In business writing, it’s common to only talk about our strengths – the positive aspects of what we offer. But there are two excellent reasons why you should also promote your weaknesses, rather than hide them:
1. it builds trust
2. it immediately distinguishes you from your competition.
There’s a saying: ‘Tell me what you can’t do, and I’ll believe you when you tell me what you can do.’
Remember this famous tagline?
“It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.”
If you say those words to almost any Australian they’ll know it’s from those Pantene ads.
Most of us are sceptical of overnight cures for lifeless hair. So why not just tell us what we already know and believe? That way, we’ll accept other statements of yours as true.
Here’s another tagline I heard recently. It’s for pap smears:
“It’s a little bit awkward for a lot of peace of mind.”
Every woman knows that on the awkward scale, pap smears are up there with having a root canal.
By admitting this fact, I now trust you when you tell me the pap smear is still worth it.
And here’s another famous tagline. This time from a US cough syrup brand called Buckleys:
“It tastes awful, and it works.”
That’s what I call product differentiation.
Imagine you’re in the pharmacy. You have a dreadful cough that you’re desperate to get rid of. Wouldn’t you reach for the Buckley’s brand with confidence? I would.
So what ‘weaknesses’ do I promote about my services? Here are two.
1. I work from home. I don’t have an office or flashy Melbourne CBD address. But for you, this also means I am flexible, focused and responsive. And low overheads allow me to keep my prices competitive.
2. It’s just me: I know several freelancers who imply they are part of large team (with a ‘virtual’ city address). But I choose to admit ‘it’s just me’. And hopefully, you will then believe me when I tell you that every piece of writing that goes out the door is of a consistently high standard.
What weakness can you admit about your business or product? Although you may not be undertaking a national advertising campaign, you could apply this strategy to your website content and other marketing materials.
Promote your weaknesses and you will open the door for a trusting relationship with your customers.
About the author: Vikki Maver
With over 10 years’ experience as a freelance copywriter, Vikki is also a respected marketer, writing skills trainer and former university lecturer.
Vikki knows how to use words with impact. And she knows how to captivate and engage audiences in our cluttered world. Her professional background gives her the ability to immerse herself in the marketing needs of her clients – and the mindset of almost any target audience.
Many high profile brands have turned to Vikki for her copywriting expertise – including ANZ, Melbourne Business School, Kmart, Monash University, Lend Lease, Spotless and Crown Casino. She is also a regular writing skills trainer for City of Greater Geelong, Barwon Water, Deakin University and more.
Vikki has a bubbly and engaging presentation style with a passion for writing that’s truly inspiring.
Join me on refreshmarketing.com.au
This is a good article with a fresh perspective. I’m not sure working from home or being only one is actually a weakness. Maybe not doing social media would be a weakness. But it’s a good way to turn weaknesses into strengths.
Good points Vicki, Although my clients know it’s just me and that I work from home, it never occurred to me to advertise the fact.
I do remember using something similar when marketing homes. For instance: The road is terrible, but the beauty of the property is worth the drive.”
A thoroughly interesting and inspiring article. As someone with little copywriting experience trying to break ino the field, would it be smart to sell “no agency experience” weakness?
“Talent, fresh perspective, and will work twice as hard to prove herself?”
Thank you for your insight
Great points. But it helps when the product actually does what it claims to. I’ve tried Buckley’s and am here to tell you that it knocked my cold out super-quick. Had it failed to deliver AND tasted horrible, I’d avoid it like the plague, and so would others.
Thanks for the great read!
Good article. We also used to have that Pantene commercial in the States as well.