Marketers, is there a smell in your sell? - The Write Idea

Marketers, is there a smell in your sell?

By Renae Gregoire

What happens when you try to sell ice to Eskimos?

Before I became a product creator and writing coach, I used to troll all the job boards looking for writing and editing work. 

Believe me, applying for "gigs" is about appealing as I imagine that getting back into the dating scene would be after being married for many years.


No thanks. I'll stay single.  (I'm not single, I was just saying....)

Anyway, one day, I found this sad ad for a “talented creative copywriter” on Craigslist:

We are looking for a talented individual who can write killer sales copy. The type that can sell ice to Eskimos. We are a fast growing web firm and are in need of a full time copywriter to support our team and its goals. The assignment will consist of but not be limited to sales letters, sales emails, websites, etc. We are looking to fill this position immediately. Thank you for your interest!

Why is the ad sad?

First, because I’m not sure whether “the type” in the second ... "sentence" ... refers to the copy or the person writing the copy.

Second, and more important, the ad is sad because it reveals the heart of the company, which is to try to sell things to people who don’t really need them.

Like selling ice. To Eskimos.  

Why try to sell ice to Eskimos?

Photo from 

Do Eskimos need ice?

Assuming the answer is "no," (which it isn't, but play along with me), then ... WHY would you try to sell ice to them? 

Because you’re a shyster. A swindler. A shark. A thief.

And, in my opinion, so is any writer willing to do the dreadful deed of writing the content that sets out to accomplish such a foul task.

The smell of the sell created by this endeavor stinks to high heaven, causing buyers to click "X" ... hit the back button ... press DELETE ... slam the door ... or take any other action that might end the conversation.

If you thought you had to sell ice to Eskimos, listen up; there IS a better way. 

Yes, there really is a better way, which is always good news to the many gentle souls I serve, people who abhor the thought of selling.

If that's you, then I have good news for you. 

You don't have to become a swindler to sell your wares online.

My premise for writing and editing has long been that it is not in your best interest to try to sell things to people who neither want nor need them.  

Instead, think about this: People love to buy, but they hate to be sold.

So instead of selling ice to Eskimos, how about selling them something they really need — maybe some warm socks?  ?  

Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash

Furthermore, don’t “try” to sell at all! 

Instead, try to help. 

Try to educate your buyers, to build trust and confidence.

Serve them by giving them all of the information they need to make a heart-felt decision. 

Make it your mission to help them buy--and to feel good about doing so!

P.S. This is post #9 in my 30 Day Blogging Challenge!

P.P.S. Curious? Join my tribe to learn more!

Join my tribe?

Do you sweat the small stuff? Do you want your online presence to inspire trust and confidence? Do you grit your teeth when others don't care enough about YOUR web experience? Are you all about creating an excellent website and excellent content that makes it easy for people to get to know, like, and trust you and buy your stuff?

I think we might be soul mates. And I'd love for you to join my tribe.

When you do, I'll alert you to new blog posts, new programs and products, and new ways for you to create excellent, frictionless, online experiences that lead more people to YES! I promise to be relevant and real, and to send only thoughtful content and advice.


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About the Author

Hi! I'm Renae Gregoire, a digital conversion expert improving the performance of digital marketing content, including websites, landing pages, sales pages, online courses, blogs, and email sequences. If you're a coach, consultant, or other expert having trouble getting people to click, sign up, subscribe, or buy, I can help. My work typically involves a blend of strategy, design guidance, and wordsmithing, with a heavy focus on how your materials look, sound, feel, and function—all from your reader's perspective. Contact me to see how I might be able to help improve your conversions.