Years ago my friend and previous business partner Gideon Shalwick and I were creating marketing content for a course we created together. For that campaign we both wrote lots of emails that we sent to our subscribers, which resulted in thousands of dollars in sales.
You probably haven’t met Gideon or myself in person, but if you did, you would see we are both down-to-earth and soft spoken. You wouldn’t think of us as people who work in sales, even though much of our success comes down to our ability to make sales online.
One interesting observation I made during our marketing campaign was Gideon’s email marketing style (his writing style when promoting our course), was different to how he presented during our videos. Gideon used what I would call a ‘soft-sell’ approach in videos, not pushing too hard or using over the top sales language.
However, when Gideon wrote emails, he wasn’t afraid to use his copywriting skills. He knows the triggers, is quite comfortable pushing all the right buttons and isn’t afraid of writing whatever it takes to convince you that you need to do what he suggests.
This is important because if Gideon couldn’t sell our course when it came time to sell it, then our results wouldn’t have been nearly as good as they were. At some point you have to be prepared to make your pitch.
The same goes for anything else you promote through email, whether it’s to convince people to watch a free video, or download a report or read a blog post. It’s not always about asking people to buy something, it’s any time you want people to click a link or even just open an email in the first place – any action at all is impacted by your ability to “sell” the benefits of taking that action through the words you use.
Just ‘Be Your Self’ Is Common Writing Advice
One of the core skills I have, and honestly I believe this is the number one reason why I have had any success online at all, is my ability to communicate, especially with the written word. This blog’s success is based on that skill, as is my email newsletter.
If you asked me how you should write your blog or how you should write your email newsletters I’d tell you to “be yourself”. After all, this is the exact advice I followed when I first got started in internet marketing and the same advice all the experts will tell you.
However, that advice is not quite enough. To just “be yourself” only works if you come from a place where you know certain things AND are prepared to say certain things. If you lack the awareness and the insight into a range of elements – your target customer, marketing triggers, the general marketplace – then just being yourself won’t be effective when trying to sell something.
I am just “being myself” whenever I publish content online, but as a result of years of absorbing the words of other marketers, experiencing how they sell things, observing human behavior in general and immersing myself in my market, I inherently know what to say, when to say it and what kind of reaction it will stimulate.
I’m very comfortable writing in a manner similar to how I interact in real life, however I am prepared to say certain things and use words that are designed to sell, when I’m writing to sell something. I’m still being myself, but I’m mixing in marketing strategy and persuasion techniques too.
All marketers write to sell at some point, or they won’t be in business for very long. Some are prepared to push harder, or know more techniques, or have different goals or standards, so their language style is different. All good marketers are “being themselves” too, throwing in something from their personal lives, telling stories and coming across as human as possible, yet still are marketing.
If you’re the kind of person who hates selling, you don’t have certain words in your vocabulary, you don’t know the persuasion triggers, or you’re afraid of being perceived in a certain way or you’re not knowledgeable about your marketplace, then you’re going to struggle to make sales.
You Can Learn How To Sell Through Words
Being yourself is good advice, but it’s only part of the answer. There’s technique, skill and awareness required in order to successfully achieve your goals with the written word and even then you have to be prepared for negative reactions.
You can study practical training designed to teach you how to write for marketing purposes, this is called “copywriting”, and skill up with some techniques you can apply the next time you go out there and attempt to make money with your words.
You should become an observer of behavior, especially when it comes to purchasing decisions. I particularly enjoy hearing the justifications people explain to their friends and family after making a purchase or during a buying process. These verbal cues give you insight into the emotions the person wants to feel or change as a result of buying something, and the logical explanation they give to others and themselves to “justify” the expense.
My favorite way to skill-up as a writer who wants to sell through words, is to copy what works for others. Find a successful marketer who’s promoting a product similar to what you want to release, and that you know has enjoyed success, and see how he or she uses words to sell. Adapt their technique, try their style, duplicate their format – take whatever parts you like, modify so it fits your persona, and then send it out to your audience.
Combine these three methods…
- Practical study of copywriting
- Observation of human behavior
- Replication of what already works
… and you can dramatically improve your writing and as a result, make a ton of money too.
One Word Of Warning…
As soon as you become a “marketer” and ask for money, some people will hate you for it. It doesn’t matter how “soft” your pitch is, the fact that you attempt to profit by charging money, especially for information, a minor revolt will break out in your existing audience – assuming anyone is listening to you at all of course.
Thankfully the people who complain are usually in the minority and would never buy from you anyway. If you ignore the haters, or react in a friendly manner, explain that you need to make a living and you’ve invested a lot of hard work in creating your product, you will do fine.
The trick is to not let naysayers get you down and keep delivering value to those who appreciate your work and and are prepared to pay for it.
Good luck with your writing, enjoy the creative process and keep practicing. Being a prolific content producer, whether you are writing to directly sell something or to educate, entertain and build relationships, will help you improve your skills and spread your message further.