What do getting laid and getting paid have in common?
This is basic algebra. You have 2 people. 1 wants something the other has. They either get it, or they don’t. The end.
(Okay, you got me. That had nothing to do with algebra.)
I will continue to make references to sex and getting laid because writing web copy is a game of seduction. This type of storytelling is all about getting someone invested in you – SO invested that they take the time to type in their email address and credit card number for YOU. Pick up lines have SO much wisdom to offer on how to get someone invested via copy, it’s almost silly not to think about them when you’re writing for sales. I mean, headlines are pick-up lines. Isn’t getting an opt-in kinda like getting someone’s number? Isn’t closing a sale kinda like “closing the deal.” And doesn’t how you “deliver” kinda determine whether or not you get that repeat business? I think you know where this is going…
You want a relationship with your clients. Am I right? Or at least a lot of business booty calls. And that starts with a great first impression, in other words: how you hit on them.
What was the most effective pick-up line you’ve ever heard? And why? As I’ve been a bartender forever and ever (and ever), I’ve heard A LOT OF THEM. Let me tell you, guys will say anything. Literally anything. So I’ve compiled a tight list of DO’s and DON’T’s from pick-up lines I’ve heard over the years. Disclaimer: Some of this is R-rated. So earmuffs if you’re not into that. Let’s get it.
1. “I can give you 12 orgasms.”
Really? 12? Is that even possible? It’s like when guys talk about their you-know-what and swear it’s 14 inches long. Seriously dude. No one believes you. And that will be hella awkward in the morning. Big, ambitious claims = good. Lying = no bueno. Y’all know the headlines that do this… Lose 50 pounds of body fat this month! Earn $100,000 while you sleep! Turn that frog into a prince! (Fat chance…) When marketeers are just trying to get your attention with crazier and crazier claims and promises it’s like a fucking shit-storm of false advertising. Stop lying to me! I see you, crazy-ass sales nut and I know you’re lying.
So what’s to learn?
DON’T MAKE PROMISES YOU CAN’T KEEP.
DO have the confidence to make a bold claim, but don’t make a claim so bold you can’t actually deliver.
Not only will it stress you out trying to make magic happen (and last I checked, we have no real-life fairies ’round these parts), it will actually make you easier to ignore. Like “nah, that’s not even possible.” Next!
2. “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?”
Oh, I’ve only heard that one, like, three thousand times. Always from a dude who is blatantly hitting on everything with two legs. And every one of those leggy babes knows what they’re up to because they’ve spread that message so far and wide (and without concern) that’s it clear: they’re looking for booty. How does this translate to copy? It’s unspecific, it’s aggressive, and it’s pushy. It’s generic. Like he copied it right out of a book. You know what generic smells like? Desperation. And it makes you, the buyer, feel like you don’t matter. Which, for sales (and sex), is certain death.
What’s to learn here?
DON’T LET YOUR DESPERATION (or lack of originality) SHOW.
DO take the time to tailor your words and be specific and targeted.
Be original and know who you’re talking to (or at least pretend you want to know them). No one wants to be “just another booty” or “just another buyer.”
3. “You’re hot.”
Okay, what else? (I had to include this one because it shocks me to no end how common shit like this is.) And YAY for compliments. Compliments are awesome, and flattering your audience/clients is always for-the-win.
So what’s the problem?
DON’T FORGET TO ASK FOR THE SALE!
Connect, identify, and create the tension of desire with your copy, and also ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT. If you don’t ask, you won’t get it.
4. “We can argue about this when we’re 80.”
“I hope when I have kids, they look like you.”
“We can talk about that on our first date.”
“Do you want to go get ice cream with me?”
These pick-up line examples are, in a word, charming. These folks just lay their interest out there with confidence. It’s not sleazy or presumptuous. It’s subtle and romantic.
What’s oh-so-right about this?
DO PAINT THE PICTURE OF THE FUTURE.
What makes these work is that they are using the “when,” the “what if,” – in other words – the dream. In pick-up line land, it says: “I want to know you beyond tonite” (or tomorrow morning). In sales copy land, you would use it by describing how much better life will be after purchase.
5. “If you were a booger, I would pick you.”
“I can’t wait to take you home… and disappoint you.” Believe it or not, anti-pick-up lines work. I mean that awkward guy who tried to lay some mad rehearsed shit on me but then got all stammer-y and nervous and owned it? Adorable.
DO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR and KEEP IT REAL.
Yes, you have to create the picture and desire for what is possible. Yes, you have to make a big, juicy offer – but let’s keep it real at the same time. Someone telling me the opposite of what I’m used to hearing, or calling out the nature of pick-lines altogether, will always win in my book. I’m all for making tongue-in-cheek advertising jokes in your copy too (I do that shit all the time). Most importantly, just be honest. The truth is refreshing, it’s funny and it’s way too rare nowadays.
6. “I’m playing Win For Life and you can keep half if you go on a date with me.”
This one’s pretty clear, I think. *Drumroll*
DO MAKE AN OFFER THAT CANNOT BE REFUSED.
Always lay out the bonus and answer the question: “in the worst case scenario what’s in it for me?” You can’t refuse an offer like that, can you?
Do you have any pick-up lines with winning sales lessons to share?
Comment and tell me! I’m dying to hear them.