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Advertising: Making bold claims? Beware of the FTC

So, your clients or students have doubled, even tripled their revenue since they’ve started working with you… and you want to use their results to promote your business?

It sounds like a great idea… but it may soon be against the law. Wait, what?

As Rob Freund shows in his recent post, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may start paying more attention to claims in the context of coaching and money-making.

What that means: Let’s say you’re promoting a client success story and say, “This client earned $100k in the last 30 days” with the help of your program.

The FTC will assume you’re saying that “every client is expected to earn $100k in the next 30 days.”

Basically, it will treat that claim as a representation of what your average client is expected to make. And without the data to support it, your ad will be flagged as misleading.

What you shouldn’t do: Using general disclaimers to say results aren’t guaranteed, or that your testimonials come from un-average clients, just won’t cut it.

What you can do: Don’t worry, you have a couple options. You can:

  • Find your ideal average result and promote it so you can back up your claim, or
  • Offer clear disclosure of what your average result is – so no waffling.

If you go for the second option, you may still be able to promote your best clients while managing expectations. Sure, it might decrease your conversion rate a bit, but it will keep you “legit.”

It might even help to filter out “fake gurus” and other unlawful competition.

So the change could be healthy for the industry. Who would’ve guessed?

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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