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Wednesday, November 04 2015

There's a old rule of thumb in marketing that says: "Be as specific as possible." Claude Hopkins, a famous marketing writer said: "Specifics sell but generalities roll off people like water off a duck's back!"

So, for example, a promise to "lose 20 lbs in one month" is more appealing than simply "lose weight". Or "double your income in 30 days" or "this system will save you 4 hours a week" are also more compelling than the same statements would be without those figures. I assume that it's because they create concrete images in people's minds, rather than simply presenting an idea in a vacuum.

What they're doing is quantifying the results their clients can get. And those claims may be true based on some people's experience. Of course, it's often presented as you WILL get these results. On a couple of occasions, I responded to those claims by asking: "What percentage of your clients got this result?" and never got a response. Hmm. Wonder why? Could it be that the results only represent a small number of people and therefore are misleading?

However, when you start putting figures to the results your clients get, there's a caveat.

Here it is.

The danger is that you may be violating the Federal Trade Commission's "Truth in Advertising" guidelines. You can find these online if you google them.

Especially if you're doing business on the Internet, you have to be very careful what claims you make about the results you can get for your clients.

In December 2009, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the USA, tightened up their "Truth In Advertising" rules to govern what claims you can make on the Internet. And being very specific with numbers may get you in trouble.

My understanding is that if you use numbers to prove your claim, the assumption is that everyone who works with or uses your system can expect to achieve those numbers too. It's not that those numbers were achieved by only two people out of one hundred. No, it has to be apparent that everyone can expect to make these results. You can no longer make those wild generalized statements.

I am not an attorney and cannot advise you on this. The above is simply my understanding of the regulations.

I recommend checking with an attorney who is familiar with Internet law and have him/her guide you on exactly what you can and can't say to make sure you stay on the right side of the FTC.

I have no idea how strictly they monitor or enforce this. But I do want you to know it's there and you can decide how to handle it.

Copyright 2015 Maggie Dennison

Posted by: Maggie AT 10:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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