8 Surefire Ways to Set Off Your Customer’s BS Detector


Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Marketing mistakes that make your customers call bull.

It happens to the best of us. At some point or another, we all get taken in by misleading marketing. Maybe it’s the “lowest price” that gets discounted even deeper after we buy. Or the novelty product that falls apart right out of the box. Or, in one of the worst scenarios, the good-faith investment in what turns out to be a pyramid scheme.

It’s precisely because dishonest marketing exists that consumers develop a kind of sixth-sense – a Male Bovine Fecal Matter Detector – to sniff out the liars and the cheats.

Certain marketing blunders are almost guaranteed to set off the ol’ bull-detector and honest brands risk their reputation by engaging in them. Could your content be turning up prospects’ noses?

Here are 8 marketing mistakes that cause potential customers to call, “bull!” (And what to do instead.)

Poor Spelling and Grammar

Nothing screams, “I’m not a professional, don’t trust me” like content filled with spelling and grammar mistakes. Especially when the solution is so simple: have a proofreader go over your content before you publish.

Product or Brand Hype

Shouting, “We’re number 1!” like a rabid sports fan will only get you so far. After a certain point, people expect you to back it up. Lend credibility to your claims by citing impartial data, case studies, awards, and testimonials.

Outrageous Claims

Anyone who’s been around the block more than once is going to be suspicious of a miracle product or outsized discount. Rather than going overboard making your offer sound AMAZING, focus on promoting your product’s genuine value proposition.


A lack of specifics – especially in long-form content – can leave readers questioning if you really know what you’re talking about. Demonstrate your expertise with details such as examples, research, statistics, and quotes from trusted sources.


When your content is copied from someone else’s it not only makes you look bad, it opens you up to copyright lawsuits. If for some reason you can’t generate original ideas of your own, hire creative talent to do it for you.

Shared Domains

Promotions coming from an @gmail.com email address look suspicious. Websites hosted on Blogger.com (or some other shared platform) lack professionalism. If you want to be taken seriously, register your domain, put up a website, and use a branded email address.


Eye-catching headlines and images are important, but headlines and graphics that don’t match the underlying content undermine your credibility. Make sure the thumbnail and headline people see are representative of what they’ll get when they click.


Spamming people signals a lack of respect for your audience. This includes mass emailing prospects without permission, posting irrelevant content on message boards, and sharing nothing but advertisements on social media. Avoid getting labeled a spammer by taking time to develop marketing strategies tailored to the individual sales channels you’re using.

You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

I’m not going to pretend cheaters never prosper or unscrupulous marketing never works. But unless you are trying to fool people, why borrow marketing tactics from scam artists? Take steps to differentiate yourself from the BS-ers by developing marketing materials that build a relationship of trust between you and your customers.



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