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Do Sales Cliches (Still) Work?

There’s a lot that web marketers can learn from the successes, failures, and ideas of experienced print copywriters. As I pointed out in a previous post, solid sales principles don’t change, no matter what type of media you’re using. But that doesn’t mean that sales techniques are static, any more than language is static. As people change the ways they communicate (or develop new ways altogether), marketers will need to adapt.

And that brings us to the topic of sales clichés. You’ve probably seen/read/heard these clichés before, but let me provide a few examples:

  • “At Last! No More Back Pain!”
  • “New Breakthrough Product Cuts Fat Fast!”
  • “This Product Will Change the Way You Look at Computers!”
  • “Revolutionary Technique Makes Learning a Snap!”

Sound familiar?

Of course, these are all headlines that I made up, but you get the idea. “At last!” … “Breakthrough!” … “Revolutionary!” are just a few items on the long list of sales clichés that have been used (successfully) for decades.

But are these clichés relevant today? With more and more advertising moving online, and with the increasing consumer demand for information, NOT sales pitches, should these clichés be considered time-tested techniques or simply outdated relics?

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Reading Habits, Page to Screen

Fact: Copywriting methods change, but basic sales principles don’t.

This means that every major component of print copywriting has an online counterpart which serves the same basic purpose. Although their exact implementations are different, for example, a website’s contact form is obviously related to a print order form.

Print copywriting has one major advantage over online copywriting – history. The print advertising industry has been developing, testing, and refining their sales techniques for decades. The problem is that we can’t simply borrow print techniques for use on the web. Let’s take a look at one of the many reasons why.

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