How to Sell Well: No Cleavage Necessary

How to Sell Well: No Cleavage Necessary

The most powerful sales copy in the world is often the most simple.

It creates the least friction. It shapes existing beliefs in to motivation for taking action.

Something I try to get across in every landing page I build is that the user is always right. That doesn’t equate to being smart, and it certainly doesn’t mean rational. It means the user’s beliefs and motivations are worth infinitely more than any of the bullet points on my page.

When we start replacing product benefits with nods to the user’s belief systems, we erase all friction and speak directly to the identity of that user. This is powerful because a customer will only buy what he believes in.

Look around you.

Your possessions are a testament to who you are and what you believe in. Everything from the pile of books, to the brand of laptop, to the type of drink you’re swigging is a mark of who you think you are.

So, if a swaggering arsehole were to fall from the ceiling, slap you in the face and pitch you something that didn’t match your predisposition or beliefs… you wouldn’t buy it.

And yet many affiliate marketers will try this technique regardless.

To give you an example of a particularly embarrassing howler I made in the past, I once tried to sell the angle of ‘dating at Christmas‘ to a target demo of 250,000 Jewish women – who weren’t necessarily even single.

Doesn’t sound like a profitable campaign, does it? No shit.

While my clanger is an extreme case, the mistake I was committing is the same that many marketers are committing every day. They try to sell a story, a concept, an idea, that simply isn’t relevant, wanted or desired.

When it fails, what do we blame? Probably a bad offer that didn’t convert, or a banner that didn’t draw enough clicks. Rarely do we criticize the story being told. We’re reluctant to question the authenticity of our sales message, and how it might be received by the people with the pleasure of experiencing our ads. Why are we so deluded? Because that shit takes skill! It’s no lazy man’s cup of tea to connect with real people.

We too often take it for granted that our target markets are packed to the ceiling with numb nuts who need only see a “Click to Order Now” to part with their cash.

There’s a real lack of authentic storytelling.

What happened to that priceless ability to sell not by preaching what the user doesn’t give a shit about, but by tapping in to their beliefs and convincing them that Product X is who they are?

The best sellers in the business rarely sell. They reassure. They mould their products in to extensions of the customer’s belief systems. Sometimes those beliefs are deluded, stupid or wrong; but the customer never is. Selling requires that you embrace that insanity and shine a light on it.

How effectively are your landing pages selling the story behind your product?

Yesterday I found myself scanning through the holy motherload of landing page collections.

It’s probably not the most glamorous way to spend a weekend – peering shamelessly at the work of other affiliate marketers – but it’s an excellent source of inspiration, and a reminder of the thousand scandalous ways to skin a cat.

What struck me is that while our industry never tires of finding new and inventive ways to build trust – usually through association and brand misdirection – there are very few affiliate marketers who truly ‘get’ the art of selling.

You sense that affiliates are making money in spite of their copy and headlines, rather than because of them. That’s a testament to some of the sick creative minds out there, and their ability to find the perfect amount of cleavage that steers clear of the Facebook Banhammer while still popping a monster CTR.

I do have to wonder though, from a career advancement perspective, what is going to take you further? A library of 56,000 high-CTR 110x80s… or the ability to use words that spark conversions through the power of classic story-telling?

The next time you launch a campaign that bombs in the first hour, resist the urge to throw new offers, images and landing pages at the wall. Ask, instead, if your message is consistent. Is the total sum of your product benefits a person that the target user would want to be?

If the answer is no, you’ve sold the wrong story.

Recommended This Week

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