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Slow Down

Today has been different trying to get this post written. I knew what I was going to write about but I had a heck of a time getting the motivation. Finally, I used a trick which I may have shared with you a while back. If you are stuck, simply typed – “Today, I am posting about…”

trying to make a sale too fast

We have all received those emails that are SELL, SELL, SELL.

  • You have to buy my widget now.
  • There are only a few hours left before the price goes up.
  • Only 3 widgets left. Buy now!

What is your reaction to those types of emails? Personally, I tend to trash them as quickly as I can. I am not buying anything from anybody that is pushing that hard. I don’t trust them or the widget.

We buy things from those we KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST. I am not saying I have never made a purchase from an affiliate marketer that I don’t know because I have. But, I will be willing to bet that the email that started me looking into the widget was a “soft” sell.

The hard-selling approach just doesn’t work in emails or on social media. Constantly pushing the sales message and self-promoting will tend to alienate your audience.

The end result? An unengaged following or NO followers at all!

The subscribers to your list are there to learn from your experience and expertise. Your social media audience is there premarily there to socialize and see what everyone is up to – and possibly watch the occasional video of a dog eating spaghetti. Showing up in their inbox or news feed with constant promotional posts will just tick them off and cause them to unfollow you.

Hard vs Soft sell marketing

Hard selling is when the marketer gets straight to the sales message. They are clearly there to promote their product or service and make sure you know all about it. This type of approach is typically seen with traditional advertising and promotion such as sales pages, print, display ads, flyer drops, TV advertising, or billboards.

Soft selling takes an easier approach and focuses on building long-term relationships, cultivating trust, and nurturing the audience.

The cold, harsh reality

Nobody would sign up to receive daily advertisements straight to their inbox, so why expect your subscribers or social audience to follow you just to receive ‘sales’ content that has of no value to them?

Content marketing is really all about building your subscribers or community. Providing these people with valuable information and using soft-sell tactics to nurture them along the sales pipeline until they are ready to buy.

You are working against the algorithms

Think about how social media works. Most social media algorithms are designed to give the user the best possible experience. They, therefore, give higher preference to content that they deem to be ‘good content’, this is determined using a number of factors.

One of these factors is engagement – are people engaging with your content? If they aren’t then your posts are unlikely to receive much reach (if any). This means that your posts are really a big waste of your time because no one is seeing them. With email, no one is reading them because they go to the spam folder. On social media, you may actually be doing detriment to your reach capability by posting too much low-value/hard-sell content as some platforms will penalize all of your posts’ reach.

What’s the solution?

Your content strategy requires a specific approach to acquire and retain an audience.

Try implementing these tips to turn down the hard sell in content:


Write about or video what you know and share it with your audience. Ensure it’s relevant to your industry or audience. Businesses who are successful offer value to their audience, rather than bombarding them with reasons why they should do business with them. Posts with helpful content show readers more about your area of expertise, and they can see that you are committed to your following, as well as, providing them with entertainment. If you aren’t sure where to start with this, write down the top 5 questions you are asked by your clients and publish answers.


Instead of telling your customers how great your widget is, show them. This ties in nicely with the above point on providing value, but it is also a great way to get your happy customers involved. Ask clients for video testimonials or a photo and share these stories on your social media platforms. Another way to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’ is to showcase what you do behind the scenes and give examples of performance – Facebook Live and Instagram Stories can be a great way to do this. Depending on your customers’ pain points or typical objections to doing business with you, consider how you can overcome these by demonstrating your worth.


Get your audience involved. They won’t enjoy being “talked at”. Asked questions and request a response. This interaction is the key to success within Facebook and Instagram’s algorithm. It gives you brownie points within the algorithm and will give your content more reach and airtime in the news feed. Hard selling makes the mistake of creating distance between the message and the audience.

When creating content that is of value, take advantage of content from your audience or ‘user-generated content. Sharing a relevant blog post or a photo from an audience member that is relevant and on-brand, will make them feel recognized, and help you develop trust.


When it comes to structuring your content for the month the 80:20 rule is a good application. 80% value, 20% sales. It’s ok to ask for the sale. After all, that’s why you are creating valuable content in the first place. The way you approach this should be subtle and conversational. You may not be asking them to buy right now but by adding a call to action, you can simply ask them to commit to your business in some way. This might be signing up for a newsletter, downloading a report, visiting your website, attending an event, or telling them to give you a call or stop by your office/shop for more information.

I hope this is helpful. Please send me an email and let me know how I can make it better.

See You At The Bank, Bob

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