It’s a standard marketing technique, heard round the world: Always under-promise and over-deliver. But what does it really mean? And more important, does it really work?
What does it mean to Under-promise and Over-deliver?
It’s a pretty basic concept, really. You make a commitment to your client that you’re going to deliver XYZ and you give them XYZ and ABC, too. But here’s how it works in the blogosphere:
Your post titles are your promise. You’re telling your reader “If you visit my blog I’m going to tell you Why You Should Always Under-promise and Over-deliver.”
Now, that’s actually a very small promise, an “Under” promise, so to speak. But it’s a commitment that you can easily keep. It’s also something your readers really want to know so you know they’ll come flocking to your blog to take you up on your promise.
Your blog post – your explanation of “Why You Should Always Under-promise and Over-deliver” is your product, it’s what people expect to see when they arrive at your blog. And as long as you tell them why, they’re going to leave happy.
However, if you Over-deliver and tell them more than the “Why”, if you also tell them “How” then you’re giving them more than what they expected. And it’s like going through the drive-thru and getting a free chocolate milkshake to go with your burger and fries. “I didn’t expect it. What a surprise! I’m coming back tomorrow!”
Does it really work?
Under-promising and Over-delivering always works – to your reader’s benefit. However, if you’re not careful, it can backfire on YOU.
Of course, your readers always love getting more than they bargained for, who wouldn’t? But if you promise too much to start with then it might not be possible for you to over-deliver. In fact, you might not be able to live up to your end of the bargain at all.
For example, if the title of my blog post is “How to make money on the Internet” then I’m promising you that if you read that post you’re going to learn how to make money on the Internet. You and I both know I could blog about this for the next 20 years and still never completely cover everything you need to know.
There’s no way I can over-deliver on that promise, let alone even meet my readers’ expectations. I’d be setting myself up for failure and worse, I’d be disappointing my readers. I’d look like a hack, or a spammer or, worse yet, an idiot.
You know that old saying – “Be careful what you ask for for you may surely get it?” Well, in the blogging world, it’s “Be careful what you promise, because your readers expect you to over-deliver.”
If you’re not over-delivering your competition is, because it’s just a basic marketing technique that everyone uses. Make sure you understand how it works though so you can use it to your advantage.