If you’re tired of sleazy marketing tactics, you’re not alone. Most launch copywriters are masters in the art of persuasion and some people use it and abuse it. But is all sales and marketing copy sleazy? Heck, no. If you’re selling something you believe in, you shouldn’t be afraid to sell the thing.
Now, I don’t wanna preach and say there’s one definitive way to write more ethical sales copy. It’s a tricky topic to navigate and what’s OK one day may not be the next.
But if you’ve ever been in someone’s launch sequence and felt allll kinds of uncomfortable and know you don’t wanna replicate that with your own launches, here are some tactics you can use, without damaging your results and your integrity.
1. Honesty is always the best policy
Nothing is gonna damage your reputation like people finding out something on your sales page isn’t true. Claims like “only 2 spots left” should only be used if there really are only 2 spots left. And webinars should only be advertised as live if they really are, and not recorded 3 months ago.
But these tactics aren’t new.
The two newer ones I keep seeing creep into more and more launches are:
Saying the cart is closing and then opening it for longer.
This winds me up because it encourages more and more people to spend money when they weren’t necessarily ready to. If you say your cart is closing, it should be closing unless you have a legit reason to keep it open, like people that missed your sales emails for being on holiday.
Not only is it poor practice but it damages the integrity of other things you say. If they can’t believe your cart is closing, why should they believe anything else you say, either?
Introducing a new payment plan just before the cart closes and claiming it wasn’t planned.
Now, while there’s nothing wrong with introducing a longer payment plan at the last minute– especially if you’re helping people to manage their cash flow better–it’s the stories around why that seems all kinds of shady. Too many people have been doing this for it to be a coincidence and not a tactic.
So why are you really introducing that payment plan? If it’s purely to make more sales and not to support your audience to make the right decision, maybe you should reconsider or have the payment plan available for the entire promotion period.
2. Don’t only use the outsized testimonials
I’m sure we’ve all been on those sales pages where the only testimonials leave you feeling like it’s too good to be true. Obviously, as a course creator or service provider, you want to showcase your best clients to demonstrate the results that are possible from working with you. And you should!
But these results should be representative of what’s possible for anyone entering your program. If you can provide context around where they started when joining your program, people can see what’s genuinely possible. Or why Paige got a way better result than Karen.
Don’t be afraid to show testimonials from clients who didn’t necessarily achieve mindblowing results but still had a positive experience. They paint a more accurate picture as a combination and it makes the whole sales pitch more believable.
If you can, make it clear where people were when they started working with you to paint an honest picture of their results. Like if someone had 3 screaming kids running around at home vs someone else who had 5 days a week in a zen office to dedicate to doing the work, of course they got better results.
And be clear that getting results is their responsibility. They have to do the work. If you don’t have a disclaimer about financial results on your page anywhere, you should probably add one in!
3. Make it super clear who your course or product is for and who it’s not for. And be honest about it.
Only sell to people who are genuinely a good fit for your program. If you’re selling a course to help people make money with FB ads, for example, make sure their business is in a position to handle that traffic and convert people first, so they’re not throwing money down the Zuckerburg drain.
Do your due diligence to either find out or help them self-select by adding detailed info on your sales page, or include an application process that helps you vet for specific criteria.
If you’re not intentional about this, it can lead to a bad client experience, a bad experience for other people who signed up and maybe even a refund request.
If they need to be at a certain income level to afford the payment plan, talk about this. If they need to have X Y and Z in place to get an ROI, say it. If it’s better for people with a specific level of knowledge or experience, be clear about what they need to know before joining so no one gets left behind.
4. Be upfront on your webinar/challenge that your offer is coming
Most people know now that if they hop on a free masterclass or webinar that there’s gonna be some kind of sales pitch. But it’s still polite to let them know ahead of time that you’ll be selling to them.
You can let them know at the start of the live event that there’ll be a pitch at the end, or you could even let them know in the content advertising the event, like the emails or social posts. It’s not essential but people respond well to the upfront nature of this and can decide if they’re willing to stick around or not.
5. Don’t push the FOMO button for people who can’t afford it 🤮
Make it clear you don’t want people to go into debt to work with you. Encourage people to only sign up if they can genuinely afford to and have a way to make back the funds.
There’s a lot to be said for making a scary investment in yourself and working hard to make the money back but I personally think it’s irresponsible to pull that card in your marketing.
If people still decide to sign up, that’s their choice, but that shouldn’t be expected or encouraged. People should never have to decide between joining your program and putting food on the table.
Now, while this isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s 5 rules I abide by when writing launch and sales copy for clients. And I always encourage you to check in with your own values before launching so you can give your audience a more positive experience.
Knowing what’s right and wrong isn’t always easy, but if you don’t feel good when you’re observing someone else’s launch, chances are your audience won’t feel good if you do the same things.
Ready to work with a launch and funnel copywriter who matches your values? Apply to work with me here.