There’s a lot of bad marketing out there—websites, emails, and landing pages that sound more like used car ads than anything else. (No offense to used car dealerships. . . .) The “experts” and the “gurus” fill the interwebs with grand pronouncements and declarations, claiming that their “world class” methods help “thousands” of “Fortune 500 companies” “crush it.”
People can sniff out a fraud from miles away, and even if you’re not one of them, you sure don’t want to sound like one. Here are 5 ways to keep yourself from sounding sleazy.
1. Cut the clichés.
The shysters aren’t very original, so their marketing is filled with clichés. If you keep seeing a phrase all over the Internet, don’t use it.
2. Don’t be vague.
Maybe your service really is world class. Maybe you do work with Fortune 500 companies. Maybe you do help people "crush it" (whatever that means). But rather than raising eyebrows and making people think you’re lying, get specific. Tell them why your product is world class. Include case, studies, testimonials, and reviews on your site. Explain exactly how you help your clients accomplish their goals.
3. Be realistic.
Over-the-top statements won’t win you friends. You probably aren’t the best person in the world at what you do. Unless your field is snowboarding and you’re Matt Ladley right now, you have no way of proving you’re the best anyway. And you don’t have to. Your prospects want to know that you’re good at what you do, that you can help them solve their problems, and that you’re reliable—that’s it. If you want people to believe you, be believable.
4. Talk about the negative along with the positive.
People don’t trust people who are too good to be true. If you minimize the difficult things that clients have to deal with while working with you (paying you money, investing time to give you the information you need, etc.), then your prospects will wonder and they’ll feel uneasy.
5. Avoid over-enthusiasm.
When you're so incredibly excited about what you're selling, you damage your trust factor. Too much enthusiasm makes prospects believe that what you're really excited about is making the sale. When it comes to sales and marketing communications, excessive exclamation points don’t work. In fact, not only do they not work, they actually make people think you’re trying to fleece them.
The good news is you don't have to sound like a sleazy salesman. With a little extra attention and thought, you can transform your marketing from questionable to quality.