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3 Marketing Claims That Hurt Your Reputation Snake oil has a distinct odor, even online.

By Kimanzi Constable Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


As you scroll through Facebook, the one thing that probably stands out is the Facebook ads. Facebook ads are a powerful way for entrepreneurs to advertise their business and services, but they have also brought out a whole new level of deceptive marketing.

There are wild claims being made, and leads/customers are falling for the well-written but slightly deceptive copy. The result ends up being a negative perception of all marketing that lumps different businesses in the same category. It's caused people to be more suspicious and hesitate to make a buying decision with a legitimate business.

There are three marketing claims that quickly kill reputations, and as successful entrepreneurs will attest, a business lives and dies by its reputation. These marketing claims hurt your reputation, and as a result, kill your businesses growth. Don't using these in your efforts to market and grow your business.

1. Specific income results.

Every day I can log onto Facebook and see entrepreneurs advertising their webinar that teaches people how to host "five-figures webinars" or make a "six-figure income from your book." Making specific income claims is dangerous because it could lead to legal problems and more.

Frank Kern, the legendary marketer, was sued by the FTC, in part, because of advertising specific income results. You may have used your system to make five or six figures, but that doesn't mean anyone else (much less everyone else) who uses your system will. The truth is, most will not. Don't make those claims in your marketing because results came from effort, not just the system used. Those who buy your system and strategies may not be as motivated as you.

Related: FTC Orders 'Brain Training' Company Lumosity to Pay $2 Million Over Deceptive Advertising Practices

2. Misleading information about your results.

There is no shortage of ads talking about how a certain entrepreneur used an individual strategy and is now making six or seven figures. What's not advertised is the steps and failures to get to that specific result. The hard work part of the strategy is purposely left out because that will scare people away. But, to achieve their level of success, that entrepreneur would have done things that would scare wishy-washy entrepreneurs.

It doesn't have to be an income result. It could be any result related to anything that your business helps customers do. The best kind of marketing informs the potential customer of as much as possible. Don't make your copy vague and hold back some of the harder parts of what it took to achieve your level of success.

When you mislead or hold information back, it will come out at some point. I think each of us has seen the reviews or articles written about an entrepreneur or business revealing what is not talked about in the marketing. That's not the kind of reputation you want for your business.

Related: Save Native Ads From the Slippery Slope of Deception

3. Promises of quick success.

We want results, and we want them now. Your customers want the same thing and are willing to pay for it. A temptation could arise to promise them quick results when you know that's not going to be the case. This kind of shortsighted thinking hurts your business in the long run.

Every entrepreneur's success is a journey of highs and many lows that force you to dig deeper. Your marketing should reflect truthfully what it will take to achieve the results you have gotten. People can sense what's real and what's fake, whether or not this is all about money for you. Quick success is the exception, not the rule.

We live in a time when we have access through the Internet and social media to a large, engaged market. The access has created opportunity, but it's also encouraged a lot of nonsense marketing. To stand out, you have to be different. You can't become different copying what everyone else does.

When you have a good product or service you don't have to resort to hyped marketing that misleads. How happy people are with the results they paid for will speak loudest in the best possible marketing -- word of mouth testimonials from satisfied customers. Be different by focusing on quality and telling the truth. Your business will grow as a result.

Related: Want to Be Successful? Quit Slacking Off.

Kimanzi Constable

Content Marketing Strategist

Kimanzi Constable is an author of four books and has been published in over 80 publications and magazines. He is the co-founder of Results Global Impact Consulting. He teaches businesses modern content strategies. Join him at RGIC.

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