The Federal Trade Commission wants to help YOU boost your online sales!

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ftc-logo.gifOkay… Well, maybe the FTC doesn’t INTENTIONALLY want to help you sell more online.

But, if you follow a couple of their guidelines higher conversion rates should be a natural side effect.

Let me explain…

A document that all online merchants need to familiarize themselves with (or risk incurring the wrath of Uncle Sam) is the FTC’s “Dot Com Disclosures” publication.

Found here:

In this long and painfully boring document the FTC explains the “right way” to make claims and disclosures about your products or services.

I’ll do you a favor and sum up the parts that can actually HELP your sales efforts.

Two of the main points made are:

1. Advertising must be truthful and not misleading.

2. Advertisers must have (and show) evidence to back up their claims.

Following these two guidelines will not only help keep your tail out of legal trouble, but doing these two things well will actually INCREASE your sales.

The first one (tell the truth) is just commonsense. Unfortunately it doesn’t take much searching on the web to figure out that “commonsense” is pretty darn UNCOMMON when it comes to online marketing.

Beyond the obvious legal reasons to tell the truth, making false or misleading claims is one of the stupidest and most shortsighted things you can do in your marketing.

First of all… If you are marketing the right way, you know that the real money is in the “backend”. Wealth is developed by selling multiple products to your existing customers.

But if you’re not honest about the benefits of your products or you try and trick or mislead people into buying, you may get the first sale, but you don’t stand a snowballs chance of selling them anything else ever again.

Even if you only intend on selling visitors a “one shot” type product, your misleading practices and low quality products will eventually be exposed for the garbage that it is.

With the explosion in social bookmarking, blogs, forums and other online communities it’s simply becoming impossible to hide the truth about any false or misleading claims you make. You will be exposed and your sales will suffer. (And your reputation will be ruined permanently.)

Regardless of what some “gurus” claim, online buyers are NOT just a bunch of dumb sheep waiting to be sheared. Most people can instinctively tell if the copy they are reading is true and genuine. And as soon as they get a whiff of even a little dishonesty, you’ve just ruined any chance you had of building trust or credibility.

The second guideline is equally important.

Backup your claims with PROOF! Again you would think that this is commonsense, but so few online marketers present proof to backup their claims that it’s almost comical.

A few months ago I had a potential client approach me for a website evaluation. She was selling a weight loss product and her headline read, “Lose 30 Pounds in Only 7 Days!!!” (Yep… with the 3 exclamation points and all.)

Give me a break!

And of course she had absolutely NO proof whatsoever to backup her claims. No before and after pictures, no testimonials, not even a personal story of how SHE lost 30 pounds in 7 days… NOTHING!

I’ve seen SPAM with more credibility and believability than her sales letter.

The ironic thing is… Even if her system DID work (which I highly doubt) and she actually had some magic bullet system that would help you drop 30 pounds in 7 days, nobody would believe it or take her seriously without some significant PROOF.

An amazing thing happens when you backup all of your claims with solid, verifiable proof… Your sales soar!
Honesty is not only the best policy; it’s the most PROFITABLE policy.

So follow the FTC’s advice. Be honest in your copy and backup every claim with elements of proof and you will be well on your way to long term success.

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About the Author

Eric Graham is a serial entrepreneur, author, speaker, copywriter and consultant. Enter your name and email address below to get notified when new response boosting tips, tested conversion strategies, updates, articles and videos are posted.

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