Great Persuaders Online: Kim Castleberry

First in a series of profiles we’ll be doing featuring business professionals who are using and/or promoting persuasion best practices.

I found Kim Castleberry quite by accident, as I was searching reviews for learning management platforms. A 2010 review of Kajabi she posted caught my attention. It had zero production values (few of these online review videos do), but the woman I saw was engaging, authentic, knowledgable and – best of all – she obviously understood her customer. Kim didn’t just review the various aspects of this technology tool based on generic abstractions like feature sets or ease-of-use, she related her analysis quite specifically to what would likely be important to her constituents. I liked and respected her immediately, and sought out her website where I promptly signed up for her newsletter.

Then, she knocked me over like a feather.

The first delivery I received was a veritable master class in persuasive email newsletter writing. Whether she does so from natural instinct, years of trial-and-error, or by having studied persuasion techniques and best practices, this lady knows her emotional triggers and uses them with great ease and skill. I know when I’ve come across someone who is particularly adept at this when I find myself (or, more accurately, when my brain finds itself) responding to a Trigger activation even when I understand explicitly not only that it is, in fact, a Trigger, but even which Trigger it is.

Fact is: Triggers work even when you know they’re being used on you!

Here, then, is a breakdown of Kim’s – to use her own words – “creation of awesomeness:”

Castleberry Newsletter Breakdown

Kim starts out with a nice Hope Trigger headline that accomplishes multiple goals: It shows that she knows her audience (not technologists); she addresses a common pain point (technology is a hassle and a headache); and indicates that she’s here to provide comfort (hope).

Her use of an extensive (and, to my mind, rather genius) Friendship Trigger section serves a vital purpose indeed: This is the first newsletter she sends to new subscribers, and the attributes we in The 7 Triggers program refer to as “friendship” – e.g. sameness, trust, comfort – are absolutely critical as a foundation for other emotional triggers to work and for persuasion to take place. Friendship Triggers should be used consistently, but they are never more important than in beginning of a relationship. And really – how can you beat that photo? Complete win. The fact that Casey looks like pretty much the happiest dog on the planet also helps. And check the underlined line – I gotta believe that Ms. Castleberry knows exactly what she’s doing here because she all but says, “now that we’re friends.” But she’s smart enough not to be so ham-handed about it.

Where Kim really got me was with her Reason Why Trigger – “…read it now, because there’s more coming your way tomorrow…” Oh! Gosh, I don’t want to fall behind! Click!


But Kim wasn’t done yet. She went for a full fourth – The Reciprocity Trigger. And she does it in a way that sounds entirely extemporaneous, a spur-of-the moment thing. This reinforces the Friendship Trigger (“I’m just like you – I change my mind, I think of things at the last minute”), and then even goes on to characterize the reciprocity as REWARD for sticking with her.

Chief Creator of Awesomeness? I am thoroughly persuaded.

  • Rahila Narejo

    I found your analysis very useful. I like how the triggers are identified in a REAL email. This helps to really see the power of persuasion in action…thank you!

    • Thanks, Rahila! That means a lot coming from one of the world’s experts on neuroscience in business 🙂