Continuing this month with in-depth tips from my article, "12 Deadly Communication Sins of Advertising" is today's two-fold topic of being trite. Here are two closely related communication faux pas in advertising that results in most readers clicking the delete button or throwing away that flyer.
Nothing says blah like "Great!", "Fantastic!", "Superb!", "Marvelous!" and "FREE!" These words are so overused that they no longer hold any meaning for potential customers. Use unique words when you describe your products/services. Marvelous can mean almost anything! After all, one man's marvelous is another man's ho hum. These are typical sales words. They scream "I WANT TO SELL YOU SOMETHING!" Don't use them.
Speaking of screaming, don't use all caps and don't use a barrage of exclamation marks. Marketing copy with a large quantity of words in all caps (or a sea of exclamation points!!!) gives the impression that you are an amateur. Nobody wants to pay an amateur. They want a professional.
How do you react when you see an email with fourteen colors and six kinds of font in four sizes that boasts generic, insincere verbiage such as:
I don't know about you, but it's enough to make me yawn! What's so incredible and fantastic about your product? In fact, what is
your product? What kind of deal are you talking about and this is a free sample of...WHAT? I'm a fairly smart gal. If you tell me what it is, I'll be able to decide for myself if it's an incredible deal. Heck, I may even want to buy it!
However, give me a bunch of overused, generic terms not so efficiently cloaked in hype and wrapped with a colored ribbon, and I don't really care if you've got the cure for my lifetime illness, I'm outta there!
It's simple, really. Just give me the facts, tell me what your product can do for me and give me the information so I can look up the details when I'm ready. I don't need "Pomp and Circumstance."
A similar marketing technique that borders on scam is to use flowery religious language in order to attempt to solicit business or donations. These usually begin: "Greetings in the holy name of our Lord and Father..." I think it comes off in bad taste when an ad appears to use
religion or God in order to make money. Somehow this appears to be more of a technique than a genuine motive. I think it also leaves a bad impression on the nonreligious as it makes all religious people appear self-serving.
What do you all think? What experiences have you had with companies who market using these techniques?
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