What FTC Compliant Sales Copy Looks Like (and Why Your Business Needs It)
As a business owner selling products or services online, one of the major things you have to do to actually sell those offers is write persuasive copy.
It’s one of the most important parts of your marketing process and effective copy could be the thing that makes or breaks your sales.
With that in mind, it’s easy for business owners to get caught up in what looks sexy to their audience. They want to prove that their offer is THE thing to solve their problem.
So, they’ll craft copy that’s enticing enough for someone to click through and that click may or may not equate to a purchase.
As a business owner myself, I totally understand the need to have great sales copy in your business. The words that you use can truly power your business and be the thing that generates new leads and eventually new sales – all things we want as business owners, right?!
But what if I told you that your sales copy could actually be the thing that harms you and your business in the future if it’s not done legally? 😳
I know, I know… Amber the business police is back again with the legalities, but I promise I don’t do this just to rain on your parade.
I do this because I truly care about the longevity of your business and I want to make sure that you’re doing things RIGHT from the very beginning so that the legalities never come back to haunt you. 👻
Because what good is making sales now if you’re just going to have to pay the money back later?!
Sounds like a true Nightmare on Elm Street, am I right?
(As I’m writing this, it’s September, so you’ll have to excuse the Halloween references 🎃)
If you want to keep your hard earned money, it’s essential that you are writing FTC compliant sales copy and in this blog I’m going to share exactly how to do that!
If you’re in search of other ways to legally protect your sales funnel, CLICK HERE!
Why Your Business Needs FTC Compliant Sales Copy
First things first, let’s define that big scary word I keep using… what does FTC compliance even mean?! I’m glad you asked.
FTC stands for the Federal Trade Commission and it’s an extension of the government with the primary mission to protect consumers and promote competition in the marketplace to prevent anticompetitive, deceptive and unfair business practices.
Being FTC compliant in your business means that you adhere to all of the regulations and guidelines (there are a lot of them 😅) in everything that you do to ensure that your business remains ethical and lawful in your marketing and sales activities.
If your business fails to meet the FTC guidelines, you can face severe consequences, including legal fines, cease and desists, consumer restitution (meaning you have to pay people back 🥴) and can even be sued.
Basically not good things, okay?!
For this blog post specifically, I’m zooming into the importance of FTC compliant sales copy because THIS is where I see so many business owners going wrong and I don’t want you to make the same mistake.
Common FTC Compliant Mistakes in Marketing
When it comes to marketing, there are quite a few tactics and strategies out there that are frequently taught that actually go against FTC guidelines.
In fact, there’s a chance that YOU are currently using them in your own business without even realizing it.
Below you’ll find a list of common FTC compliant mistakes in marketing specifically, so you can audit your own copy and marketing to ensure you aren’t making them too:
- False Claims of Product Effectiveness
We’ve all seen testimonials or reviews online for a product or service and wondered if they were legit, right? If you’ve ever had to question it, it’s because your gut is telling you something and for good reason.
False or exaggerated claims are unfortunately very common and can make you skeptical.
For example, someone selling a weight loss supplement may claim the product results in rapid weight loss within a week without providing any scientific evidence to support the statement.
- Hidden Fees and Charges
You know that annoying feeling when you see a super great deal online and excitedly “add to cart” just to find out there’s actually way more fees associated with the sale than you were aware of?
Yeah, not cool. And NOT FTC compliant. Failing to disclose hidden fees, charges, or subscription terms clearly and conspicuously in the sales copy can mislead consumers about the true cost of a product or service and goes against the guidelines.
- Bait-and-Switch Tactics
Ah, the trusty bait and switch marketing strategy is not so trusty in the eyes of the FTC!
Advertising a product or service at a low price to attract customers, only to switch them to a more expensive option once they express interest, without clear disclosure of the change is not a game you want to be playing.
- False Scarcity
This one has become increasingly popular in the online marketing world and is actually something I see being taught all. the. time.
I’m sorry, but when did straight up lying become a marketing tactic?!
Creating a false sense of urgency or scarcity, such as claiming that there are only a few items left in stock or only a few spots left in your course, when that’s really not the case is not the move.
- Misleading Testimonials
Lastly, and yet another super common tactic, is displaying testimonials that aren’t real, have been fabricated or are completely misleading to your audience.
Doing so misrepresents the experiences or opinions of individuals who have not used the product or service being advertised and can lead to someone making a purchase based on false information.
Regardless of how common these may be, if you really want to protect yourself and your business, you want to avoid ALL of these.
So, here’s how you can do it. 👇🏼
How to Write FTC Compliant Sales Copy
When it comes to copywriting, you’re often taught to hook your reader in with headlines, speak to their pain points, paint a vision of their potential transformation and promise certain results so that they are inclined to buy.
This strategy certainly works and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with marketing this way… unless you’re doing it in a way that displays specific results-based claims that you can’t guarantee for EVERYONE.
This is where things get tricky!
For example, a common practice when writing sales copy is getting your audience hooked in with “How You Can…” or “How To…” and those statements are typically followed with something that your audience is desperately struggling with or really wants.
This could be a monetary result, weight loss, more leads, to reach their goals, etc. Whatever you specialize in could fill in the blank.
The only problem with this language is that what you’re saying typically can’t be guaranteed for every single person in your audience – and if it could, you wouldn’t have any problem making sales, right?
The fix for this is simple really:
Assuming you’re being honest and have actually done what you promise to teach, using “How I...” in your marketing is a safer bet than saying “How To...” because you can back up what you’re saying.
Instead of waiting for someone to say, “Your sales page made it sound like I could make $X after finishing your course, but I haven’t seen any ROI! I want my money back AND money for damages!”, you simply START with FTC compliant sales copy. 👏🏻
When you do this, instead of getting a fat “you’re being sued” email in your inbox, you simply include the proper disclaimers and protect yourself from the get-go.
Understanding how to legally protect yourself and your business is a must-have skill (especially in the online space), but I get it – if you’re not a lawyer, many legal things don’t make sense and it can be difficult to understand how to apply and enforce policies and disclaimers properly.
I’ve been in your shoes (no, seriously, while opening my first firm, I made some legal mistakes that cost me thousands) and it’s not because I was stupid (neither are you), but because business law is tricky – there are a lot of rules to follow and it can be hard to keep up.
Knowing this, when I created The Boutique Lawyer I set out to help people like you avoid the mistakes that I made by making sure you have easy access to everything you need to know AND made sure it was easy to understand!
That’s exactly why I created the free guide to Sell Without Getting Sued – because that’s ultimately what I want for you!
And if you’re in need of more resources to help you navigate the legal side of your business, you know I’ve got you covered: