One of the big problems I see in advertising today, particularly on the Internet, is the believability factor. When I see an advertisement, email, or sales letter that sounds too good to be true, I instantly ignore it. There is so much snake oil being sold in the world today, especially on the Internet, that when I see big claims made for anything, I ignore them as being junk.

For example, today I received an email with the subject line saying, “How to double your business.” My instant response was, “yeah sure, BS” and I hit the delete key. Then I received another email with the subject line saying, “FREE CHEAT SHEET: My 10 Most Important Business Insights This Decade.” My response was, “yeah right, if you are such a business genius, why are you sending out spam emails like this instead of having a cover story done on you in the Wall Street Journal?” Delete.

Many marketers seem to think that for their advertising to get a person’s attention, they have to make huge claims about their product/service being the best thing since the invention of the automobile and that it will change the world. The problem with that type of marketing is, NOBODY BELIEVES YOU! People are becoming so desensitized to big claims that they ignore them.

So, as a marketer what do you do? How do you mark your marketing and advertising more believable?

Well, first of all, stop saying what you have is the best the world has ever seen. It’s not. And even if it was, people would not believe you. Every company says what they are selling is the best, so there is no believability any more. It is just corporate hype and goes in one ear and out the other.

The second thing you can do is tone it down a bit. Saying you can increase a company’s manufacturing output by 6% over 10 months is far more believable than saying you will increase a company’s manufacturing output by 50% in a week. The first claim sounds like it could possibly be true. The second claim sounds too good to be true, so it will in all likelihood be ignored.

Do not use whole numbers. An increase in profits of 6.2% sounds far more believable than 10%, 15% or 20%.

Another marketing tactic you can use is to include testimonials where your customers state how your product or service helped them. For example, “I bought the XYZ Widget from ABC Company and now my zipzopadoodler is not breaking down anymore and it is producing 3.8% more zibblyboos each month. Thank you ABC Company for making a great product I can rely on. Joe Doe, COO, Zibblyboo, Inc.”

And finally, use brief case studies that prove quantitatively how your product or service has helped a customer. It does not have to be long; 3-4 paragraphs is fine. The key is that your case study is believable and not over-hyped so your prospects can put themselves in the shoes of your clients and say, “I have that same problem and it sounds like this product/service is exactly what I need.”