lipstick on a pig”. That’s NOT what I’m talking about here. I’m not talking about using dishonesty, deception, or false advertising. I’m talking about looking at the positive instead of the negative.

In the case of Lake Powell, it’s a great example, because the benefits of the low water level are very tangible.

Email advertisement

Like many good advertisements, this one fits pretty well with the classic copywriting formula (AIDA):


Of course the real test of any marketing piece is whether it WORKS, and I have no idea what the results of this advertisement were. Regardless, it was a good reminder of some things for me, and I hope you were able to glean something from it too!

As always, you are welcome to post your questions and comments below 🙂

Have a great day!

27 thoughts on “Turning Downsides into Benefits: Good Email Marketing Example

  1. Kingged

    Very interesting ad, Eric. Others would have seen the “problems” with the low water but they say only the “opportunities”. That’s very inspiring and can help anyone turn downsides into benefits, if they want to, 🙂

    Thanks for not only sharing this, but analyzing it as well.

  2. Michael

    Great post Eric,
    the important point is the genuine nature of the benefits, which are creatively portrayed, a lot of folks would turn down their mouths at the low water levels, but here there are real interesting reasons to go along, very cool.

  3. Judy

    Yes a creative idea. Makes one think outside
    The box . It makes me want to go there . I hope
    To use this in the future.

  4. Anonymous

    Hi Eric,

    As usual you bring us important and relevant info that most of us may not be aware of or just overlook. What first caught my eye was the colorful enticing nature of the ads and the contrast created to catch your attention. I like the way you break down and identify the key elements of the marketing scheme behind the scene. So did they suck you guys in or not? Inquiring minds want to know. LOL

  5. Pete

    Nice one Eric- and I wouldn’t mind betting the latest Ads shown here were ‘far’ more interesting than previous ads due to the Fresh approach.

    Great tip 🙂 …… Pete.

  6. Al

    very interesting observation, I don’t this ad would hit me like that, but now I can see the benefits of implementing the 4 points mentioned {AIDA};

    Thanks Eric for this post….

    Al Amaro

  7. robert

    A simple very effective concept, look for the positive when you think you have a negative. This can work in all areas of life.

  8. Eric Post author

    Haha, no my wife is having a baby next month, so it’s not a good time to be on a houseboat 🙂

  9. Andre Hibbert

    Hey Eric,
    I posted a question about 3 months ago about South Africa and Online Marketing. Your reply was o.k. I have 2 more questions. In one of your earliest posts you encouraged us to stop buying stuff, although I understand that you are a Marketer Online, you also promote new products on your Blog. I will not say how much I have spent on “BS” but…The 2nd question is actually a suggestion which I will address some other time.

  10. Emily

    Great analysis; great example.

    Another example of turning objections into curb appeal: People are leery of calling for psychic advice, for some good reasons. Main fears are
    (1) I will be over-billed. Yes, the large ‘psychic lines’ do this often.
    (2) Don’t want to give a potential crook (the Miss Cleo concern) my credit card.
    (3) Don’t want to give my name and address. Don’t want the psychic calling me if he/she has my phone number.
    (4) Afraid I will get caught up in the subject and spend more money than I want to.
    (5) Don’t want personal contact with a psychic: bad juju – or the person is nervous or shy.
    6) I will ‘get hooked’ and spend too much money.
    (7) They just ask you a lot of questions and then feed that information back to you.
    (8) I won’t remember the information, or won’t understand it.
    (9) And most psychics are getting information from spirit guides, which many people consider little demons. That was the ‘bad juju’ I spoke of.

    Most psychics find email readings difficult. They charge thirty dollars or more, and ask a lot of background information. Most psychics insist on name and birthday for not only client but other people involved.

    I don’t need any information at all, just the question and whether it refers to love, business, lawsuit, relatives or strangers. I make it clear I don’t hear and see things, that I am a mystic not a psychic.

    Soo I am doing my best (I’m no techie, putting it mildly) to expand my email page on my blog by promoting the email readings around the objections, because an email reading that does not ask for any information, not even birthdays and names, and is paid by PayPal, and has one amount you can pay, for one question at under twenty dollars, sidesteps all or most of those objections. No personal contact.

    Especially when the product is in writing, with each phrase of the message indicating which of the cards produced it, literally – very plain. You can refer to it, don’t have to remember it, and there’s your proof no spirits were involved.

    Oh. And it’s accurate. They say so.

    My blog that demonstrates the verbatim system is right there for dyed-in-the-wool skeptics.

    I think this will work. Promoting this to people who love readings but have little money will result in a lot of one-time people who may share with friends. There’s a free book that will capture email, and a free newsletter that will capture addresses. I may have a promoter for this, a man who has a trusted following of black folks, many of whom were burned by the Miss Cleo thing. He is a long time client.

  11. John

    I have become very frustrated with internet marketing. Any legit programs out there that don’t try to upsell you into submission and that actually work?

  12. Eric Post author

    There are some legit programs, but here’s a big key… Instead of looking for a “program” or system, I would recommend looking at it in terms of building a business. Choose a market, identify what they want/need, and sell it to them.

  13. Sue

    Brilliant way of getting people to visualize the natural benefits of the land. The ad really does paint a very beautiful picture-hence “Paradise of Discovery.” A new way of looking at it all and grabbing people’s attention all at the same time.

    Thank you.

  14. Kim Smith

    Thanks Eric, this is a great example of how to “flip” a bad situation. Look for the treasure!

  15. Wayne

    Good example and teaching, Eric…..

    …..and to answer your wondering as to how the ad worked, I would say it did because it certainly made me visualize going there and checking out some places that have been hidden under water for a millennium.

    Thanks for putting this in front of me, Eric. Great stuff for improving marketing consciousness.

    Wayne in Carmel-By-The-Sea

  16. Geri Richmond

    Hi Eric,

    This was an awesome example of great copy. They talked about the weather still being great, no crowds etc.

    This is a really good lesson on how to turn something not so desirable into something desirable. It would be interesting to find out how they did with this ad.

  17. Hannah

    Hello Eric,

    Thanks so much for all of your help.

    Lesson # 7 – Will I be able to create my own info product the same day…on average how long does it take to produce it and get it online?

    Lesson # 8 – Is it best to have a “dedicated” computer for my internet marketing business?
    What I mean is that one computer would only have my internet marketing business on it, and
    not using the same computer for everything else?

    Lesson # 9 – Is it okay to use the mouse pad as oppose to the mouse itself when doing my internet marketing business?

    Lesson # 9 – I can do most of the items that you listed, comfortably, with the exception of copy and paste; when it comes to copy and pasting, does it matter what browser I am in (internet explorer, sarfari, firefox, google chrome); I just want the easiest/fastest/most effective way to do copy and paste.I will get some training on this too.

    Thank you so much!



  18. Micah

    Hello Hannah,

    Creating a product and getting it online on the same day is unlikely, especially for a beginner.

    If you want your product to be quality content, it will take effort. It will take time to simply research your niche, as you decide what information to include in your product.

    You don’t have to have a dedicated internet marketing computer. Most of your business will be online, which may be accessed from any computer. You may however, want to stick to one computer, if your emails are stored offline, or if you keep a journal detailing your business goals.

    The mouse pad, is what the mouse rests on. Are you referencing the touchpad on your laptop? That is fine to use. I personally prefer the ease of use that a mouse affords.

    You may copy and paste with any browser. I happen to use Chrome for most of my web activity. Firefox is my second choice when I’m having problems in Chrome.

  19. Hannah

    Hello Micah and Eric,

    Thanks so much. I am a beginner that’s for sure:)!
    I would certainly like my product to be of professional quality; I have some ideas in mind, but will you or Eric make recommendations as to what “niche” product that I should develop? Is it best to make a product on something that I know about, for example a little E Book on “Green Living” “Natural Health care” “Fitness”, etc. My question will probably be answered in one of the upcoming lessons, but I am a little curious and a little anxious, but patient.

    Oops! I meant a touch pad, not a mouse pad.


  20. Hannah

    Hello Eric and Micah,

    Thanks for the great info in Lessons #10 and #11.

    Lesson #10 – no question, but a comment, many of these words are foreign to me…I better make some flash cards and have them with me at all times at least until I have the meaning of each word mastered.

    Lesson #11 – this lesson is so informative; previously, I had asked about doing an info product and having it online the same day…I asked this question because I had been surfing the web about creating my own product… here’s one of the sites that came up; here is the link: http://inmyhomeoffice.com/create-information-product-2-hours/

    Thanks Eric, I would have purchased this if it had not been for your Lessons! “STOP BUYING STUFF” if you don’t know what it is, or what it does:)!



  21. Melodie Licht

    I was also smitten by this very creative, turn-it-upside-down opportunity! They (whoever they are) did a fantastic job of rewriting the benefits of a disappearing lake. I found the new exposure of the surrounding land very interesting. I’m sure their choice of words helped that quite a bit! Convincing – – very convincing. Makes me want to go visit!

  22. Deny Arya Wiranata

    Thanks Eric. It reminded to me of a few things that should be done.
    One things I wanted to ask. How about Scarcity’s formula in copywritings? 🙂

    1. Micah

      Hello Deny,

      That is a definitely a tried and true method of boosting sales. But, be sure that you are true to your word. When Eric has limited time offers, they are limited time offers.


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