Have you ever seen a sales letter where the headline claims that you can "Make up to $10,276.84 a month by exploiting this little known loophole?" Have you ever wondered why the amount is so specific?
The reason the number doesn't get rounded down to $10,000 is that more specific numbers are trusted more than round numbers. We assume that if a number is specific, it's because it's the exact, actual number. Round numbers, on the other hand, obviously aren't the exact, actual number. So who knows whether "$10,000" was rounded up from $5,003, or maybe even made up completely?
However, if you're like me, the made-up headline above rubbed you the wrong way. If you've read enough sales letters, those exact numbers may or may not have started setting off your hype-o-meter. But that's not the problem I have with that headline.
The problem is that it's claiming a precise number for the upper limit on how much you could make. If it had stated "Discover the loophole I used to make $10,276.84 last month" or "Discover the loophole I used to make an average of $10,276.84 per month last year", that'd be different -- an exact number would have made sense.
But how on earth could anyone possibly know exactly how much I have the potential to earn? Is it really impossible to earn more?
When I read a headline like that, I figure it's either hype or just bad writing. Perhaps it started off as something that made sense, like "Discover the loophole I used to make $10,276.84 last month", but somewhere in the process of brainstorming or split testing headlines, somebody decided to try "Make up to $10,276.84 a month..." without switching to a less specific number.
It may still be an effective headline for a lot of prospects -- only split testing could tell you for sure. But it'll backfire if you use it on me.