Copywriting – How to Sell Without Being Obvious

Selling without sellingWhen companies write their own copy, they tend to fall at a couple of hurdles when it comes to its effectiveness:

  • It’s full of we
  • It’s a blatant sales pitch

The first point is covered in this very sanitary blog post, so this post will concentrate on the second.

How do you convince your reader to buy something without being blatant about it?

Before I answer that, let’s take a look at the problem itself. When you’re writing about your own business, you’re keen to get across every last detail to your reader.

You want to tell them all about the features (sadly forgetting the crucial benefits) and then you’ll proceed to tell them it’s amazing, brilliant, superb and fantastic in varying font sizes, colours and turns of phrase.

The problem with that is the reader will instantly recognise your sales pitch and if there’s one thing people don’t like, it’s being sold to.

So if you want to get them to buy from you, you’ve got to be a bit more cunning than that.

How to sell without selling

As a copywriter, I use 3 techniques to get around this particular problem. Each one will help you sell your products or services without the reader recognising an in-your-face sales pitch.

Let’s take a look at the first…

1. Storytelling

As kids, we’ve all grown up listening to stories. We naturally warm to them, listen to them and learn from them, which is why it’s such a powerful way to communicate the benefits of your products or services to your readers.

By reading about a situation and how your product helped someone, will sell the benefits to your reader without them realising they’ve just been sold to.

That’s because they have seen how your product/service works within a given scenario and how it benefits the user.

Placing it within a content they can relate to, is a powerful way of selling without obviously selling.

2. Testimonials and case studies

Whether you use a testimonial from a client, or use their story as part of a case study, because it is a real life story, your reader will read it and take more notice of it than anything you write.

After all, the authors of the testimonials have no incentive to lie about your service, so they are seen as trustworthy insights into your business.

Another powerful way to use testimonials is by video. There are a few people who take the view that testimonials can be written by anyone and where’s the proof that the person sighted is the person who wrote it. But if you have a video testimonial, it will tend to blow the sceptics out of the water.

3. Teaching

Does teaching really work?

Of course it does.

Whether you offer a free sample, video ‘how to’, or an offer, these all act as bait to get your reader hooked.

People love something for nothing, and if it means they get to see how great your product or service is first hand, they are more likely to buy from you.

Over to you

Do you use any other techniques to avoid the ‘hard sell’ approach?

Perhaps you’ve had particular success with one of the above. If so, leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.


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#1 Pesi Unwalla on 11.30.11 at 7:52 pm

As you said – get rid of the “We” and replace it with “You”.

Address the ‘business pain’ of your customer (empathy) and offer the solution (sympathy) in the form of the 3 points you listed – Story, testimonial, teaching.

Remember that all the customer really cares about is how their problem will be solved – not who will solve it, not who has “been in business for 30 years” and they certainly don’t believe all the praise you heap on your own company (third party references work best).

The one key to doing all this effectively is – ‘Listen!’

#2 Best of copywriting blogs: Week ending 4/12/11 | Thoughts on copywriting on 12.05.11 at 6:02 pm

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