The hazards of hype or How NOT to write your sales and marketing copy

The hazards of hype or How NOT to write your sales and marketing copy
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation

Posted: Wed 10th Jul 2013

Copywriting | Headlines with an exaggerated claimÂ

Good writing persuades people to buy; writing that exaggerates the qualities of a product or service makes people roll their eyes, then turn the page or click away - and not come back. In the first of two posts looking at effective copywriting, Lola Bailey, author of The Small Business Guide to Online Marketing, considers the hazards of hyperbole.

Online marketing | Lola Bailey

Buyers beware: all that glitters is not gold! writes Lola (left). Eager to prise away hard-earned money from unsuspecting customers, over-excited sellers will use a number of tactics in their marketing materials to lure you to their wares. Sellers, note - these tactics, variously referred to as 'hype' and 'hot air', should be avoided if you want your business to be taken seriously.

Hype can fire up an eager or desperate buyer, but it can cost a business dearly in terms of lost credibility and reputation. Here are some commonly used hype tactics:

1. Unsubstantiated superlatives

For example, "THE most respected NLP trainer," or, "THE most important innovation in xxx, EVER." This kind of hype is found all over the internet. Implausible, and unnecessary.

2. Exaggerated claims

For example, "Get skinny in just 7 days with our 123 diet - guaranteed!" And this one popped into my inbox yesterday: "Toddler Rage? End Your Toddler's Tantrums for Good with Our 3-day Parenting Programme." For good? Really? Although no comment is probably enough comment in this case, the internet remains awash with writing like this. Hype of this kind may work for those who are impatient for quick results, but, inevitably, disappointment lurks around the corner.

3. Absence of qualifiers

Very few gizmos or gadgets are truly "all-new", "totally new" or "unmatched /unequalled by any other". Statements like these should be reworded to be more acceptable to people.  John Lewis' "never knowingly undersold" is a terrific example of a qualifying statement.

"Hype _can_ fire up an eager or desperate buyer, but it can cost a business dearly in terms of lost credibility and reputation."

MArketing copy | You won't believe it!

4. Adjectives, adverbs/adverbial clauses "on steroids"

Not a particularly British thing this, but hugely popular elsewhere as a way of inserting some hammering excitement into the proceedings. Examples  I've seen recently include describing experiences and even products as "mind-blowing", statements such as  "literally only five rose candles left in stock", dubious claims such as, "Awesome, transformational  get-buff programme to get you totally ripped in 7 days flat" (yes, seriously), and call to action buttons  with  "Rush My Trial NOW!", or  "ORDER RIGHT NOW!" written on them.

5. Unrestrained tone

This has to be my favourite offender. Particularly when numerous exclamation marks are used!!!!!! Marketers who favour this sort of hype will go in hard with the fervid embellishments, phrases with BOLD, CAPITAL LETTERS, underlined, and drumbeats of emphasis. Example: "Learn the TOP SECRET strategies of the pros that YOU TOO can use to EARN A FORTUNE the EASY WAY!" Writing is easy, but to write well is hard. In my next post, I'll show you five tried and tested techniques to help you entice your readers in a way that's truthful, effective and devoid of hype. Lola Bailey has more than 20 years' experience in coaching, sales and market development and writing for business. An enthusiastic champion of start-ups, she also runs__ ihubbusiness, an online business hub offering internet marketing advice to start-ups and small enterprises.

Get The Small Business Guide to Online Marketing for £5

Lola Bailey's Small Business Guide to Online Marketing  is a step-by-step guide to growing your business online. From developing great content to reaching customers with social media, you'll find out how to use the internet to maximise the potential of your business. It's available as both an ebook and a print book for just £5 - or 25% off if you're an Enterprise Nation Club member. Click on the link below to find our more and buy your copy. [product id="56640"] Photo credit: Nina J G via Compfight cc

Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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