Copywriting Tips for the Holiday Season (AKA how to not sound like EVERYONE in your inbox)

With Black Friday around the corner and my inbox already full of horrible calls to action, I thought I’d write out some tips for business owners out there who actually want to be heard this holiday season instead of drowning in an inbox of "BUY ME!" emails.

Look, I get it.

Black Friday seems to be a rush to the bottom and the person with the cheapest product will get the sale, but you don't have to roll in the mud with everyone else.

If you’ve spent actually time, you know, getting to know your customers, it won’t be such a catastrophe to try and make some sales.

However, if you still aren't sure what to say to get their attention, here are some tips to cut through the "Black Friday / Small Business Saturday /Cyber Monday" emails.

1. Clear benefits instead of just features.

This is essentially copywriting 101, but so many businesses think they have this nailed down when they don’t. They go on and on about all the fancy features a product has, but they don’t translate that into actual benefits for the customers.

Rarely do people buy new MacBooks because of the fancy new “advancement” on the gadget (OHHH ANOTHER .5 INCHES OF SCREEN SPACE. THIS IS REVOLUTIONARY.), no, they buy it because the perceived benefits.

Think of drones right now. Every YouTuber these days has an opening drone shot because they want to be Casey Neistat They're selling by the truckload not because of the fancy specs, because they offer cool shots and people want to be perceived as creative.

Benefit = cool YouTube videos / Instagram pictures.
Features = camera quality, battery life, etc.

What will your customer’s life look like with your products?

Usually when a small business is having trouble making sales the benefits vs features aspect is the number one thing they struggle with. I've seen this hundreds of times throughout my years of copywriting. 

This is where you could also include some interesting storytelling. Benefits don't have to be some generic bullet-point-style list. You can tell a story and illustrate for your customer exactly how your product or service will enhance their lives.

2. Copy that focuses on the customer.

What does your customer want? Not you, your customer.

There’s copy all over the internet along the lines of, “We’re the #1 company in this niche,” “Rated #1 in customer satisfaction” etc etc. That's just bragging.

I've never met anyone who was like, "I'm totally picking this company because their website says they are #1 for reliability."

They buy because something about the company appeals to them, builds trust, and understand the actual problems they have.

3. Urgency.

Having deals from Black Friday through Cyber Monday gives a deadline to your sales. If you give customers too long, they’ll put it off until forever. With a deadline, they will make a decision and usually they don’t want to miss out on a great deal.

Now, of course don't be spammy and gross with this. When people put "limited products available" on something like digital products I want to throw up on my screen. No, your PDF is not a limited edition. You may sell it for a limited amount of time.

4. Say thank you.

The number of companies that have said a simple “Thank you” during the holiday season I can count on one hand.

No matter if your customers celebrate the holiday season or not, everyone appreciates a simple “thank you for being a customer”. Actually, take it a step farther and thank them for caring about your company whether they have actually purchased from your or not.

5. Remove the jargon.

Next to the benefits vs. features topic we discussed earlier, this is the next biggest offender.

Your customer is rarely in your industry. They don’t understand the complicated industry terms you use, so stop using them in your sales copy.

This was clear as day when I worked in the fitness industry. No clients care about pronation or supination (ways your ankle can move), but they understand “roll your foot in circles”.

I’m not saying to talk to your customers like they’re stupid, I’m saying make it crystal clear for them. Don’t use fancy words to make yourself sound like some fancy industry expert, it’ll just make you seem arrogant.

Think of mainstream names like Dr. Oz. You may or may not like him, but he does an excellent job of taking complicated medical discussions and making them easy to understand.

Few businesses actually do this. Instead they make it tough and complicated so they can look fancy to other people in their industry.

Mentioning all of this, thank you to anyone who has ever read my work, followed me on social media, been a client, reads my emails, or any other form of internet interaction.

Thank you.

Now go sell your ass off this holiday season. Then thank me later. :)