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Why can’t you just say it?

By Jessica Albon

Over ten years ago, I launched my first digital product. (Crazy, right? Ten years ago…) It was an ebook and a collection of HTML email newsletter templates. And, just like you hear, it sold round the clock. Seeing sales come in while I was sleeping was the most exciting thing ever.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today.

After I’d created the product, I remember being really frustrated when it came time to figure out how to write a sales letter. At that point, I’d been a direct response copywriter for about 4-5 years, and I was really comfortable selling other peoples’ products in writing. But I did not want to sell my own.

It wasn’t so much that it felt sleazy as it felt like I was doing my product a disservice. “It ought to sell itself!” I thought. And I didn’t want to be convincing people who were on the fence because, quite frankly, that felt a little demeaning. (Sort of like begging people to buy something they wouldn’t otherwise buy.)

I remember whining to a friend who owned a business: “I don’t want to write a sales letter. I wish I could just say: ‘I’ve worked really hard on this. If you want to publish a successful email newsletter, this is everything I know about that, and I think you’ll enjoy it, so you should buy a copy.'”

Luckily, I have great friends. She said: “So write that.”

I laughed. I listed all the reasons why I couldn’t. I explained how much more complicated it was that just being straightforward. How much craftsmanship a good letter required. Bullet points! Testimonials! And screen upon screen of scrolly text.

I wound up getting busy with client projects and deciding just to launch the darn thing with a rough-draft of a letter that I always intended to go back and “do right.” I never did get around to the re-write, so my letter (which did very well) essentially said exactly what I’d told my friend I wanted to write.

You hear a lot about how you should ship. How you shouldn’t strive for perfection. But what I don’t think you hear enough is this: it’s okay just to say it.

So, try it out. Forget fancy. Forget snazzy bells and whistles. Just say what it is you’ve got to offer. You might just be surprised by how well it works!

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