Apple seems to have no problem with creating a positive buzz for product releases. However, the iPhone 4S recently debuted and was promptly met with a less-than-enthusiastic reception. In fact, Apple stock dipped temporarily due to the failure to wow consumers with this new device.

The problem was that the majority of people were expecting something grand, amazing and revolutionary. Instead, they saw changes that seemed minor, at best.

Small businesses are also susceptible to letting down customers. These let-downs are usually a function of over-hyping, overstating and going overboard. Small businesses engage in this kind of behavior because they are desperate to grab the attention of potential customers. However, if your shoppers are constantly being exposed to the old bait-and-switch, you’ll soon discover that they are no longer willing to take the “bait." As a result, you’ll find yourself spending more and more money on marketing with fewer returns.

Are you guilty of being a big let-down? Take a look at the following points and make an honest assessment of how you market your business:

Over-Hyped Sales Events
Oh, you’ve heard them – "The biggest sale in this quadrant of the universe!" Don’t be that kind of marketer unless you can back it up. More specifically, stay away from superlatives unless they are based in truth.  Examples are: the best offer, biggest discount, lowest price, craziest sale, zaniest deals and so on. There’s nothing wrong with using superlatives, however it is important that they are not a mere smokescreen for an average sale or event.

Faux Walls
"This offer is only good for the next five-minutes." If you’re constantly throwing around deadlines, your audience will quickly wise up to the fact that you’re a paper tiger – your “limited time” offers don’t mean much if they’re happening every week. I missed your deadline, so what? There will be a new one in a few days. The point is you can undermine the very sense of urgency that you are trying to generate.

Coupon Catastrophe
Avoid lackluster coupons offers. For example, coupons filled with exceptions for the deal, coupons that require a purchase of several items, senseless coupons (like, $20 off on purchases greater than $10,000), coupons that aren’t really needed at the register (well, what was the point of clipping it?).

The Dud Sale
How many times have you seen a company launch a huge sale on a product that no one wants? It’s incredibly unappealing and serves no real purpose for the group of people who are not in the market for that particular item. The point is, be sure that your sales items are things that your customer base can get excited about. After all, when’s the last time you heard about an Amazing One-Time-Only Toothpick Sale from your grocer? Exactly.

When you steer clear of letting your customers down, you begin to do something very interesting – you build trust. Once you have it, your communications and marketing will go much further.

Walter Dailey provides leadership for Dailey Sound Vector – a creative services firm that specializes in small business marketing, radio ads, jingles, and marketing advice for small to midsized businesses. Ask Walter your questions at walter@dsvmedia.com