Your offer is the best of its kind. It’s everything you ever wanted to bring to the market.
That’s a good start, but is it something your audience wants? Does it fit their needs?
First, imagine you’re selling freeze-dried banana chips. Your audience should love them.
What about keto dieters who have to limit their carbs? Do you need to spend time convincing them to take you up on your offer?
The short answer is yes. That’s why you have to pick your audience.
Don’t try to appeal to a broad market. Focus on one group that would be more likely to buy it in the first place.
First, you need to determine who this audience is. That always involves market research like surveys and focus groups.
There are other, less expensive ways to do it such as keyword searches on sites like Google Trends. You can also do social media eavesdropping where you pick a hashtag and seek it out.
You know what they want now, but how do you reach your audience? It’s not enough to say that your banana chips are the best. Show how.
Tell stories, give examples, and provide evidence. Give statistics or other scientific information. Explain how delicious they are with peanut butter.
Make your audience picture themselves using your product and enjoying it.
Tell them about a teenager whose snack cake consumption is ruining their skin. Explain how much better they look and feel without the acne. Tell them how much more attractive and popular they are when their face clears up.
Without fail, some of your audience will have doubts. Address their concerns and anything they might not understand. Consider their backgrounds and shared experiences.
Where do you expect the most resistance? How do you combat their skepticism?
This is where good market research comes into play. Social media eavesdropping helps a lot, too. Once you’ve got your finger on the pulse, you’ll know how to measure it.
Gain their trust, prove that your product has these features. Convince them these features will have benefits. Establish yourself as a legitimate source.
People make their decisions based on emotions, with their “gut instincts.” Later, they try to justify those decisions with logical facts. It’s your job to assure them that their gut is steering them in the right direction.
Many people believe, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Fight this feeling.
Understand their beliefs, and come up with a premise to match. That’s the importance of providing proof in your copywriting.
Imagine you’re a lawyer and you need to convince your audience, the jury, of your client’s innocence. You’d need to present evidence, or proof, wouldn’t you? There are so many ways to provide proof that you might not be sure where to start.
The PESO model will categorize some of these methods:
What’s the first thing you think of when you think of marketing? Paid advertisements. These can come in the form of commercials, banner ads, pop-ups, or paid search results on Google. Advertisements on many sites like Facebook read cookies and remind users of products they already own.
People use AdBlocker to get rid of advertisements like banner ads and pop-ups. Speaking of pop-ups, try not to use them.
Consumers find them irritating and often close them without reading a single word. If you’re determined to have pop-up ads, use discretion and don't overdo it.
Sometimes viewers feel “tricked” into accepting the article as an organic endorsement. That could lead to them losing faith in your company. You need to provide valuable and informative content.
One of the more blatant forms of native advertising is beauty articles in women’s magazines. Imagine a headline like, “15 Makeup Items You Can’t Live Without.” It appears to be a regular article, but it’s only a list of things they want you to buy with a little blurb of information.
Other magazines achieve this with success. “Architectural Digest” has beautiful photos of decorated living rooms. The magazine includes line-by-line footnotes telling you where to get each item and how much it costs.
Boosted content includes paid advertisements shown near the top of social media feeds. It introduces already-popular content and presents it to a new, cold audience.
You might also remember the Monopoly Game at McDonald’s. People buy their food, and the containers for their fries or drink have a small ticket attached. They can redeem them for free items or they can collect all the tickets to find out if they won the grand prize.
Paid content is easier to control, and you can shape it in whatever way you want. Remember, audiences can become jaded if it’s too obvious that you bought the proof. You need a genuine, organic reason to convince them to buy your product.
Media relations involve reviews and articles that media companies publish. For example, a restaurant’s positive review builds credibility as it’s earned on merit.
There are other kinds of “free” publicity whenever your company becomes part of the news. Sometimes this happens as a matter of chance, or other times they might need a little push. Celebrity romances draw lots of attention to whatever movie they’re making together. Is it a real relationship, or is it a rumor created by the studio? Who knows, but you have their attention.
The best part about earned proof is that consumers find it to be the most trustworthy. It’s not an advertisement that you paid to have boosted to the top of their Facebook feed. It’s a review in a magazine, blog, or even a scientific article that someone else wrote on their own accord. At least, it appears to be.
The truth is that you have little to no creative control over the content other sources provide. Some say that there's no such thing as bad publicity. They think anything that increases the audience’s awareness leads to more sales. That couldn't be further from the truth. Some publicity is so bad that it turns off people that were already enjoying your product. This could work if you’re pivoting to a new demographic but proceed with caution.
Be careful with paid “trending topic” campaigns. Some users will resent the artificial hashtag and turn it into something undesirable. Make sure to review all social media campaigns before you launch them. Don’t leave campaigns in an intern’s hands without making sure higher-ups have approved.
One point of contention to remember is that you may not want to use stock photos that are too obvious. Rather than buying from another site, take the time to produce quality images. That'll foster a sense of trust and personality.
Then, Guinness, a brewery, created a compilation of records through its own research. Every bar could now have a copy to show who was right and who was wrong. This convenient guide also reminded them of their brand of beer.
Owned content can be expensive and time-intensive to produce. Evergreen content continues to garner interest for years, but some gets replaced. The Guinness Book of World Records still exists, but it’s not as vital now that we can solve bar fights with Google. Now Guinness publishes a website.
Here are some ways to skyrocket your conversions using social proof.
Copywriters use psychology in their writing without even realizing it. To be more effective, look into some psychology books and courses. Many of them have information you can apply to the advertising sphere.
Good copywriting employs the “Bandwagon” argument to make people want to be part of the group. Look, cousin Bobby is using it — it must be terrific. “Wisdom of the crowd” and “wisdom of their friends” play a part in the bandwagon technique.
Some sites show the quantity of a product in stock so people feel like they're getting the last one or might miss out. Others have countdown timers at the top of the page — only 6 hours, 30 minutes, and 15 seconds left for the mega sale!
“No soup for you,” (referencing a famous Seinfeld episode) uses reverse psychology to make people want your product. Think about a statement like, “This banana candy isn't for you if you can’t handle a flavor explosion.” Any concept that makes something sound sought after can work in the same way. Waiting lists at country clubs are famous for this. Exclusive content makes your audience want to qualify for this unique product.
Learn how to write B2B case studies that convert here.
Guarantees — The consumer is right there with you, ready to take action. The thing is, they don’t want to feel like a fool. They need some reassurance that they aren’t going to waste their money and time. The solution to this aversion to risk is implementing a risk reversal — such as a money-back guarantee.
You can also offer limited-time warranties so they won’t worry about losing out if the item breaks. Sometimes it’s a matter of replacing one broken item with a new one, instead of going as far as a refund.
Niche expertise — People are more likely to buy something if they feel like it’s catered to their interests. Even if the product isn’t any different, specializing it can give it a sales boost.
Consider the advent of “Secret” brand gendered deodorants. “Strong enough for a man, but pH balanced for a woman.” The only difference is the scent of the perfume. Once you’ve sold people on the idea, you’ve got a new hook.
Before and after — Show the benefits of your product in the most concrete manner possible. Show a “before” picture followed by an “after” picture. This strategy is common with weight-loss ads. That doesn't mean the ad couldn't show a happier family or any reality your offer promises.
Five-year-old technique — Ask why? Over and over. Get out a sheet of paper or open a new file in your word processor. It’s more effective on paper, but you can do it the modern way, too. Make a pitch. Ask “Why?” and answer with “Because…” until you’ve run out of space.
Why should I buy banana-scented deodorant? Because it’s all-natural. Why is it all-natural? Because it’s made from 100% organic bananas and baking soda. Why does it matter if the bananas are organic? Because bananas that are pesticide-free won’t introduce toxins into the bloodstream. You see how this can go on for a while.
Know the strategies for building credibility and trust with your customers here.
The end goal of copywriting is to compel readers to take action. People won’t take action without considerable proof that your offer is what you claim. The good news is that there are hundreds of ways to provide evidence with copywriting. What you just read is only the tip of the iceberg.
One popular model for considering proof is the PESO method. Paid advertisements, earned accolades, shared media, and owned content that you created yourself. These categories overlap, so don’t limit yourself when you’re considering them. Think of it as a simple way to organize your thoughts.
A good Psychology 101 course also helps with copywriting. If you don’t have time for that, there are plenty of ways to influence your audience into doing what you want. Some of the tried and true advertising techniques even go back a century. The context may be different, but the psychology behind it is the same.
Try a few methods and see what works for you and your business. Mix and match to your heart’s content. You’ll never know what works best until you start experimenting.
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High-converting direct-response copy for growing B2B companies and disruptive digital brands.