Marketing Copywriting, Maslen on Marketing

Stealth Selling

What do you do when you are selling to people with ultra-powerful hype detectors? Use stealth technology.

You might have seen pictures of stealth fighters – they look like black origami planes and are light years away from the models I built as a boy.

Their stealth technologies confuse radar and other defence systems, leaving the plane to accomplish its mission undetected.

And it turns out that we can use stealth selling to scoot under our readers’ radar. Here are five ways to get your message across without being seen:

1. Picture captions

Give your reader a picture (a good idea in itself, since people look at pictures before anything else on a page) and they will automatically look for the caption.

They assume the caption describes the picture. They assume, therefore, that it’s factual, ie TRUE.

So you can embed a sales point in your reader’s brain by disguising it in a caption. Let’s say you have a picture of your product on a web page. The caption could just say, “Sunfish Nounitis Cream – family size”.

But it could say, “Used daily, Sunfish Nounitis Cream imparts a healthy glow to your writing”.

2. Statistics

You know Benjamin Disraeli’s famous quote about statistics? Well, why not put it to your own purposes?

Some people claim to be able to spot ‘marketing speak’ a mile off. But give them the same information in numerical form and suddenly their credulity knows no bounds…

“In tests, 85% of delegates on Write for Results writing workshops reported improved powers of persuasiveness.”

3. FAQ pages on websites

Webmasters, bless ’em, are dead keen on FAQ pages because they save you the trouble of answering dim questions over and over again.

But I’m pretty keen on them for another reason.

You can pack them with leading questions that enable you to provide apparently disinterested answers, giving the reader more reasons to buy.

Q “What happens if I don’t like Maslen on Marketing?”A Relax – you are protected at all times by our money-back guarantee.

4. Testimonials

Yes, I know I’ve talked about testimonials before. But they really are so good that they deserve another airing here.

Give your reader an attributed testimonial, especially if it’s from someone they might actually have heard of, and the sale’s virtually there.

Best of all, you can usually write them yourself.

5. Tone of voice

Needs a bit more practice this one. But with a few skilfully chosen phrases, you can flatter your reader into agreeing with you that buying your product is a very sensible decision (which, of course it is, right?) Like this…

“There are those, of course, who haven’t yet realised the power of good copywriting. But as you and I know, good copywriting repays your investment many times over.”

What you are doing here is inviting your reader to share a delicious secret with you. One so good they want to deepen their relationship with you and your product to maintain their feelings of superiority to the herd.

And my point is?

You have an excellent product. Your reader’s life will be better once they buy it from you.

But thanks to the snake-oil merchants, charlatans, mountebanks and other assorted frauds [OK, enough with the thesaurus – Ed.], your messages are treated with undue cynicism. A little stealth selling allows you to penetrate your reader’s defences and make your point.

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