9 Words That Will Destroy Your Unique Value

Photo by Tina Hand @ Unsplash

You have a service business. You’re no great copywriter, but you’re pretty happy with what you’ve put on your website.

If you’ve used any of these nine words in your message, you might as well delete your website. These words not only won’t work. They will actually work against you.

First, here are the words:

Reliable, quality, expert, professional, believe, integrity, honesty, trust, any.

I know what you’re thinking. What’s that “any” doing there? We’ll get to that.

But first, what’s wrong with saying you’re reliable?

First, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s an assertion; not a proof. Would you trust me because I tell you I’m reliable? What about if you read it on my website?


This search doesn’t rank highly


Do you really think people look out for words like “reliable” and think to themselves: “Great! I’m going to avoid those websites that say they’re unreliable”? Of course not!

Same goes for quality, expert, professional.

4 down. 5 to go. Let’s bundle the next 4 together, because they’re all equally unimaginative:

“Believe.” “Integrity.” “Honesty.” “Trust.”

Blah, blah, blah.

Don’t tell me that you believe in customer service. Once again, is there a service company in the world that says they don’t? Let me speak to them, because at least they have a sense of humour.

So, what do you do instead?

Tell a story. Tell the story of a real client who had a real problem. Tell the story of your staff member who drove across town to return a wallet. Or how you refused to work with ACME Building Co because of their refusal to give the CMO a day off to go to her mother’s funeral. (This is a slight exaggeration of a story, but only just).

Instead of affirmations, tell stories.

So, what’s wrong with the word “any”?

Everything. Or, rather, everyone. Everyone is not your market. It’s not anyone’s market. So, if you tell the world: “I can really help anyone”, then even if it’s true, you’ve effectively destroyed your marketing message.

Because “anyone” isn’t anyone. Nobody is going to answer to that name. It’s not going to trigger an I-know-exactly-who-needs-to-talk-to-you moment.

And although the word “anyone” is different from the problem with reliable/quality/expert/professional/believe/integrity/honesty/trust, it still comes back to the same problem: vagueness. A lack of identity. Nothing concrete.

Don’t blah, blah, blah in your marketing message. It doesn’t speak to anyone.