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Leadership Nuggets: How Cats Can Teach You to Write Better Emails

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Leadership Nuggets

We all know posting a cute cat video is a highway to virality. So cats are no aliens to good marketing. 

But before becoming a full-time cat mom of two, it never occurred to me that they can also be great tutors for user psychology, helping me nail multiple marketing jobs. 

Like writing good emails.  

Here’s how.


  • The goal: Improve the CR and CTR of your emails 
  • The tactic: Use the PURRR approach to writing emails
  • The outcome: Increased the average conversion rate for the bottom-most CTA from 0.3% to 3.7%, overall CTR from 3% to 11%, and overall conversion rate from less than 1% to 8-9%

Cats are creatures of habit. They hate when their routine gets broken. 

I mean, they REALLY hate it. Think about the last time you slept in and didn’t feed the cat first thing in the morning (how DARE you?).  

Cats are also your most skeptical audience. They’ll never act on anything unless they see why. And in a way, your prospects are just like them.

They have their own routine, which you’re trying to disrupt when selling to them. And they’ll question your offer. Big time. 

So by treating some of your prospect’s rough edges like you’d do a cat’s, you can effectively get them on board with the solution you’re pitching. 

For that, I’ve worked out a PURRR approach, and while I use it for a variety of tasks, this time I’ll show you how to apply it to writing good emails

The tactic: The PURRR approach

When creating a new email (outreach or marketing), I take the email through the following cat-like drill: 

  • Put it in a nutshell.
  • Untangle the first knot.
  • Remove distractions.
  • Reward in proportion.
  • Repeat. 

Step 1: Put it in a nutshell

When uninterested, a cat’s attention span is seconds. They don’t care about the fluff, and neither do your prospects. 

So make sure that your email cuts straight to the chase, fast: 

  1. Make the intro no longer than 2-3 sentences for marketing sends, and no longer than 1-2 sentences for outreach. 
  2. Make each paragraph 2 sentences long, max. 
  3. Use simple and short sentences. Write them in conversational lingo without professional jargon (neither cats nor prospects will dig it).
  4. Read your email out loud. If it doesn’t roll off your tongue, simplify. 
  5. Make sure the email makes sense. 

Step 2: Untangle the first knot 

Your prospects will coil the thread and complicate things on their own. Your job is to give them something easy to play with and understand. 

  1. Make your offer flash in words they use and the imagery they are familiar with (like with cats you’d use blue and yellow to grab their attention – and no, cats are not color-blind). 
  2. Whenever you have a customer quote that fits, use it in your copy.
  3. Use a hook in the opening paragraph (here’s a good example of viral hooks to take inspiration from). Works for socials, works for emails. 
  4. Aim for a dopamine hit that disrupts the way your prospects perceive the world, but avoid trying to alter their behavior early on. 
  5. Don’t blatantly sell. Show the value and the result and make the prospects want it while remaining in the driver’s seat. Always give them the liberty to say no, but only after considering your offer.

Step 3: Remove distractions 

Like cats, prospects get easily distracted. But once focused, cats can keep staring at you for over 15 minutes.

So once you got the attention with a hook, lay out the direct path to process your main message. 

  1. Remove verbal clutter. Read each sentence and mark the words that you could remove without changing the meaning (informational and emotional) – and remove them.
  2. If you have multiple options to convert with different value or intent levels, place them in succession. Don’t slam all options into a single block.
  3. Avoid giving prospects multiple similar or connected options. Like cats, they might never make a decision.
  4. When listing benefits, stick to 2-3 and group them by application areas. Don’t throw all value props into one email. 
  5. Start with your main offer that you want prospects to go with, and make the second one a compromised alternative. 
  6. Add visuals (images, photos, memes, videos) to visually balance your content whenever it makes sense (even if it’s short). 

Step 4: Reward your prospects

Everyone likes an unexpected treat. 

Your job is to offer the one your audience likes and is already familiar with. 

  1. Add a freebie (a free solution, valuable or entertaining content) that can be redeemed without commitment to your offer. As a token of appreciation. 
  2. Give compliments strategically. People generally like to be appreciated for what they’ve accomplished. 

Make sure you acknowledge something they did (a post, a win they mentioned, etc.), but avoid unbacked flattery. Not everyone is an expert already, but everyone wants to become one. 

  1. When asking for something on their end, always offer something in return. Want a product review? Offer a discount or a gift card. Make it worth their time. 

Step 5: Repeat!

Sometimes you have to call your cats twice before they respond. Or three times, depending on what you want from them. 

The more valuable and sophisticated your offer is, the more emails it will take to convert your prospects. Aim for at least ½ of the length of your sales cycle’s worth of emails. 

Give your prospects the time needed for your offer to grow on them. And highlight different angles and benefits. 


The result: 

By implementing this tactic, I managed to grow the average email metrics:

  • The average conversion rate for the bottom-most CTA went from 0.3% to 3.7%. This means prospects actually reached the bottom, clicked, and engaged with the page.
  • The overall email CTR grew from 3% to 11%.
  • The email conversion rate grew from less than 1% to 8-9%.
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