Beggars will be losers
Yesterday, a newsletter nervously poked its head into my inbox.
Nothing unusual there. Nothing unusual about the subject matter either. It was the tone that really struck me. Maybe 'struck' is the wrong word. This newsletter assailed my senses with all the force of a soggy haddock. It was a right 'turn-off'. I'd have preferred a pushy, 'salesy' approach.
So then, what was the problem?
Please don't please me
Take a look at the image above. It gives you a pretty good idea of what upset me so. The writer of this unwelcome missive came across as desperate. I felt I was reading a begging letter. All because of one little word - a word which appeared five times in a 17-line communication.
- In the headline - Please join us next month for our …
- In the sub-heading - Please don’t miss out
- In the body of the email - Please send your details …
- In the sign-off - Please do not hesitate to get in touch
- In the PS - Please remember
The use of the word 'please' should be a big no-no in your copywriting armoury. It shows a lack of confidence. (In a recent LinkedIn article, I explored the need to show confidence in your offer. What do you mean, ‘What article?’ You’re saying you don’t read every single one? Tut! This article, my friend -
Back to begging - Two reasons for avoiding the word ‘please’
Knowing you as I do, you were clearly well-brought-up. Forever meticulous in your manners, you've always been spot on with your 'pleases' and 'thank yous'. But, the world of marketing is a different world.
I don't mean it's harsh. No - it's a world where, in order to achieve your goal, you need to communicate in a way that's clear, confident and direct.
It's a world where 'perhaps', 'if', 'maybe' and 'please' are neither welcome nor useful. There are at least two reasons for which you should bar 'please' from your persuasive copy.
- How can a potential client have confidence in you, if you don’t have confidence yourself?
- By adopting a lowly, subservient position, you open yourself up to the possibility of price negotiation. (Like Uzbekistani red wine, something, which for the sake of your health, should be laid down and avoided.)
So - there you have it. Next time you write a sales letter or email, stand-up straight, shoulders back, chin forward, big, bright, warm smile ... and tell your audience how their lives will be improved immeasurably for the better when (not if) they buy your product.
And please ... please don’t, just don’t, say ‘please’.
Oh ... and if you're looking for more tips on writing email newsletters, you'll find them here.