Robbie Maltby

November 1, 2023

Creating Experiences

What's great about storytelling via email is that you can give your readers a real 'experience' without them having to leave their chair.

They can consume it anywhere, whether at work, or sitting next to their partner while watching something on the telly.

This experience can help them see something differently, frame something in a new way, or simply make them feel a bit lighter about the world.

I've just recovered from a dose of the cold, coupled with a night of painfully high fever.

It was one of those cleansing fevers, though, where you literally aren't able to think any thoughts other than, 'Wow, this is intense.'

The next day, with my brain frazzled, I had much less appetite to watch or read anything. The usual cues on Twitter/X didn't work on me, and even the new Star Wars series on Disney+ felt a bit flat.

I sat for a while in my malaise, wondering what to do with myself. What did I need? What did I want?

In a few moments, I realised I wanted to be inspired by real-life acts of bravery or courage—to kick me out of my fragile state.

So, I chose my own adventure and picked "Primal Survivor."


Hazen Audel, the protagonist, is a true human phenomenon. He endures weeks of gruelling travel across 500km of the Amazon, barefoot, getting stung by bees, avoiding deadly snakes, suffering from sores due to the extreme wetness, bugs growing painfully under his skin, all while facing dangerous river rapids and treacherous climbs on sheer rock cliffs.

During the series, he often expresses pain by yelling loudly but continues on, spurred by the need to make progress and beat the Amazonian rains - which would end his challenge.

It was exactly what I needed. It snapped me out of my stupor and got me out walking (albeit lightly) a small hill close to where I live. Even the short hike made me feel elated, something I probably wouldn't have done unless I'd found the inspiration from Hazen.

What I got from "Primal Survivor" could also have been achieved through reading an email.

But what’s even more amazing about email is that after a period of time delivering real value to subscribers who you've learned to care about, cajole, and inspire, you can actually offer them a real physical experience.

This is difficult (although not impossible) to do when you're in the business of building software, or online products. It's much easier when you're already in the business of creating those outdoor/physical experiences.

The part most companies creating experiences miss is the inspiring part—the bit that comes before.

Inspiration can't simply be hacked or shortcutted. Most people on your email list won't be receptive to the kind of experiences you offer, most of the time, unless they realise for themselves it's what they truly need.

And most companies don't spend enough time listening and empathising with their subscribers and customers to understand what and when that is.

When those two parts come together, though, you have an irresistible offer. One where price matters much less because the value of the experiences have been increasing for months or even years, as people have been reading what you send them.

DALLE-E 3 Prompt: Digital artwork showcasing a figure in two states: one side showing a relaxed, contemplative pose, symbolizing a person reading an email, and the other side depicting a dynamic, adventurous version, standing with determination. The background seamlessly transitions from subtle representations of email interfaces, like open messages and envelopes, to vibrant scenes of outdoor adventures, including mountains, hiking trails, and jungles. The artwork uses contrasting colors and lighting to highlight the shift from a reflective to an energetic state. Elements of technology, such as pixels and digital waves, blend with natural imagery like leaves and rocks, symbolizing the connection between digital storytelling and real-world experiences. A small emblem representing the travel and tourism industry is incorporated, conveying an uplifting and inspiring mood.


I gave an email marketing workshop at the Visit East of England Visitor Conference recently, where we covered practical tips about implementing permission-based, relationship and trust building email campaigns.

However, the storytelling part, the creation of serialised narratives, is by far the larger undertaking, albeit we didn't have much time to cover it.

But the travel and tourism industry couldn't be a more perfect place to offer both the inspiration for the experience (delivered at least partly by email) and the physical experience itself to close the loop.

Done correctly, this could be an iterative process of inspiration-led experience design, which to me is such an exciting concept for the industry.

Rather than spending time selling people experiences, you’re spending time learning about what people need and what inspires them—then creating experiences to suit.

As a bonus for workshop participants, I've agreed to ghostwrite one email series for three companies who also attend next week's LinkedIn Live Event.

If you're in the travel and tourism industry, make sure to follow along. I'll be running the event from my personal LinkedIn.

These email series will just be the start of something (hopefully) much larger. But if done correctly, the end result will be far more engaged, inspired subscribers and customers, who are more willing to be guided towards experiences they truly want and need.

Let's see what happens.

About Robbie Maltby

Learn more about my work at