Creative Marketing Solutions: Fresh, Effective Strategies for Attracting Clients and Customers from Marcia Yudkin
  Binge-Learn Courses Seminars Products Coaching About Home
     
FREE BOOK!
Receive a PDF copy of The Marketing Attitude with your free subscription to The Marketing Minute.
   Name:
   Email:

Your email address is kept private!

Learn how to become a marketing consultant in 10 weeks

Contact us

 

 
 

Become More Believable and Trustworthy: 
A Credibility Checklist for Copywriters

by Marcia Yudkin

When people discover your offerings for the first time, they consciously or unconsciously go through a process of wondering whether or not to believe that you will deliver what you promise. Can they trust that they'll be happy having bought from you?

Credibility is also at stake when established customers need to decide whether or not to purchase something new you're dangling in front of them. You say they need it, you explain that it's a must-have, but will they believe what you say about its value?

Use these two checklists to make sure you've bolstered your credibility with either group to the greatest extent possible. To polish up a winning pitch, implement the credibility builders below and eliminate the credibility killers.

Credibility Builders

1. Provide background information. A marketing company tried to get me to attend a webinar on a new law, but they didn't tell me enough for me to know whether or not the law would affect me. A link to the law would have settled my question – either because it showed that the law would or would not have an impact on me or because I would see that the law was definitely too complicated for me to decipher on my own.

2. Offer the source of any data, numbers or statistics you mention. Providing facts is never as helpful as also saying who established those facts. When you state that your numbers come from a 2010 University of Calgary study or the Centers for Disease Control, you bolster your overall trustworthiness, not only the believability of those stats.

Learn From the Masters of No-Hype Copywriting
In 2013 and 2014, Marcia Yudkin convened the most articulate and experienced practitioners of no-hype copywriting for an exchange of ideas on writing copy that persuades without excessive showmanship or stretching the truth.  Presenters included Peter Bowerman, Nick Usborne, Shel Horowitz, Karon Thackston and others. Order the recordings from this telesummit.

3. Include third-party commentary. Did legendary management expert Peter Drucker originally make your point? Can you quote clients of yours on the results they have achieved from your work? Has a major media outlet sung your praises? The more respected and numerous those third parties, the more readers are willing to trust you.

4. Anticipate objections. "But, but, but…" is often running through people's minds as they consider your sales pitch. To the extent you counteract those concerns and quiet half-baked doubts, you increase the likelihood of prompting the eventual response you want.

5. Document the consequences of not acting. Had the marketer of that webinar laid out in gory detail the fines and jail terms in store for those breaking the new law, I would have been more persuaded by her claim that I had to inform myself about it. Gunning for donations? Show a photo of a turtle who's doomed unless donors save its habitat. When you're selling an automated web service, explain how much time a non-user spends needlessly and list the hassles he needs to deal with.

Rewrite Sales Letters and Postcards for Better Response
Learn the crucial differences between a letter or postcard that gets tossed and one that gets read and prompts action.  You get 20 before-and-after examples to study and use as models.  Learn to write better direct mail.

 

Sales letter makeover course

 

 

 


Sales Letter Makeover Course

6. Describe the credentials of those involved. Too many times, I've read vague bios containing fluffy marketing-speak instead of solid degrees, documented achievements and number of years in business. Venture capitalists say they invest as much in the people leading their projects as in the ideas, and ordinary customers often think the same way.

7. Show examples of what you mean. The other day while I was listening to a Napoleon Hill lecture, I wasn't sure I believed him when he claimed he could do or get anything he set his mind to – anything. But then he told a story about how he obtained a Rolls Royce within a week when he did not have the $250,000 needed to buy it. Then I nodded my head, persuaded.

8. Provide evidence of your success. In Internet marketing circles, screen shots of dated earnings and payment checks were de rigueur for a long while, until people realized how easily they could be faked. Even so, photographs of you rubbing shoulders with the mayor or lugging the day's outgoing packages to the post office can help make your story come to life believably.

9. Demonstrate it. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video demonstration is worth a hundred thousand. You've probably noticed that the kinds of products you see advertised in TV infomercials again and again are those where dramatic footage proves the product works as advertised. In other situations, before-and-after photos can sometimes equal the "show me" power of a video. 

10. Be specific. When you say that 61 out of 62 beta testers improved their typing speed with your program, that is far more credible than saying "most," "the vast majority" or even "nearly everyone." Non-rounded numbers, such as 98 rather than 100 or 467,000 instead of "half a million" are always more convincing because people assume they derive from counting rather than estimating.

Copywriting Course

Learn to Write No-Hype Copy
Six-week self-study course teaches you to wow people into buying through the power of well-chosen words.  Includes challenging and varied assignments to practice on, with answers from the instructor and participants.  Replace incomprehensible jargon with reader-friendly, motivating content.  Copywriting course.

11. Add a guarantee. The fact that you're willing to back up your promise with a guarantee often cuts off doubt at the knees. Note that your guarantee need not promise the customer's money back if they are not satisfied. "The mice will be gone or we'll re-treat your house until they are" or "You're completely satisfied with your haircut or the next one is free" are two other types of guarantees that boost confidence.

12. Be consistent. As reported in Target Marketing magazine in August 2010, the Mayo Clinic had to dial back techniques recommended by consultants, such as carnival-barker headlines or garish colors, because they clashed with their image as a prestigious medical institution. Though such techniques worked for other organizations, they lowered the Mayo Clinic's response rates. Besides the overall tone and approach, check for consistency in details, too.

Credibility Killers

1. Typos or factual mistakes. According to seven studies performed by the Stanford University Persuasive Technology Lab, even the smallest mistakes affect people's willingness to trust what you have written. Although errors have been known to slip by even professional proofreaders, you must do your best to eliminate typographical and spelling mistakes to maintain the trust of readers. 

2. Appearing out of date. When a blog or web site obviously hasn't been touched in months, the individual or organization behind it becomes less credible. Why? Because the world changes as time moves along, and we tend to trust those who keep in step. Something that implies that "June 2009" lies in the future or that cites George W. Bush as the current U.S. president is jarring to us and takes the whole surroundings down a notch.

3. Exaggeration or hyperbole. I once spotted a company claiming to be the only healthy eating franchise. That was so grossly unlikely that I couldn't possibly believe anything else they wrote. Take special care with dramatic adjectives like "revolutionary" or "unique," because when someone realizes you are actually offering the same-old same-old, your credibility tumbles into the gutter.

4. Ungrounded accolades. Google Adwords does not allow advertisers to use the words "best" or "#1" unless some third party, such as a magazine or contest, attests to that top status. Can your language pass that test? If you have superlatives and self-praise floating around in your copy without any grounding in "who says so," discerning consumers sense something shifty or unreliable about you.

Write News Releases That Attract Media and Boost Sales
Learn the crucial differences between a so-so news release and one that gets you onto the airwaves or into print.  You get 24 before-and-after transformations of news releases to study and use as models.  Learn to write better news releases.

 

 

 

 

 

Press Release Makeover Course

5. Seemingly too good to be true. Here you may have something provably true that surpasses what your audience is willing to believe. If so, you may need to understate the case so you don't confront reader resistance. The firm Marketing Experiments, for example, reports a situation where a business-to-business marketer had to stop claiming a 638 percent improvement in return on investment because prospective clients did not believe that was possible, even though in fact it had taken place.

6. Asterisks or small print. Don't put out something bold and outrageous only to take it back with an asterisk or small print. For instance, "free" means something costs nothing. You slam enthusiasm and respect to a halt when you explain later that people need to pay $19.99 shipping and handling for the "free" item.

Always assume that your audience is skeptical, regardless of whether or not they already know you. Earn trust with credibility, and the sales follow.

Copyright 2011 Marcia Yudkin.  All rights reserved.

Gain a mastery of copywriting essentials in six weeks.

Hire Marcia Yudkin to write or rewrite sales letters, brochures, web sites, flyers, press releases or other marketing materials.

Learn to become a well-paid copywriter/marketing consultant.

Online Courses That May Interest You

Launch Your Information Empire

The Sales Letter Makeover Course

The Press Release Makeover Course

The Mighty Postcard Marketing Course

Create a Practical Marketing Plan

Fact Checking Made Easy


 

 
   
Inspired! by Marcia Yudkin
Publicity Ideas from Marcia Yudkin
Copywriting Techniques from Marcia Yudkin
Web Site Makeovers from Marcia Yudkin
 
© 1999 - 2016 Creative Ways  P.O. Box 305  Goshen MA 01032. 413-563-4134  Marcia Yudkin
Privacy policy: We never share your e-mail information. Period.
 
Follow Marcia on Twitter | YouTube
 
Free Newsletter | | Speaking | | Consulting | | Mentoring | | No Blog | | Affiliates