How to write to sell without hype.

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First of all, what is hype?

Hype is the exaggeration of a claim.  Making something seem better, bigger or more than it actually is.

We’ve all come across direct response letters and ads and internet pages that make dramatic claims to entice people to buy.  You know the kind of thing I’m talking about, the  “Get rich in 30 days without doing any work”, “Look like a supermodel in 1 week” – that type of thing.

In most cases, the claims are so outrageous that they have to be followed by a disclaimer that says “these results are not typical and are in no way an indication of what you will experience if you buy / use this product.”

Huh.  So why is the claim there then?

So how can you capture your target market’s attention without using hype?

You can write powerful, effective sales material by assessing your product or service to find out where it does excel, where it does deliver above ordinary results.  If you are able to quantify those results (and back them up with proof) you are then able to make specific claims.

For instance, let’s take the Domino’s Pizza history as an example.

When Domino’s wanted to set themselves apart in the fast food industry, they looked for something they could do better than anyone else.  At this time, their pizza’s weren’t the greatest on the market and they really didn’t have a heck of a lot in terms of ‘results’ that they could draw on.

They realized that most people order pizza when they are:

  1. really hungry
  2. in a hurry

Their solution was to ensure that when someone ordered from Domino’s, the pizza was delivered as quickly as possible.  They were good at this and it made sense to advertise the fact.  What they did was use a claim backed by a guarantee – a really good combination for any writer to use.

Their claim was “Fresh, hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free.”

Simple. Specific. Dramatic. Absolutely true and provable.

They didn’t promise the ‘best’ pizza, or even the ‘best’ service.  They didn’t even promise the ‘freshest’.  They simply said it would be fresh, hot and delivered within a specific time period. Then they delivered on their promise.

Sometimes your product or service is so amazing that the results, though verifiable, appear ‘too good to be true’.

What do you do when your product or service really does blow away the competition?

Sometimes a really great claim can shoot you in the foot by seeming to be a blatant exaggeration.  For instance, if I were to tell you that my writing and marketing strategies have caused some businesses to double their sales, you’d probably wonder how that could possibly be true (and it is, by the way!).

That’s why on one of my sites I simply claim to help businesses increase their bottom line by 10% – 25%.  A business owner reading that can imagine increasing their bottom line by that much in a few months to a year.  Doubling their sales takes a lot more effort to believe.  If the reader found my claim of doubling sales hard to believe, they essentially doubt my credibility in everything.

If you’re having some trouble coming up with a strong enough claim or making sure your claim doesn’t sound too good to be true, I invite you to use me as a sounding board.  Besides writing and marketing consulting, I offer editorial and critiquing services for those who prefer to write their own material.

Email me at for more details on this.

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