It’s very common online still to feel that the sales pages you see online are misleading, if not flat out lying about the product they’re offering. It’s such a problem that the FTC has been trying to clamp down, no easy task on something that changes as fast as the internet does. With all the lies out there, is it okay for you to lie on your own sales page?
Personally, I say no. I really hope you do too.
I don’t just mean big lies about product functionality or what you’re offering. I include little lies such as the price or product being available for a limited time when it isn’t or claiming that the product has previously been sold for a higher price or will increase in the future when you have no intention of doing so. Such lies can easily get you into legal trouble, and some payment processors now review such claims and enforce price or availability claims for you.
“But I Have a Great Product!”
Let’s suppose you have a great product to sell, something you know is perfect for your customer base. But you’re concerned it’s going to be a hard sell. Can you lie then?
Why would you? If the product is that good, there should be plenty of truth to tell about it. A lie could actually weaken the product’s quality in a buyer’s eyes, as it will no longer meet expectations. If you think you have to lie in that kind of situation, you need help in writing your sales pages. Time to find a great copywriter and explain the product to him or her.
“But My Competition Lies. I Need to Compete!”
There are times when you shouldn’t give a damn what your competition is doing, or more to the point, when you shouldn’t imitate them. When you believe they’re lying is one of those times. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing, it matters what you do. You don’t want to risk your reputation on a lie. Leave that for those who don’t recognize the value of a good reputation in business.
Seriously. Think of Your Reputation
The problem with lying isn’t just the potential for legal trouble, although that can be plenty serious, and could cost you your entire business. But even if you don’t get legal troubles, lying eventually means the loss of your reputation. That cuts down the odds of your future success.
If you care about your home business, take care of its reputation and your own. Develop a reputation as someone who offers quality products and/or services, and your business is more likely to grow. Spoil that with a deliberate lie, and you’ll ruin whatever trust you’ve gained by your work in the past.
A lie may improve your sales, there’s no doubt of that. But increasing sales doesn’t matter if it increases your refund rate, especially as payment processors look poorly upon accounts with high refund rates. You also lose your chance at future sales if you lose the trust of customers.
What About Exaggeration?
What if you’re “merely” exaggerating a claim? Is that okay?
Come on. Really. Do you really need to ask that?
Especially if you want to meet rules set forth by the FTC, you had better be able to prove any claims you make, and know what average results are. You also have to do so clearly. No teeny, tiny disclaimers about results being atypical.
I know sometimes people get amazing results from things they do. That doesn’t mean everyone does, and it doesn’t mean everything you try to sell must get amazing results. What matters is that the results are good enough to make people want to buy it, and that they have a good chance of having such success if they do whatever it is they’re supposed to do.
I’ll admit that it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s a lie and what isn’t, mostly because what’s possible for one person won’t be possible for another. You may have had success doing something, but it won’t always translate for others.