Let’s talk, for a minute, about sales copy. Or persuasive copy.
For 13 years, I’ve listened to business owners say things like:
- I don’t like to be “in your face”
- People will opt out if I write stuff that’s too promotional
- I don’t want to push people to buy something they don’t want
And believe me…I completely understand and sympathize with the fear of being too salesy. I’m an introvert. I hate drawing attention to myself. I can’t stand confrontation. And “salesy” copy feels so risky.
But if you’re going to sell anything…you have to sell.
Asking politely isn’t going to cut it.
I want to share an experience that helped me view persuasive copy in a more favorable light:
A few years ago, I was in a church leadership meeting when the issue of cleaning the building came up.
At the church I belong to, the entire congregation is responsible for cleaning and caring for the church building. But few people ever showed up to clean. The same 2-3 individuals would spend hours, every Saturday morning, getting the job done.
During this meeting, we were asked for suggestions on how to get more of the congregation to show up.
“Can I send out an email?” I asked.
“We send reminder emails every week,” was the answer.
“Yes,” I said. “But you’ve never sent one of my emails.”
Everyone looked at each other, nodded their heads, and continued on with the meeting.
And I got to work drafting a persuasive (salesy) email.
Did I feel uncomfortable as I wrote it? Oh, yes! I’d really just put myself out there. People were counting on my skills. I didn’t want other members of the church viewing me unfavorably. And I wasn’t sure this was God’s way of motivating people.
Despite my concerns, this is the email I sent:
Subject Line: Donuts and blessings promised
Do you love attending church in a brand new building? Doesn’t a clean room help you focus on your lessons each Sunday? Wouldn’t you like to see our building remain new and clean?
Then consider this your personal invitation to clean the building! That’s right, this Saturday (May 19th) come help us vacuum, scrub toilets, dust, wash windows and doors, and renew the general beauty of our meeting house.
We’ll be meeting at 7:00 am – which means you’ll be awake to enjoy the beautiful morning. And if that weren’t great enough, we’ll have doughnuts and fruit for those who join us.
So bring your children or just bring yourself and come participate in the blessings of service.
By the way, don’t be late. It’s baptism day and we need to get the entire place glowing by 9:00 am. (Plus, whoever gets there first gets first choice of which tasks they’d like to do.)
Thank you! We’ll see you there!
If anyone has doubts about the value of persuasive copy, you should have been there the following Saturday morning when 17 adults and a handful of kids showed up and cleaned the church from top to bottom in 45 minutes.
Here’s the thing…I wasn’t asking these people to do something they didn’t want to do. I simply broke through the laziness and carelessness that had prevented them from taking action.
And everyone left that day smiling, laughing, HAPPY they’d come.
Your contacts NEED your help to take action.
Because action requires effort.
And effort requires more than simply asking.
If you get 17 people to show up and clean the church, and they leave happy, who cares how you got them there?
If you’re going to write great copy, don’t be afraid to really sell your offering. Or rather…you can be afraid (I scare myself all the time with half the stuff I write) but do it anyway.
Those who are interested will sit up and pay attention. Those who aren’t will leave. But it’s not likely the “leavers” were going to buy from you anyway.
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