The essence of effective online copywriting is capturing users’ interest and engaging them in your narrative. It doesn’t matter whether your story is a 270-character Google search ad, a 400-word copy block on a product description page (PDP), or a 1,500-word blog post: It must be compelling and relatable; otherwise the user will click away, turning their attention to something else.
But if you’re an online marketer, you’re not just creating a story for the fun of it; you’re trying to message users that your company/brand/product is easiest, fastest, safest, etc.—some variation on the theme that it’s the best…except you can’t just come out and say that directly: Most people wouldn’t believe you. Or would they?
Sometimes, bragging or exaggeration, also known as hyperbole, can work for promotional purposes. The history of advertising includes plenty of examples like these:
- Dos Equis® beer: TV commercials featuring a character dubbed “The Most Interesting Man in the World”
- Kellogg’s® Nutri-Grain® bars: “I Feel Great” TV commercial
- Lay’s® Potato Chips: “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One” campaigns
Those examples are multi-million-dollar, multimedia ad campaigns which leverage hyperbolic humor to capture consumers’ attention and differentiate their brand/products. It’s much harder—and riskier—to use hyperbole effectively in everyday marketing copy:
- Exaggerated claims without objective evidence can sound like false advertising, turning potential customers away—forever.
- The old adage, “no one likes a braggart” still holds true. Bragging is an alienating, not relatable tactic.
- Managing customer expectations is a key element in successful product marketing, particularly in this age of social media and public online reviews. You don’t want to overstate your product’s capabilities and risk customers’ disappointment and anger when it doesn’t measure up to the hype.
So, our recommendation is to avoid hyperbole in marketing copy. Instead, use straightforward language in your product descriptions, blog posts, or ads, that demonstrates your brand/product’s quality and reliability:
- Describe product benefits as well as features so users understand how the product solves a problem. Depending on your product line, case studies can make your claims more credible.
- Establish your brand’s trustworthiness by referencing how long the company has been in business; the quantities of products sold; and how happy other customers are as shown in your online reviews. (Yes, in this day and age, ecomm retailers must display online reviews).
- Use humor to capture users’ attention, but stick to the facts: Users demand substance, not time-wasting fluff.
- Webpages featuring high-quality content benefit from potentially higher Google rankings than those that don’t. This is a relatively easy way to try to elevate your product/brand’s online visibility.
Obviously, the internet provides a great opportunity to showcase your brand and products without the level of investment traditional advertising requires. But the competition for eyeballs and engagement is intense, and misinformation and hyperbole abound. Distinguish your brand and products by rising above the chaff through high-quality, honest, and authoritative marketing copy.