A 4 Letter Word That Will Prevent FDA and FTC Attacks on Your Business

blogging copywriting Nov 20, 2020

Imagine if you had one little 4 letter word at your disposal that could keep you compliant with the law and prevent you from being attacked by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), or any other big brother agency.

When you’re writing sales copy - whether it’s an email, a sales letter, a blog post, or even a social media post - you’ve got to be careful.

One poorly worded claim and now the FDA is coming after you for giving medical advice or the FTC is knocking on your door for non-compliance with their many rules.

But there is a word that can change all that; a word that can keep you out of hot water most if not all the time…

And that word is “help”.

For example, instead of saying your product will…

  • Boost energy levels by infusing oxygen-rich blood into every part of your body
  • Double your sales and your profits while spending half as much on advertising
  • Put an end to foggy thinking while improving your memory and keeping you mentally sharp

You can say that your product will help them…

  • Boost energy levels by infusing oxygen-rich blood to every part of your body
  • Double your sales and your profits while spending half as much on advertising
  • Put an end to foggy thinking while improving your memory and keeping you mentally sharp

Exact same bullet points, but now you’re not claiming you WILL boost their energy, double their sales or end foggy thinking. Instead, you’re saying that your product will help them with these things.

Incidentally, if you happen to be in the health niche then I highly encourage you to check out this page to learn how to make health claims that won’t bring about the full anger and wrath of the FTC:

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/advertising-and-marketing/health-claims

A basic rule in the health market is that you can’t make disease claims. This means you’ll need to replace certain words with generally accepted euphemisms, like these:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease → Age-related memory decline
  • Arthritis → Joint stiffness
  • Cancer → Abnormal cell growth
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome → Constant low energy levels
  • Diabetes → Blood sugar imbalances
  • Heart attack → Heart problems
  • High blood pressure → Blood pressure imbalance
  • High cholesterol → Cholesterol problems
  • Osteoporosis → Bone loss/weak bones
  • Stroke → Brain attacks

Combine these with the word “help” and your copy can still be effective without getting you into trouble.

(Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer and while I hope this article is helpful, please don’t take it as 100% legal gospel. Consult your lawyer and remind her that you’ve got to strike the right balance between writing copy that converts and staying above the law.)

 

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