How To Say You’re On Sale Without Saying You’re On Sale.

Crunch Fitness Gym Sale Advert 4 - Mylk Copy Copywriting

I’m not going to lie. I love stumbling across a good discount. Why not? If I can save a buck or two, I’m happy. But abuse my inbox (and my attention) with one too many discount emails and it’s a permanent ban; off to the Spam folder you go. In this post, I examine one of the worst types of sales messages, why they aren’t effective today and what you need to say to get people to read and respond to your offer.

. . .

Since I started copywriting, I’ve sat through more lessons than a fifth-year medical student. Each of those lessons is filed away neatly within my skull. But one of those lessons is etched on my forehead like words set in wet cement: people respond to messages they haven’t heard before. And when you’re writing a promotion, this couldn’t be truer.

Today, consumers—meaning you and me—are drowning in a sea of lazy written sales messages. So If you’re reading this and you write promotional offers for your brand or small biz, stop. Read this post before you put your fingers to your keyboard.


The ‘Warehouse Sale’ you’re running … no one cares about.

The ‘50 Per Cent Off Clearance Sale’ … you can send that message back to the clearance rack.

The annual spring ‘Spring Clean Sale’ … your customers won’t be rushing to pick these bargains up like they do hayfever tablets.

Customers have heard these, and a slew of these variations before. They have tuned out these messages and the only time they tune in is if the offer is so damn hot they think they’d be foolish to skip it.

What’s more, few offers are that exceptional. In most cases, your average punter will say to themselves, “Oh, I can wait to get this. It will probably be on sale next month anyway.”

Do this one thing to get cutting-edge ideas.

So, with that in mind, how can you go about crafting a sales message that people haven’t heard before?

I’m glad you asked. But before I show you, let me share one other thing with you.

I mentioned in a recent Crunch Fitness gym marketing post that vague promotional messages fly right over the head of the intended audience. When this happens, you’re marketing efforts are as good as dead.

To get your message noticed and read, you need to iterate different concepts of the same idea. One after another, after another, after another. Only then will a cutting-edge idea or angle rear its attention-grabbing head. This is how new propositions are created for old hat sales problems.

Are you guilty of taking the lazy route?

Armed with the knowledge above, here’s how to deploy this method with a sales message.

So that it’s relevant, I’ll use my Crunch Fitness example mentioned above. Let’s say Crunch wants to advertise 30% off memberships when you pay twelve months upfront in full.

The lazy way would be to pen something along the lines of:

Save 30% when you pay your membership upfront in full. Or…

Get a 12-month membership for the price of 10 months. Or…

Limited offer: two months free when you buy a 12-month membership.

*Rolls eyes*

Speak with clarity and make it persuasive.

These are the discount messages I would use to tackle it:

Crunch Fitness Gym Sale Advert 1 - Mylk Copy Copywriting
Crunch Fitness Gym Sale Advert 2 - Mylk Copy Copywriting
Crunch Fitness Gym Sale Advert 3 - Mylk Copy Copywriting
Crunch Fitness Gym Sale Advert 4 - Mylk Copy Copywriting

Write four, reach more.

Scan those ads again. Notice anything?

Each advert is built off the back of a simple idea — get fit for cheap at Crunch Fitness. Together, the four ads form a campaign that I could run across print, billboards and digital. The more places these ads run the more reach they’ll get. The greater the reach the more people will see the message and connect with the offer.

Do this if your sales promos are being slept on.

Some promo messages deserve to be slept on. Because what’s written without effort is read without interest. The only way to get customers to see, read and respond to your proposition is if you show it to them in a way they haven’t seen before. It might feel like hard work; iterating dozens of ideas and then narrowing it down to a select few options. But this is where working with an experienced copywriter pays off for your brand. And this pads your bottom line.

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Anthony Marion

Anthony Marion

Wordsmith head honcho at Mylk Copy, Melbourne, Australia.

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I write web and sales copy for brands that want to connect with more visitors and convert them to customers.

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