They're too chicken to lift the lid on what's really going on in their industry.. all the ways customers get it wrong.. and the tricks and traps that lay in wait.
That's a pity.
If you do it right, it can be some of your strongest content.
What's so good about it?
Here's your big chance to explain the problem and be the solution.
Business owners worry that discussing what can go wrong will only give customers reasons not to buy. Beware: through this door lies madness.
It was a dentist client who gave me the clearest view of what's wrong with this mindset.
He loved my draft, with one concern:
“I am not sure you should mention anything about pain or discomfort. If we don't talk about it, they're less likely to think about it.”
Ponder that one.
Most of us have been to the dentist before. We know what it's like in the chair with the bright lights, whirring drills and huge needles attacking your face. We also know what it's like to feel uneasy about a looming appointment.
Now think: was it really the dentist's marketing that made you feel this way? Would it have really made you feel better if the dentist didn't acknowledge your unease?
Yes, this is an extreme example. But it's amazing how easily the web lets you indulge this kind of fantasy.
Because selling in person means customers tell you their concerns and objections.
But on a website, if you don't anticipate objections, they don't email you about it. They just close the tab.
Now think: why is anyone even on your website and reading the feature content? Chances are, they're researching a purchasing decision. This is a headspace where they're already wondering how to make the right choice.
It makes perfect sense to speak to this. This is the Collier Principle in action: “Always enter the conversation already occuring in the prospect's mind.”
Does anyone in your industry make tricky promises or use weasel words?
There's usually a few sharp operators who are just a bit too clever about how they describe things. It's not that they're lying..
well, not exactly..
..but their words don't actually mean what wet-behind-the-ears customers understand them to mean.
You can save your customers a lot of pain by explaining what's really going on. See how I did it with my piece on page 1 ranking guarantees.
Another way customers get stung is by poor quality products built from shoddy materials, or with methods that cut too many corners.
If you sold furniture, a guide to what makes a quality item will help differentiate your products from the cheapest stuff out there.
It's not only physical products that have these problems. The “gig economy” and websites like Fiverr and Upwork mean that for bottom dollar, you can get a bad job done of just about anything.
Ever wonder why you'd spend more than five bucks on a logo? This graphic design firm is happy to explain.
Most of us, most of the time can't run a successful business by being the cheapest outfit there is. So it makes sense to explain to people what they're getting for their money.
It's nothing new on the internet to use an air of scandal to drive clicks. Why do people do it? Because it works.
And like anything that works, it gets wildly abused.
At worst, you see web pages titled “Is XYZ Product a Scam?” that begin by asking some very pointed questions about XYZ Product, only to reveal later that XYZ Product isn't a scam, in fact it's a brilliant purchase for so many reasons, oh and by the way here's an affiliate link that pays the website owner a commission if use it to buy stuff.
Don't be that guy.
And don't be the guy who slags every competitor regardless of the honesty of their marketing and the quality of their work.
Give genuinely useful advice. Save your readers some real pain. Bring real experience to the piece.
You're in this for the long haul. It's about building relationships.
Do you need any help with this stuff?