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Don’t Wait to Convert With Copy


Last week, I received an email entitled “A Fond Farewell… Thank You for Shopping at Borders” from Mike Edwards, CEO. I knew the company had been in trouble for some time and it’d probably be closing soon, so it was no surprise that an alert would be coming—but one like this, I didn’t predict.

In a message delivering disappointing news, I might assume the copy would contain a sense of rigidity (“Going out of business in 90 days”) or frustration (“This wasn’t our fault, but there was nothing we could do”), or even urgency (“Everything on sale—all items must go”). In this, there was none.

The somber, sweeping explanation of circumstances evoked a sadness I didn’t expect and through Edwards’ copy, my connection to Borders surfaced. One I hadn’t realized was there.

The bittersweet letter was a show of gratitude from the heart. Following the “thank you’s” and the legal explanations, he seemed to implore customers to pursue their passion for reading, even though it wouldn’t be side-by-side with Borders.

I know I can revel in the smell of a new book from someone else’s store, but this email reminded me I’ll miss getting it from them. Follow Edwards’ example when writing copy to establish and improve relationships. Contrive an emotional connection by focusing on the passion, not the product. The freedom, not the sneaker. The confidence, not the perfume. And above all, mean everything you say.