When it comes to writing your Web site content, print ads, brochures, etc., are you keeping in line with what your competitors are saying…or are you standing out from the crowd?

Many people use the same overused (and meaningless) words and phrases that everyone else uses. These include (and there are many more):

• Lowest price
• Best service
• Highest quality
• Most professional
• Largest selection
Family owned
• Most reliable
• In business for 50 years

Take note: these are platitudes and you can switch your competitor’s name for your company name and the message would still make sense – at least from your prospect’s perspective. There is no defining message on why they should buy from you!

What makes your business stand out from the crowd? If you believe you offer the best service in town, what makes this so? What is it that you do that gives your clients the experience of the best service?

Too many businesses are marketing on platitudes; therefore, there is no discernable difference. So, I want to share the 3 sure-fire tests you can easily use to evaluate whether or not your messages cut through the clutter of your competition.

But first, open your favourite trade magazine and look at your competitors’ ads. Read the content on their Web site’s home page. Take note of the words and phrases they use (and the ones you use) and then put them to the test.

Test #1: Well I would hope so!

Read the claims that are made in various ads. Here are a few I found in one advertisement for a local roofing company:

• We have installed hundreds of roofs.
• Our installers are expertly trained.
• We take all the necessary precautions when working on your property.
• We only work with the finest materials available.

It’s actually funny when you read these platitudes on their own; after each statement, you can easily say, “Well, I would hope so.” Give your prospects something fresh – something interesting.

Test #2: Who else can say that?

Notice I said “who else can ‘say’ that” and not “who else ‘does’ that.” Many business owners copy ads from competitors, virtually saying the same thing as everyone else. It doesn’t mean they actually follow through. This is where you want to be so specific, no one else can say exactly the same thing. If you have a unique process, give it a name and talk about it.

Test #3: Cross out/Write in test.

Look at your advertisement, your Web site, or any other marketing piece you’ve recently sent to prospects. What happens if you cross out your name and logo at the top and write in your competitor’s name? Does it still make sense?

Here’s an ad I recently found (honestly, I did not make this up). I only removed the name of the company…

Service is our Specialty! 
Our depth of product lines, in-stock availability, competitive pricing, and unique services provide you with an unbeatable package. Everything we do has the emphasis on Customer Service and Customer Satisfaction. That's why we say — "SERVICE IS OUR SPECIALTY!"

Not only could you include your competitors name on this ad, you could include any type of industry – it says absolutely nothing. What’s worse, this was taken from the home page of their Web site – so readers will leave without knowing what they offer.

So before you send out another marketing piece, use these tests…and see the changes in your results.

Author's Bio: 

Referred to as a "Magnetic Marketing & Mindset Master," Susan Regier is an in demand marketing content writer, speaker, and "tell-it-like-it-is" coach/mentor to serious entrepreneurs who want to up-level their businesses. She has the uncanny ability to find the hidden gems in a business that ignites sales and profits for her clients. Susan is the publisher of Networking Today, Canada’s online resource to connect professionals, build relationships, and grow businesses.