Give Me Your Cash. I Have A Gun.

Let’s imagine that you’re ready to rob a bank. Maybe you’re a bank robber with a heart of gold, that’s trying to raise money for your sick kid.

You know, sort’ve like John Q?

Maybe you’re just doing it for kicks. Maybe you’re the average everyday robber and you just want to get some cash.

Either way, you get in front of the bank teller, the biggest, most inefficient movie handgun ever sticking out of your pocket. And you pass her a note.

Dear friend.

Once upon a time, I was exactly like you.

I had a nine to five job, quietly SEETHING at my lack of fulfillment in life. I worked on filling out legal documents for some nameless corporate overlords, but I knew there HAD to be a better way. I was at the end of my rope! And then I got weird advice from an even weirder source: and it changed my life forever.

It was my dog, Rusty. THAT’S RIGHT, my DOG started talking.

And what’s more interesting, he asked me to rob this very bank.

And it goes on and on. By the time you actually finish all of this, there’s a SWAT team at your door. And if they kick your ass a little bit… nobody’s gonna feel sorry for you.

i don’t know what the hell this is, but wow.

What’s the major takeaway from this? Your copy can’t afford to waffle. People will tune out. Want to see what actual bank robbers do when it’s all on the line? I ran across a blog called Bank Notes, and it’s entirely comprised of the little notes that people pass to the bank teller when they’re robbing a bank.

What are the big takeaways here?

Grab Attention Right Away

This is a stickup. I need $1,000. Thanks.

What’s to wait on? You know the situation right away.

An Emotional Penalty For Failure


I have a gun and nothing to lose.
100’s, 50’s, 20’s. Both drawers.
Any dye packs or funny money
I’ll be back in.

When we talk about writing sales material, we want the prospect to have a clear mental vision of success, and a clear mental vision of failure. Having this creepy looking dude storming back in the bank looking for you is no bueno. Let him be somebody else’s problem.

Keep Sentences Short

Plz don’t make me/Just hand over your cash
No Dye Packs! No problems
Just do it.

I don’t know what’s going on with the haiku slash, but none of these notes have any big words or long sentences. On the internet, paper is free. But here, every inch matters. None of these tellers are going to ask “huh, what’s going on??” at the end of ANY sentence that they read here. That’s important.

This isn’t an argument against long copy.

But understand that whether you’re writing a sales letter or a tweet or a robbery note, you can’t afford to waste time. You’re not always going to have bank robber efficiency…

But you can do something these guys didn’t do: sit your ass down and THINK before you act.

Look at your work, ask yourself whether a bank teller would lose interest in what you’re saying, and rewrite accordingly.

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