We are subjected to a never ending stream of liars these days. Pete Rose conveniently ended his fourteen year running lie to cash in on a new book—and maybe a trip to the Hall of Fame. Connecticut’s governor, John Rowland , was recently caught lying about gifts he received in the form of cottager fixer-upper work. And of course, don’t forget the Lottery Liar.

With every corporate scandal, every busted politician or backtracking sports hero, we all grow a bit more skeptical of what anybody has to say. And skepticism is bad for the ad business—and marketing in general. Skepticism makes it harder to convince prospects that your marketing is being honest with its claims.

Marketing Expert

What can you do?

1. Easy on the hype. I must disclose that I have a hype bias—I hate it. The more hype you use, the more skeptical your prospect becomes. Instead, be compelling with reader-centered copy that focuses on what your product or service will do for the prospect. Leave out the buzzwords and exaggerated claims.

2. Use customer evidence. Let a third party tell the story. Case studies and testimonials are critical in building a convincing marketing message. Customer evidence lessens the risk a prospect feels in doing business with you, because they can see that others have had a good experience. Customer evidence is a critical part of your messaging mix—use it liberally!

Using these methods will make your marketing more credible. And that’s no lie.

It’s Not About You. It’s About “You”.

I am a tireless proponent of reader-centered copy. Due mostly to human nature, many ads, brochures and other marketing communications speak mostly about the advertiser (or the advertiser’s product or service) , rather than what the product or service will do for the reader.

Here’s an easy way to help keep copy reader-centric. Put “you” or “your” into the headline. Doing so will help attract attention (everyone’s favorite topic is themselves) and it will help steer the rest of the copy where it should go: into the benefits of the product or service to the reader.