Copywriting tips: A word about selling without selling

selling without selling in content

A lady (let’s call her Maria) asked me for tips on how to get more people to buy from her online store. Advertising was way beyond her budget and she didn’t have time to place a listing on every single free online directory.  

As I’m a copywriter whose job is to use words to sell, I went on to recommend that Maria uses “the right words to say the right thing” in anything that she writes on her website, in her emails and on her existing social media channels.

Start selling without selling

I said for her to try different things if she’s going to do the writing herself.

That she needs to be persuasive and convincing, as if she was there selling her products to her visitors and followers. I also warned that she shouldn’t come on too strongly and to definitely avoid being pushy or aggressive.

Sell and keep track of your changes

I advised Maria to keep an eye on the statistics behind her website, emails and social media accounts, to see what works better and what attracts the right people to her.

Another thing I suggested was for her to take note of the dates these changes occurred (e.g. whether sales increased).

I know. It’s easier said than done, but if you’re investing into a business, you need to pay attention to the words you’re putting out there and to the results they’re bringing.

You also need to make those words do a lot of work for you.

Sell without fear

The next thing Maria said to me made me realise just how much some business owners fear writing to boost sales. By which I mean selling (copywriting) not just writing fluff content that won’t convert.

One example Maria mentioned was email marketing. She said that writing sales emails is like having stage fright.

I asked whether she meant writer’s block –

“No, Rhonda, it really scares the hell out of me to sell in my content!”

She feared that people would delete her emails without reading, because that’s what she does to other people’s emails.

When I asked what kind of businesses, she mentioned that they are selling products she’s not even interested in anymore. As an example, Maria signed up to receive special offers from a brick-and-mortar shop but she has since moved to the opposite side of the river.

I smiled and shook my head, “So you don’t plan to go back there?”

“No! It’s too far!”

I gestured for her to sit with me so I could share three thoughts with her.

Sell to your mailing list or sell to make them leave

I asked Maria these three questions to get her thinking about what could be going on in her subscribers’ minds.

1/ “Why are you not buying from them?” Because she hasn’t been offered the opportunity to place an order and get it delivered to her end of Western Australia.

2/ “Did you tell them that you wanted to have your order delivered?” No, they haven’t said that Maria could get things delivered and they never asked her if she wants delivery.

3/ “So, why are you still on their list?” Because she hasn’t bothered to click ‘Unsubscribe’.

Clearly, it’s both Maria’s fault as well as the retailer’s fault as to why Maria isn’t placing an order.

Yes, we could quickly assume that those people who delete your emails without reading were not interested in the first place.

But, we could also assume that if you ‘talk with your subscribers’ you would get an idea what they want.

Your job is to find out why they’re on your list and then make them buy or make them disqualify themselves and willingly opt out.

Sell without being aggressive

“Maria, you don’t have to be salesy in your emails,” I said next.

There are other ways to write to sell. And you definitely don’t have to write it as if you’re screaming at shoppers in a busy market –

“Buy NOW, I’ll give you 10 for $10!! Aww, c’mon Miss, buy this one and I’ll throw this hat in for only $4! What do you say? Buy now! No… we’re not here next week.”

I think she got the idea. Next time I see her I’ll ask how she’s going with that.

But seriously, do try selling without selling.

Image modified by Rhonda

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