Don't mistake being clever for being smart

One of the things loads of people take advantage of when they subscribe to my offline newsletter, are the free sales copy critiques you get with your subscription.

As you’d imagine, I get to see loads of copy for many different kinds of ads in many different industries.

Sometimes people get really creative in the things they do. And other times people get really creative but in the wrong way.

See, when you write an ad, you’re not trying to be Picasso. You’re trying to be Picasso in print. And just the same way Picasso wouldn’t add a bunch of lines or shapes or shadows if they didn’t make any sense, you simply can’t start shoving things into your document, just because you can.

Here, ever see a fat woman in the mall and think to yourself, “Goodness gracious — just because they make it in a size two, doesn’t mean you need to buy it in a size two!”

Well, if you’ve ever thought something like that to yourself, then you’ll understand how similar things go through my mind when I’m going through all these ads. “Just because you have space for it, doesn’t mean you need to put it in there.”

So with that in mind, here are a few rules to pay attention to when you’re trying to be creative.

1. For starters, be very careful when it comes to humor. What you think is funny may be diametrically opposite to what your prospect thinks if funny. And besides, when it comes to spending money, your prospects are dead serious.

Want to make someone laugh? Then go take your buddy out to your local bar and buy him a drink. But sales is serious business.

I have a pretty wicked sense of humor, and I can’t remember EVER using it in any sales letter I’ve ever written. The closest I’ve gotten to using humor is being somewhat nostalgic for “the good old days” but that’s a completely different animal and you do this for completely different reasons. (To find out why and how to use nostalgia, check out the Seductive Selling System at )

2. Lying is NOT the same thing as creativity. If you want to over-promise and under-deliver and then justify your actions by calling yourself creative, don’t be surprised when everything comes crumbling down around you.

If you’re really creative, then figure out a great strategy to use based on what you have to work with — or… if there’s not enough there, then bail on the project. There are enough things to sell to enough people out there, that you don’t need to waste your time doing anything stupid.

You really can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

3. Remember the first date you went on with someone you really liked? Know how every single word you said, every action, every move you made even, was measured, planned and well thought out? You considered the end result and the ramifications of everything you did, right?

Well, that’s what you should be doing when you’re writing copy.

In other words, don’t “be creative” just because it “seems” like the right thing to do. Like a good guitar solo, where every single note has a purpose, a good piece of copy should be the exact same way. You always want to be thinking about, “How will this impact my prospect and my sale.”

That’s why writing is easy — it’s the editing that kills you.

(To me, no one laid down a guitar solo where every single note counted, better than Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. Those days are long gone, however.)

Look, being creative means presenting your sale in such a way that your prospects are most likely to be able to see and feel all the glorious benefits in whatever you’re offering them. This means you need to consider what you’re saying… how you’re saying it… and most important — this is the one that usually gets glossed over — WHY you’re saying it as well.

It doesn’t mean “go wild with the paintbrush” and it doesn’t mean “impress your prospects with how creative you are.” They could care less with how creative you are — save that for your mom or your wife, I’m sure they’ll give you all the attaboys you need.

But if you want to make money, focus on what your prospect wants, not how clever you are.

Now go sell something, Craig Garber

P.S. In this month’s Seductive Selling, besides the 2 free sales copy critiques, I’m going to give you an absolutely perfect example of an advertorial, written in 3-column print, just like your local newspaper. Plus you get those 15 Free Gifts — watch ’em on the goofy video. All yours free just for saying “Maybe” and giving Seductive Selling a test-drive for 30 days, at

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About the Author

Craig GarberAuthor of "How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers, " and publisher of Seductive Selling - an offline marketing newsletter currently read in 15 countries, world-wide. In a nutshell, I do two things: 1. I show you how to attract a reliable, steady stream of pre-qualified leads who are ready to do business with you NOW... 2. And I increase your net profits and cash-flow, by increasing your customer, client, or patient value -- often, dramatically. How do I do this? By developing, and helping you implement, unique, personalized lead generation and marketing strategies... using compelling sales messages that push your customers emotional buy-buttons. I've worked with over 300 clients in more than 104 different industries, since March of 2000, and I really enjoy what I do. I'm a stable, reliable, happily married family guy with three kids who loves life and always follows through on my commitments and promises. I love to listen to music, workout, read, travel with my family, take pictures, and go bass fishing. I always say "Yes," when it comes to good cigars, good books, and good coffee :-)