A Case for Transparency – Ditching the Formulaic Sales Page

What impact do we make as internet marketers?Many gurus claim ‘high-conversion sales pages’ are the holy grail of Internet marketing. But what is the actual impact they create? Part 3 of a 6-part series.

In the past two articles in this 6-part series on writing marketing copy, we’ve been looking at how ‘old school’ marketing strategies differ from those in the new 7 Graces marketing paradigm, and how this difference is reflected in the way we write marketing copy for our websites, sales pages, newsletters, email shots, blog articles, social media updates, and so on.

If you missed these articles, you can catch up by clicking these links:

PART 1: Grace-FULL Tips for Writing Effective Marketing Copy – where we looked at how to bring the Graces of Connection and Inspiration into our written copy

PART 2: Tips for Writing Clear, Inviting and Ethical Marketing Copy – where we looked at how to bring the Graces of Invitation and Directness into our written copy.

Today, we’ll be exploring the next of the 7 Graces – the Grace of Transparency – and see how they can bring a sense of freedom and uniqueness to our marketing.

A Deeper Look at the Word ‘TRANSPARENCY’

‘Transparency’ is a buzz word that is being used more and more these days, especially in business and in politics. Most of the time people equate the word transparency with the practice of being honest and open about one’s operations. If a business is to be transparent, they need to be upfront about their income and outgoings, their funding sources and expenses, their supply chain and their working conditions. In this sense, Transparency, it would appear, is part of a system of checks and balances to ensure corporate social responsibility.

But I believe there’s another aspect to the Grace of Transparency. It’s not just about being honest so we can prove we’re not dis-honest. True Transparency is something much more positive and expansive.

As you’ll already know if you’ve read this blog or the book The 7 Graces of Marketing, the word Transparency means ‘to shine light through’. The ‘light’ that we shine through when we practice transparent marketing is our values. That means that while most mainstream marketing has sales conversion as its primary aim, the primary aim of new paradigm marketing is the communication of the company’s values.

Bringing the Grace of TRANSPARENCY into Your Marketing Copy

Let’s say you’ve just sat down to write the copy for your next sales page. There’s a pretty standard ‘template’ for sales pages across the Internet, and frankly I’m sick to death of them. It’s not just because they’re long-winded and predictable; it’s because there’s hardly any character distinction between them. They all look the same and read the same. But what is worse is that they make your audience feel the same:

  • They make your readers feel irritable, as they scroll through endlessly repetition bullet points waiting for you to get to the point.
  • They make them feel manipulated, as they are told your product usually costs such-and-such price but today they can get it for something like 90% off if they order RIGHT NOW (we’ll talk more about this in Part 4).
  • They make them feel bored and uninspired because they’ve seen all this before, and things almost never deliver what they promise.They make your readers feel disconnected because they really can’t get a sense of who you are, no matter how many testimonials you slap onto the page.

While I agree that there is a certain order in which information needs to appear on a sales page, if you’re using the same ‘formula’ for your web copy that so many other Internet marketers use for their so-called ‘high conversion sales pages’, you are creating all these negative responses in your readers, whether you know it or not. And with specific regard to Transparency, you’ll notice that your readers feel disconnected from you because the one thing you are NOT doing is allowing your own character to shine through your copy.

Using generic sales pages for your marketing copy might make you the ‘quick sale’. But I believe it acts as a cloud over your business. You look like everyone else; you don’t stand out from the crowd in any definable way. So even if you make the ‘quick sale’ here and there, your customers are likely to unsubscribe to your list just as quickly. They might not even remember subscribing to it in the first place.

But when you embrace the Grace of Transparency and genuinely express your true values through your marketing, your audience get to know and trust the essence of who you are, as a business owner and a human being. But be warned: your audience is tuned in. They’ll be able to see through any shabby attempts to ‘appear’ to be transparent and value-driven if there is no substance behind it. My biggest bugaboo right now is that disgraceful McDonald’s advert with children they call the ‘farmers of tomorrow’, inferring they support local agriculture. Coming from a company that is arguably responsible for the felling of more trees in the Amazon rainforest than any other, it rings pretty hollow.

Closing Thoughts

I believe the Grace of Transparency is the place in the 7 Graces model where the marketing paradigm really shifts. And, like any shift, Transparency can be both terrifying and liberating:

  • It’s terrifying because it’s unexplored territory and there is no ‘model’ for doing it (yet). It’s also terrifying because it exposes you and your company. And when you’re exposed, rest assured you’ll be examined, challenged and critiqued by the public.
  • It’s liberating because it frees you from trying to figure out the next big gimmick to ‘hook’ people into buying from you. Just BE YOU. Gee, what a concept.

I’ve written many other articles about the Grace of Transparency on this site. If you’re interested in learning more about how to cultivate it at a practical level, you might wish to read some of them, especially Making Your Mission Statement Work for You AND Your Customers and Directness and Transparency in Marketing – a Vital Interdependence.

Coming up next time…

Next time in Part 4 of this 6-part series, we’ll explore the Graces of Abundance, followed by the Grace of Collaboration in Part 5. Finally, in Part 6 we’ll round off this series with some of my top writing tips on how to construct your marketing copy from a practical level.

Be sure to subscribe to the 7 Graces blog so you can be sure you’ll receive the entire series. And do have a browse around the site and leave a comment before you go.

And lastly, if you’re looking for help in writing marketing copy for your ethical business or non-fiction book, drop us a line via the contact form on this site.

Lynn Serafinn
29th October 2013

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Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically, by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media.

eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales

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Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing

LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

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MeetUp: http://www.meetup.com/7-Graces-Global-Community-London

(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)

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3 Responses to A Case for Transparency – Ditching the Formulaic Sales Page

  1. “That means that while most mainstream marketing has sales conversion as its primary aim, the primary aim of new paradigm marketing is the communication of the company’s values.”

    So what happens if the company does not live up to its values? Or it’s values are morally suspect?

    Traditionally companies use marketing to push a false view of both products, values and organisations in order to sell. In this new model is it the job of Marketing to communicate accurately and truthfully? Or even to call the organisation to account when it does not practice what it preaches?

    This doesn’t sound like marketing to me. It sounds like journalism.

    See also this post from my personal blog:

    http://nickreynoldsatwork.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/digital-communications-a-manifesto/

    Thanks

    • Hi Nick,
      Thanks for the comment and for the link.

      If it doesn’t sound like marketing to you, I suppose that’s because the new paradigm bears little similarity to what we currently have in mainstream marketing. I totally agree with you that the current state of mainstream marketing in one in which “companies use marketing to push a false view of both products, values and organisations in order to sell.” That’s the argument upon which the entire 7 Graces philosophy and ‘movement’ is based. Yes, the job of marketing in the new model is most definitely to “communicate accurately and truthfully” AND for the public to “call an organisation to account when it does not practice what it preaches.” I believe with the changes in communication and technology (especially social media and mobile comms) the ‘calling to account’ is becoming more an more common. As far as the ‘accurate and truthful’ bit, the 7 Graces Project aims to encourage independent business owners who are more socially conscious to adopt this practice and lead the way to change. It’s my belief that as consumers (i.e., all of us) come to see this kind of marketing as a ‘must have’ rather than the exception, the larger companies will have little choice but to follow suit with time. It might take a few decades, but I believe it is starting now. At least, that’s what we’re working towards at 7GP.

      Please stay connected, and I look forward to continuing the dialogue in future articles.

      Lynn

  2. Pingback: 10 Top Tips for Writing Relevant, Ethical Marketing Copy | The 7 Graces of Marketing - ethical marketing for social entrepreneurs

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