5 Tips to Boost the Credibility of Your Sales Messages and Sell More

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It’s tricky.

Why would people believe your sales messages?

You’re just trying to sell them something, aren’t you?

You use social proof to show your popularity. You display security badges to tell web visitors you can be trusted with their credit card details. Maybe you even use quotes from authoritative figures to vouch for your products.

But let’s be frank. It’s easy for web visitors to doubt your claims, to hesitate to believe you, and to turn away to go somewhere else.

How can you increase your credibility? How can you get web visitors to trust your sales messages and buy from you?

Let’s look at a few easy tricks to boost your trustworthiness and your sales…

1. Use Specific Details to Boost Credibility

Concrete details make your messages more credible. In their book, Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath explain:

(…) concrete details don’t just lend credibility to the authorities who provide them; they lend credibility to the idea itself.

Generic statements – like the leading provider of widgets in the US – sound like marketing blurbs. A specific statement sounds more believable: 1.35 million people enjoy using our widgets.

99designs include the exact number of designers available in their database:

99designs home page

Why are specific statements more credible?

The trust in a seller increases when people believe the seller is an expert. Details show that a seller knows what he’s talking about. This is even true if potential buyers don’t really understand a technical explanation, as Joe Sugarman states in the Adweek Copywriting Handbook:

Providing a technical explanation that the reader may not understand shows that we really did our research and if we say it’s good, it must be good. It builds confidence in the buyer that he or she is indeed dealing with an expert.

Copywriting tip:
For each statement in your copy, consider how you can add specifics. Think about technical data, user numbers, where exactly you source your material, what specific material you use, numbers of testers, number of days it took to develop your product etc.

2. Put Statistics into Context to Boost Understanding

Numbers attract attention, because they stand out in your copy. Compare these two statements:

Eight million people use our widgets

8 million people use our widgets

The number 8 attracts more attention than the word eight, but how many is 8 million really?

Numbers can add credibility to your copy, but it’s often difficult for people to imagine how big or how small the number really is. As Chip and Dan Heath say:

Statistics are rarely meaningful in and of themselves. Statistics will, and should, always be used to illustrate a relationship.

Instead of just quoting a number, relate it to something people know and can visualize. When Amazon highlights how light the Paperwhite Kindle is, they don’t just tell us it’s 7.5 ounces. Instead they say:

Weighing only 7.5 ounces, Kindle Paperwhite weighs less than a typical paperback.

Apple explains how thin and light the iPad mini is:

  • They quote percentages to explain how much lighter and thinner the iPad mini is compared to the iPad;
  • They tell and show us the iPad mini is pencil thin;
  • They describe the benefit of the iPad mini’s size as: stash it in your smallest bag without a second thought so it’s always close at hand.

iPad mini size information on the Apple website

Copywriting tip:
Don’t just present a few statistics. Help your readers to visualize how big or small your numbers are.

3. Use Quotes to Increase Your Trustworthiness

Reading reviews is an important part of the purchasing process, especially if people buy from an ecommerce site:

  • 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews. (source)
  • More than 1 in 4 UK adults claim that online product reviews have a major influence on their purchasing decisions. (source)
  • Consumer reviews are significantly more trusted (nearly 12 times more) than descriptions that come from manufacturers, according to a survey of US internet users. (source)

An easy, but rarely-used, trick is to include customer quotes throughout your sales pages to improve credibility. Ramit Sethi, for instance, uses customer testimonials on his sales pages to underline his claims. When you start to think Is this too good to be true?, he introduces a few quotes from customers to back up his statements.

Sales page Find Your First Profitable Idea

Help Scout even uses a customer quote as a headline on their home page:

Help Scout Home page

Copywriting tip:
Use quotes from customer testimonials to substantiate your claims and to make your sales copy more believable.

4. Show, Don’t Tell

Visuals are powerful sales tools:

  • E-retailer Appliances Online found that viewers of videos are 57% more likely to add products to a shopping basket. (source)
  • Homewares e-retailer Stacks and Stacks found that viewers of videos were up to 144% more likely to add a product to a shopping basket. (source)
  • Even sales of a boring product like auto parts can be boosted by product videos. (source)

Amazon shows the difference in contrast between the old-generation Kindle and the new Paperwhite:

Picture showing old-generation Kindle and the Paperwhite

Images and videos can make your products more desirable; they help explain features; and they boost the credibility of your words. Have you seen how much space the Apple website dedicates to images and videos?

Copywriting tip:
Write less and show more.

5. Plan Your Sales Copy

The key to writing credible and persuasive web copy is to become an expert. Know exactly who you target. Learn as much as you can about your market and your product.

Complete these steps before you start writing your copy:

  1. Describe your ideal buyer. If you don’t know who you’re writing for, your messages become wishy-washy, watery, and ineffective.
  2. Compile a list of features and specifications. Match each feature with the benefit it offers and consider which problem it helps to avoid. Usually a benefit can be translated into a problem you prevent. For instance: A trendy suit prevents you from looking old-fashioned. A reliable server avoids hosting glitches.
  3. Write down a list of objections. Learn from your best sales people how to address each objection.

Only after you’ve completed the three steps above, you’re ready to start drafting credible and persuasive copy.

The Truth About Writing Credible Sales Copy

I’d love to tell you that improving the credibility of your sales copy is easy.

I’d love to say you only need to learn a few tricks.

But writing credible copy requires hard work, creativity, and copywriting skills. Above all: you need to become an expert.

To write persuasive sales copy, you need to understand all the details of your product or service. Find out where raw materials are sourced. Learn how your software works. Understand testing procedures. Learn as much as you can.

Become an enthusiast. Share your knowledge. And share it with passion. Because your passion is contagious.

Henneke Duistermaat is a marketer and copywriter, who's on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make faceless companies charming. To receive her free copywriting and content marketing tips, sign up at Enchanting Marketing.

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