Before signing on the dotted line (or clicking), consumers should first always read the fine print. But the reality is that doesn’t always happen. Skipping the fine print can result in “unexpected surprises” that leave them feeling like they’ve been ‘tricked,’ which doesn’t bode well for your brand.
Depending on the level of “surprise,” your consumers will be irritated or they might even walk away. So, what’s the solution? While you can’t force your consumers to read your fine print, you can make it easier for them to have no excuse not to. And by being careful with what you include in your fine print, consumers can’t blame your brand either.
Here are four best practices to adhere to when drafting your fine print.
1. Keep Terms and Conditions Concise
Requiring customers to accepting ‘Terms and Conditions’ before they can use a product is a great way to inform customers of everything they’re signing up for. Unfortunately most people simply check the box without reading them. Why? Because oftentimes the documents are just too long.
For example, Amazon Kindle’s terms and conditions takes nine hours to read! That’s an entire work day, including lunch break. That’s nine hours your consumers could be enjoying your product.
No one wants to sit down and read hours worth of terms. Don’t be that brand. If Fifty Shades of Grey’s Anastasia wouldn’t be down with those terms and conditions, your consumers won’t be either.
We get it. You’re trying to protect your brand from every possible outcome, and that’s not easy to boil down to a couple pages. However, it can be done. So, keep your terms short and sweet, and your customers might just read them.
2. Be Careful With Time Sensitive Info
Have you ever received a promotional email for a deal, only to click on the link and see a different price from the one in the email? Or maybe you make it all the way to checkout and your coupon doesn’t work? The problem: there’s time sensitive info in the fine print.
I frequently receive emails from Cheaptickets.com. Every time I click on one of their emails, I get a different price. It’s frustrating, and I automatically think, “Cheaptickets.com, pssh such a scam.”
Well, turns out it’s not a scam. I dug a little deeper to discover the fine print says, “Due to rapidly changing airline prices and seat availability, these fares may no longer be available.”
That’s a problem.
Time sensitive information shouldn’t be included in the fine print. You’re risking consumer trust. If prices are subject to change from the time you click on an email to the landing page, that information needs to appear in the body of the email, or somewhere prominent on the landing page. Otherwise your customers will think you’re trying to pull a bait and switch.
3. Give Customers the Ability to Opt-out
The recent online privacy bill smackdown has turned online privacy and data rights on their head. And while it may seem tempting to jump on board, keep your brand trust intact by continuing to offer consumers the opportunity to opt-out of promotional emails.
However, you don’t want to make it too easy to opt-out. So, why not include the “unsubscribe link” in the fine print?
Here’s an email I received from Bath & Body Works. In the fine print it says, “If you no longer wish to receive product offers and other marketing emails from BathandBodyWorks.com, or to update your frequency, please click here.”
Bath & Body has given me an out, without making it easy to get to. Brilliant.
4. Avoid Deceptive Labels
Remember the little girl we discussed in our last post? The one who choked on Gerber Lil’ Crunchies cheese puffs? When it comes to food, fine print is no joke. Consumers can choke or have allergies (especially to peanuts). Health is just not an area to mess around in.
Deceptive labels that make it hard to tell what’s fine print, will get you into trouble.
Related Post: 5 Digital Marketing Compliance Rules You Need to Know
Here’s an example of a deceiving medicine label. Can you find the fine print?
Although the box clearly says “Children’s Mucinex,” once you find the fine print, turns out it’s not for ages younger than four.
How many parents picked up this bottle only to get home and later see the “fine print,” which isn’t easy to spot. Pretty sure Mucinex had some unhappy parents.
By learning from other businesses’ mistakes and following these best practices, you’ll be in great condition. If you don’t, well, you’ll probably end up in marketing hell at some point. But don’t worry, we’ve got a plan for that, too.