Business marketing

Stop putting lipstick on your business. Try this instead

- November 14, 2016 2 MIN READ

It’s natural for a business to put their best foot forward when marketing.

But something happens whenever we try to impress, we can’t help but exaggerate a little. In adding a layer of gloss to what we’re saying about ourselves – trying sound a little more established or more experienced than we actually are – we’re glossing over some of the truths of our business.

This common practice of misleading advertising can cripple your marketing results.

Why ‘putting lipstick on your business’ won’t impress the way you think it will

When we’re trying to get someone to choose us over another company, it’s natural to try and make ourselves sound more impressive than that company.

And while, sure, our customers do want to be impressed, they value being able to trust much more highly. After all, those customers are trying to determine whether they can both hand their credit card over to you and in return, receive what they’ve paid for.

Every time you bullsh#t a little to try and sound more impressive, you lose a point in trustworthiness. You quickly paint a picture of a company who is not 100% up-front.

Not fair dinkum.

Not transparent.

Not trustworthy.

And, as soon as trust is compromised, the return from every single marketing activity you do is compromised too.

How to fix marketing riddled with ‘lipstick’

Australian customers have a very sensitive BS meter that will be triggered over and over unless we remove the two hallmarks of untrustworthiness from your marketing – vague statements and unsupported claims.

Your website is a good place to start because it’s the place where your customers make their first big decision (to contact you). You can then fix up your ads, social media posts, and other marketing channels to ooze authenticity across the board.

Go to your website now and find the spots where you’ve fudged a little, (a slight exaggeration or embellishment for example). Highlight all of those statements or claims and treat them as follows:

  1. Make vague statements more specific.

    • Quality? In what way?
    • The Best? In what way?
    • Experienced? How much?
    • Many clients? How many?
  2. Support all of your claims with proof.

    • Best craftsmanship? Prove it.
    • Fastest? Prove it/document it.
    • Comprehensive? Document the extra steps you take.

Once your claims are more specific, they are easier to prove with photos, screenshots, awards, reviews, and testimonials.

The result

In a competitive market your rivals are paying similar ad costs and selling similar services, so how can you gain an advantage? By seeing something they don’t.

If you can resist the urge to dress things up; if you keep every claim grounded, specific, and paired with evidence, you’ll have an advantage in all marketing channels. It’s a long-term strategic advantage, because as long as your competitors continue to use misleading advertising, they’ll also continue to score low on the one criteria that matters.

Have you ever exaggerated, embellished or been deliberately vague to gloss over the absolute truth?