Marketing tip #96: Be specific

102715973 One of the most frustrating "worries" that marketing types sometimes express is that they want to use weasel words in their marketing.  Words like "nearly," "over" or "almost all."

Typically, they're worried about someone calling them on the details so they want to hedge their bet.

Look at these two sentences:

We've served nearly 1,000 happy customers.

We've served 973 happy customers.

Which one feels more genuine and truthful?  Which one causes you to stop and think about the significance of the number?

Which one makes you think they really counted?  Exactly.  

In your sales and marketing copy — be specific.  Brian Clark at Copyblogger wrote about this topic and said "Non-specific copy is a red flag that signals puffery and a lack of substance, and yet it’s all too common."  Amen!

Go back and review your website, brochure, sales collateral and other marketing materials. If you aren't being specific — it's time for a re-write or an honest conversation about why you can't/won't.


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5 comments on “Marketing tip #96: Be specific

  1. Ryan Barton says:

    A nice point, Drew. Too often we use those words to “reach” to the bigger number because we think it’s more attractive. But rarely do we consider the implications of the reaching fluff.

  2. John says:

    That’s a very valid point you make. People very rarely believe whole numbers either..that’s why Baskin Robins has 31 flavors not 30, and every car lot have cars for 29,990 not 30,000.As far as the car goes, in your head you paid 29k, even though your only $10 short of 30k. Funny how the mind works.

  3. Great points! Being vague can create doubt and that can have an adverse reaction to you, your writing, your company etc..

  4. Ryan,

    It is about reaching the right people with the right message — that’s for sure!


  5. Tracy says:

    Wow! Thanks for pointing this out. There have been so many times when I catch myself throwing words into documents, such as “nearly,” “almost,” & “about,” that really alter the meaning or validity of the statement that I’ve been trying to make. Not only does this happen in the business world, but also in people’s personal life. The strength of an idea or statement is only as strong as the words used to express them.

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