5 Tips to Steer Clear of Legal Issues in Marketing Claims

online marketing claims

Businesses that lead the pack in content marketing experience up to 7.8 times more traffic on websites than those that don’t. Understanding the legal ramifications of offline and online marketing claims –€” and knowing when to hold back or remain transparent –€” is one key to becoming an industry leader.

With honest, legal content marketing, you can drive high conversion rates. Here are five ways to stay on the right side of regulations in blog posts, product descriptions, and landing pages.

1. Realize that the Truth Shall Set You Free

Being honest in online marketing claims doesn’t just set you free. It keeps you free: free of scandal, negative branding and potential regulatory or legal woes. Great content marketing doesn’t disguise facts or attempt to deceive consumers. Instead, it shines a light on what differentiates your business from others with honest, relevant content that creates an online culture or engages audiences.

2. Understand Express and Implied Claims

The Federal Trade Commission requires that advertisers only make truthful claims in their marketing efforts, and that includes your online content. You can’t promise something that isn’t true, even if you think your guarantee is an obvious form of humor or exaggeration. This is true whether you make an implied or express claim.

An express claim states something directly: “This speaker provides the clearest audio available.”

An implied claim is something that has to be inferred: “This kitchen cleaner kills the germs that cause food poisoning.” Someone could reasonably infer that the kitchen cleaner helps prevent food poisoning.

Creative wording and fun copy lets you engage your audience, but businesses can’t sacrifice accurate statements for the sake of traffic.

3. Be Ready to Substantiate Offline & Online Marketing Claims

online marketing claims 1

Claims –€” express or inferred –€” aren’t completely prohibited by the FTC. True claims are allowed, and if your kitchen cleaner does help prevent food poisoning by killing germs, you can say so. When making offline or online marketing claims, ensure you have the backup to substantiate them. In the kitchen cleaner example, documented lab tests or studies supporting the claim are required.

It’s not enough to obtain documentation or proof after someone questions the claim. Instead, use tests, surveys and expert opinions you already have to create your marketing campaigns.

4. Walk a Careful Line when Marketing to Children

The FTC is especially strict in reviewing marketing materials targeted to children. If minors are a part of your target audience, take extreme care to ensure that you are transparent in a way that translates to younger readers and viewers. Showing only a picture of a toy being played with, for example, might give a young shopper the impression the toy comes assembled. Businesses must take even more precautions when advertising food to minors.

Marketing to children requires you to walk such a fine line, many experts recommend marketing to parents instead whenever possible.

 5. Consider Expert Guidance for Niche-Based Marketing Content

Marketing in niche industries, including health care products and services, environmental products, legal services and funeral services, has to follow specific requirements. The FTC and other federal and state agencies are quick to investigate marketing that claims a health or fitness benefit, for example. When crafting online adv content for niche organizations, work with experienced writing, editing and marketing teams to avoid crossing those lines.

Sarah Stasik

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Sarah is an experienced writer and copyeditor with a background in project management. She’s Six Sigma Black Belt certified and leverages her knowledge of statistical analysis, process improvement and content marketing to help clients engage audiences and increase conversions.

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