For this copywriter, every day starts the same.
At 5:15am my alarm pulls from my dream state and into the real world. I crawl out of bed, hit the loo, brush my teeth, slip on my running gear and slide into my running shoes. (My go-to pair are Nike’s Epic React in navy blue.)
Fifteen minutes later, I’m out the door pounding the pavement. My shoes are doing a stellar job absorbing the rock-hard bumps along my 10km route. Good thing I trust my shoes to save my knees. Yet it wasn’t always like this.
Before I ever stepped foot into a Nike shoe, I was a New Balance (NB) fanboy. I’d invested into at least a dozen pairs of NB running shoes over the years. But my love affair with NB came to a screeching halt around 2011 or 2012. NB was reprimanded—then fined $2.3 million—for false advertising. They outright lied about the benefits of their shoes.
As a die-hard customer, I felt cheated. As a copywriter-in-training, I felt appalled. The trust was broken, so I never bothered with their running shoes again. Yet, what NB did wasn’t anything new. Even today, ten years on, hundreds of websites I read make outrageous claims without the balls—let alone the evidence—to back it up. So is it any wonder why these websites never stick around?
Why it pays to be honest online.
Consider this for a moment. People visiting your website for the first time are total strangers. They don’t know who you are. They don’t know what you do. Or what makes you trustworthy in a sea of me-too brands. This is why I advocate honest advertising with my clients.
Even the creator of modern-day advertising, David Ogilvy, shares his two cents worth:
Now before you say, “Anthony, I don’t use print ads!”, hold your horses.
In 2022, your website is your advertisement. The words on the screen have to inspire trust and confidence that you can do what you say you’re going to do. If not, those people will be looking for the Back button. Off to the next website they go.
Use these seven tactics to build trust and cement your credibility online.
Whether you’re writing your own website copy or hiring a copywriter, there are seven time-tested tactics that inject instant credibility into your messaging.
ONE: Use specific numbers (not rounded) in your headlines. Numbers are more than twice as likely to grab attention than generalised statements. For example:
- How our new Fit-X boot camp helped 5,336 men and women get their best body ever in less than ten weeks.
- Thirteen shortcuts that save you more cash without cutting back on your lifestyle.
- Nine little-known ways to find hot-to-buy prospects with Facebook Ads.
- 1,337 five-star customer reviews can’t be wrong.
TWO: Tell people what’s in it for them. It’s hard for people who don’t know your brand to exchange their cash if they don’t know what they’ll get in return. So always spell it out in black and white what’s in it for them.
THREE: Prove your product/service claims. Add in case study results, comments from respected leaders, examples, before and after images, trademarks or independent experts’ comments to support your claims.
FOUR. Social proof your brand. Got a strong social media following? Hundreds of five-star reviews? How about a special feature in an industry publication or your local newspapers? Include this information. Providing credentials helps new readers to believe in your brand and trust your claims.
FIVE. List past customers. If you operate in the B2B (Business to Business) market, listing other companies you’ve had as clients is very persuasive to first-time prospects.
SIX. Include testimonials or reviews. There’s a reason why people shop on Amazon first: customer reviews. Nothing adds credibility like charming words from happy customers. Hot tip: the more details you provide about the person who gave the testimonial, the better. Name, suburb, city, state or country as standard. And photos cement your credibility even further.
SEVEN. Offer an iron-clad guarantee.I can’t stress this one enough. Whether it’s a performance guarantee or a money-back guarantee, both help to reduce risk. What’s more, it also shows that you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is and pony up a refund if your customer isn’t satisfied.
. . .
Build trust to win over hearts, minds and wallets.
I don’t use all seven tactics at once when it comes to my clients’ pages. Because some landing pages might need two or three tactics to build trust. Other pages might need four, or even five tactics to get the job done. It’s case-by-case.
Experience has taught me if people don’t trust what you say, they won’t buy what you sell. So keep your landing page copy honest, and you won’t land in hot water.
If you’re looking to have an honest conversation about your website copy, send me a message here and let’s talk.