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Are marketing cliches undermining your website content?

Ah, marketing cliches. It’s easy to unknowingly use them in your website content. The trouble is, they can really weaken your marketing efforts. Here’s a look at: (1) Examples of marketing cliches. (2) Why it’s important to avoid cliches. (3) How to identify cliches for your industry.

The best place to identify “me too” messaging…

It may not sound very sexy, but checking out your competitors’ websites can be a great way to identify overused phrases in your industry.

When I conduct a competitive messaging audit for my clients, I ask myself:

  • What is the core message (or claim) that each competitor is making?
  • What are the proof points for each company’s claim?
  • What marketing phrases are these competitors using to talk about themselves?

Here’s the funny thing.

Even though my clients come from dramatically different industries, there is a clear pattern across industries.

In each industry, most companies say the exact same thing as the next company.

It’s copywriting déjà vu!

Examples of marketing cliches and overused phrases

Here are some examples I’ve recently discovered:

  • In the hospital physician group business, companies constantly talk about their “excellence in patient care” and “exceptional quality.” (It’s a miracle this country has a healthcare issue with all the excellence going on!)
  • In the wedding film business, filmmakers repeatedly describe themselves as “capturing love stories” through “high quality, cinematic films.”
  • In the custom home building industry, there are a number of builders who are in the business of “building the home of your dreams,” “making dreams come true,” “building life-long client relationships” and of course, “building excellence.”
Definition of cliche: A sentence or phrase that has become tired or commonplace through overuse.

Definition of cliche: A sentence or phrase that has become tired or commonplace through overuse.

What’s the big deal with using the same phrases as everyone else?

The short answer is, it can greatly hinder your efforts to convert your website visitors into leads.

When your website content looks, sounds and feels like every other company:

  • Your business becomes quickly forgettable. You get lost in the crowd.
  • You fail to engage your website visitors or give them a compelling reason to want to learn more about your company.
  • Your business is more likely to be perceived as a commodity, and you can get stuck competing on price.
  • You fail to create an emotional connection with potential customers.

And if your brand isn’t creating an emotional connection with people, you’re missing out. According to a 2011 retailer study on emotional engagement (conducted by Motista, a consumer intelligence company), emotionally-engaged customers are:

  • 4x more likely to shop the retailers who engage them.
  • 4x more likely to follow those retailers on social networks.
  • 50% more likely to recommend those retailers.

How to avoid cliches in your marketing content

In addition to doing your own reconnaissance on cliches, consider partnering with a messaging consultant and website writer. A messaging expert can help you:

  • Conduct competitive research – from website audits to customer interviews – to help you identify cliches and avoid “me too” messaging.
  • Take an objective look at your business. Most of us have a blind spot when it comes to our own company. We’re too close to our own story. It helps to have an objective third-party asking you questions and pushing you to think differently about your business.
  • Guide you away from messaging black holes, such as “customer service,” “excellence” and “quality.” Keep in mind, it’s not that service, excellence and quality aren’t important. It’s just that everyone says them. These ideas don’t make you stand out from your competition.

Parting questions to consider…

As you think about your own website content:

  • Do you know your industry’s cliches?
  • Do you know if you say the exact same thing as most of your competitors?
  • Are cliched marketing messages costing you new leads?

So what now?

For more on this topic, please check out my article: How to position your business to avoid competing on price.

Until next time!