I was Face Timing my friend Lauren a couple weeks ago, and we were talking about our businesses—she watercolors, I write. We talked about how hard it is to want to tell people that we have something to sell. We sit down to write an Instagram post, or an Etsy bio, and start to feel like a fraud, like no one will take us seriously, and like our friends will just be annoyed when they see what we’ve written about our businesses.
I feel it—and even though I write marketing copy for a JOB, I would greatly prefer to write copy for someone else than for myself.
The problem is this though: if we want to have a profitable business that brings help and beauty to the people we are selling our product or service to, we will have to write words for it! So how? How do we write our website pages and educational social media posts, and product descriptions… without shoving our ideas and services onto people?
Here are three ways to approach writing your own copy so that it sounds and is genuine and light-hearted instead of used-car-salesman-y.
1. Know and be okay with the fact that your service or product isn’t for everyone.
I think we as small business owners (especially the people pleasers among us—I’m one) can feel scared that we aren’t making sense or aren’t helpful to everyone. Truth is: we shouldn’t be helpful for everyone. Some people will not need what we have!
Here’s a real life example of this: I don’t do my own taxes. I hire an accountant to do them. And I don’t know how to do taxes, so I’m really glad my accountant can, and I can trust her with them. If my accountant wrote a piece of copy that said, “Do you need help with your taxes?” and I saw it, I would instinctively think YES, and be glad she is there to help!
However, someone who knows how to do their own taxes is going to see the same question and scroll past, because they don’t need help with their tax forms.
Accountants are not going to think other accountants are weird or wrong for advertising, because it is well known that many people DO need an accountant’s services! So, know who your service helps, and don’t feel bad that it isn’t everyone.
2. Explain your offer clearly.
No one appreciates wool being pulled over their eyes. Don’t be deceptive or manipulative! Simply tell people with the best language you can what you’re offering, how it can help them, and how they can purchase the offer. Annoying marketing is usually marketing that tries to convince you that you really do need something in what we think of as a “used car salesman” way—sleazy and in your face and frustrating.
If you explain your offer with clear-eyed language and then give your people space to think about it, they will buy out of a place of knowledge and clarity instead of feeling forced into a purchase against their will.
3. Offer with kindness.
Don’t insist that someone buy from you. If your offer isn’t a fit for what they need, you certainly don’t want them to purchase and regret the decision later! If you come across in your copy as thoughtful of your client’s time and open to their final decision, they will appreciate it in the same way you do when someone talks to you that way.
Marketing doesn’t have to be annoying, and you can write without fear. Know your offer isn’t for everyone. Explain it clearly. And offer with kindness. Direction, clarity, and compassion can make all the difference in making the world of marketing just a little bit better.