Nobody believes a word you say

How to stop lying to your audience and yourself.

Have you ever looked up 8 different plumbers on Google and found that 6 of them were “Brisbane’s Leading Plumbing Service”?

Call it lying, call it exaggeration, or call it self-delusion, but the result is the same. Our brains have learned to automatically disregard any claim without evidence. So the standard claims we’ve all used like quality, leading, reliable, trusted, and so on, do not have any positive effect on the reader.

In fact, what it tells the reader is they need to be very skeptical about the rest of your claims.

What to do about it

My goal for a website is to have the reader believe every word you say. It sounds like a fantasy, but if you tell the truth and support every claim, then it’s possible.

I perform a procedure I call “Prove Everything” where I add proof or support for every claim made, and remove any claims I can’t support.

An example

I advised a gold bullion company whose main claims centred on expertise, being leading gold buyers, quality products, and secure transport. But as a reader there was no way of verifying these claims on the spot. That’s a problem, because the only claims that advance the sale are the ones the buyer accepts as true.

This was solved in two steps:

  1. Support each claim with a cornerstone piece of content (accessed via a link in the text). By clicking through, the reader is able to verify each claim for themselves – giving you a stronger sales funnel.
  2. Bolster the copy itself with a few words that give the claims instant credibility. For example – instead of “secure transport” we were able to say “with the same armoured trucks the Commonwealth Bank uses”.

When you do this exercise for your company, you quickly end up with a dozen ideas for content that directly supports your core sales funnel.

You can build a relationship with sales copy

As well as doing a better job of selling your product or service, the real payoff is you build a relationship with the reader. Over the course of two minutes reading your website the reader judges you as a reliable source of information, and at decision time they’ll lean on this feeling. Their gut will tell them they can trust your company.

Final word

A new buyer has to make a decision BEFORE they truly know your company. To make a decision, they need to rely on the feeling they get about your company from just a few paragraphs of text.

All of your marketing materials will benefit from trust-building copy. Not just online, but offline in your brochures and high-stakes sales documents like proposals and tender submissions.

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