Case Study: Income Claims (Digital Marketer)

fail-stampThis is an example of a sales page that would FAIL to comply with item 3 in the EMG’s Code of Practice (at the time of writing — the COP is likely to change over time).

3. Income or Performance Claims

  • If we make any revenue/income claims (which include naming a product “The Six-Figure Formula” etc.), those earnings must be realistically achievable by the average buyer.
  • If any other investment, assets, tools, skills, time, or work may be required to get the claimed benefits, we will make these explicit to every prospect prior to purchase.
  • If there is any doubt, a disclaimer will be clearly displayed immediately adjacent to the claim, and before the action (sign-up or purchase etc.).

The page in question is a squeeze page for Digital Marketer’s “Follow-Up Machine” system. A screenshot of the full page is shown below.

followupmachine-com-big-results-small-list

Click image to view full size (Nov 29, 2015)

Why Does the Page Not Comply?

1. Misleading Claim

First, the page promises the following benefit (above the fold):

ryan-deiss-digital-marketer-follow-up-machine-eg

The relevant text here is, “guaranteesmore sales…” which constitutes an income or performance claim, i.e. “If you use this technique, you WILL make more sales (therefore profit, therefore money).

The use of the word “guarantees” implies that EVERY buyer who applies the method will see these benefits.

2. Disclaimer Reverses the Claim

There is a full disclaimer at the bottom of the page, which reads:

IMPORTANT: We can not and do not make any guarantees about your ability to get results or earn any money with our ideas, information, tools, or strategies. What we can guarantee is your satisfaction with our training. We give you a 60-day 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if you are not happy for any reason with the quality of our training, just ask for your money back. You should know that all products and services by our company are for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on this page, any of our websites, or any of our content or curriculum is a promise or guarantee of results or future earnings, and we do not offer any legal, medical, tax or other professional advice. Any financial numbers referenced here, or on any of our sites, are illustrative of concepts only and should not be considered average earnings, exact earnings, or promises for actual or future performance. Use caution and always consult your accountant, lawyer or professional advisor before acting on this or any information related to a lifestyle change or your business or finances. You alone are responsible and accountable for your decisions, actions and results in life, and by your registration here you agree not to attempt to hold us liable for your decisions, actions or results, at any time, under any circumstance.

ryan-deiss-digital-marketer-follow-up-machine-disclaimer

Click to view full-size screenshot of disclaimer (Nov 29, 2015)

While it is great to see such a comprehensive disclaimer, and Digital Marketer should be applauded for publishing it, this clearly nullifies the promise made at the top of the page.

The problem here is that, above the fold, the prospect is given a cast-iron performance guarantee, and the chance to opt in. Then, below the fold, that guarantee is removed in the “small print” (which is not small, another point in DM’s favour).

How Could The Page Be Made Compliant?

  1. Any promise that the benefits of “higher opens”, “higher click”, and “higher sales” would have to be removed, because it is impossible to make a blanket promise of that sort that will apply to every situation.
  2. Any hint at a performance claim should include at least an asterisk reference that points the visitor to the disclaimer.
  3. The disclaimer should be displayed in full higher up the page than the sign-up mechanism, to give the visitor the maximum opportunity to read it before accepting the offer.
  4. Ideally, the prospect should confirm that they have read and accept the terms set out in the disclaimer, as a requirement for opting in.
  5. For maximum readability, each sentence in the disclaimer should be in a separate paragraph (or no more than two sentences per paragraph).

 

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