13 copywriting lessons from an 11yo girl scout

This video – which lasts five and a half minutes – is about an email sent by an 11-year-old girl scout.

The email features 13 powerful copywriting techniques.Techniques you can use to increase the response to your own emails.

After you watch the video – which is hilarious, BTW – I’ll walk you through those techniques.




Pretty funny, right?

So let’s break it down and see what makes it so effective..

Technique #1: She writes to just one person

Now, in this case, she literally was writing to one person. But, in general, even if you’re writing to 1,000 people, have one person in mind and write to that person.

Technique #2: She establishes a personal connection with the recipient:

“Dear Mr Michelson,

I am Sean Patrick McCourt’s daughter. The only time I ever met you was in Disney World. It was some time ago.”

Technique #3: “Why am I writing to you?”

She then writes:

“I have been informed that you may want to purchase a few Girl Scout Cookie boxes.”

Technique #4: She appeals to the reader’s values

She continues:

“for our troops fighting overseas.”

So now it’s not about whether Mr Michelson wants cookies (he probably doesn’t), it’s about whether he’s the sort of person who supports the troops.

#5: She opens a loop

“This is good news.”

Why is it good news? Well, you’ll have to keep reading to find out…

#6: She aligns herself with the reader

“Most importantly I would like to tell you about the cookies themselves, for some of the descriptions I’m afraid use false advertising.” 

She’s on your side, not on the side of the evil Girl Scout organisation.

#7: She makes a damning admission

“The Do-si-do is a peanut butter sandwich. I give it a 5 for its unoriginality and its blandness.”

If she gave all the flavours high scores, the scores would be meaningless. 

But, because she absolutely buries a couple of them, her high ratings become advice, rather than salesmanship. And that makes them useful to the reader. 

It also reduces the number of flavours the reader has to choose between – making a decision easier.

#8: “It’s not for everyone”

She tells you when you shouldn’t buy: 

“Now, let’s discuss the Tag-a-long. If you don’t like peanut butter, do not buy this cookie.”

#9: She appeals to the reader’s self-image

“Then comes the S’more cookie. If you have a wild sense of adventure, try the S’more.” 

#10: She doesn’t pretend to be perfect

“Full disclosure, I have not tried the S’more so I cannot rate it in good conscience.”

#11: She paints word pictures

“Last, and yes I’m sorry to say least, is the Toffeetastic. The Toffeetastic is a bleak flavorless gluten-free wasteland. I am telling you it’s as flavorless as dirt.”

“As flavorless as dirt” – uses a sensory description to convey an idea.

#12: She uses reciprocity

“the only way to get a 10 is by donating a box, any box. It helps strike a spark into the treacherous lives of those men and women protecting our country and keeping America safe. Please, won’t you honor them by donating a box of Girl Scout cookies?”

These people are risking their lives to keep you safe, and you’re not even willing to send them a few boxes of cookies? 

#13: It has charm

As Mike Rowe says in the video, “God, I love this kid.”

David Ogilvy – the famous ad man – once said the secret to success in advertising is charm. Well, this girl’s email hasb it in spades.


Not long after Mike Rowe shared this email, Charlotte had sold 7,491 boxes of cookies.

That was roughly 25 times as many as she sold the previous year.  

Now, I’m not going to claim that, by using these techniques in your emails, your sales will multiply by 25. 

But they probably will increase. 

Try them and find out. And, if your sales go up, you can send me a box of cookies. Or, better still, donate some money to a good cause.

All the best,

Steve Gibson