Want to sound like an innnnfomercial?
Want to make your product or service sound too good to be true, and in a way that adds no value to the sale?
Then this deadly claim is for you.
But wait, there’s morrrre!
Not only will “100% Risk-Free” put you in the august company of infomercial Valhalla, it’ll even alienate your readers, causing them to suspect all your other claims as well!
Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Jeff, that’s amazing! But how can 100% Risk-Free possibly do all of that?”
(Switches out of Guy Smiley voice)
Allow me to explain…
First of all, time is frequently more valuable to your audience than money. So even if you’re offering a free trial, your audience still feels considerable risk. And that disconnect between the risk your audience feels and your website’s “100% Risk-Free Guarantee” kills your credibility — especially as your visitors (consciously or otherwise) ponder the following questions:
Want to see a company who gets this? Visit Zappos.com. Here’s how they address each of these time vs. risk bugaboos:
If your website is pitching services (not products), you’ll need to slightly modify these steps. Still, it’s easy enough to see how comprehensive demos do the same thing as product photos, or how case studies could accomplish similar persuasive goals as reviews, etc. And for services, the second point is even more important than the first.
Customers are way too used to being ripped off by catch-22’s, fine print, and outright cons. Worse, in the face of this aggravation, almost nobody’s Web copy closes all the loopholes. Fail to answer the following questions and you’ll be presumed guilty without ever getting the chance to prove yourself innocent:
Like all of the other Deadly Claims, the first step in fixing this one involves seeing your visitors as real. Determine their true concerns and then address them with specific, substantiated claims. Lay off the generalizations and let your visitors come to their own conclusions based on the specifics. In other words, “Show, don’t tell.”
UPDATE: Read Jeff’s follow-up article, “Infomercial Marketing Techniques that Work (or Your Money Back!)”
Read more about the 7 Deadly Claims at your own risk…
[Editor's note: Has your website become risky business? Sharpen up your virtual sales pitch at our Persuasive Online Copywriting seminar on March 28th in San Francisco. Jeff and Holly will be your instructors for this first-ever West Coast edition of our popular one-day copywriting crash course. Class size is limited so that attendees can get real advice and actually learn something. You'll even get $100 off if you register by 2/29.]