communicating credibility

Communicating Credibility in 9 Easy Steps

Linda Mulcahy
October 26, 2018

Consumers buy from the people and brands they trust. People are understandably skeptical of sketchy-looking websites and over-the-top claims. As a copywriter, one of your goals is to overcome your readers’ natural cynicism and gain their trust by communicating credibility.

Communicating Credibility

Whether you are writing a detailed long-form sales letter or a brief landing page, you will have opportunities to build trust. Here are nine ways to build credibility into your sales copy.

  1. Use statistics.

Anecdotes have their place, of course, but hard data is far more compelling for credibility. So use numbers—percentages, dollar amounts, comparisons—when appropriate. Include graphs and charts to help readers understand the significance of those stats.

  1. Link to credible outside sources.

Back up those numbers and other claims by linking to the original source of the study or quote. Government agencies, non-profit organizations, and professional associations can be excellent resources. Not sure if a source is credible? Use the CRAAP test, a tool to help evaluate currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose of information you find on the internet.

  1. Appear human.

In an age of increasing robocalls and sophisticated email spam, consumers are naturally on guard. Soften their anxieties by letting them know they’re dealing with an actual person. Use the founder’s name. Tell the CEO’s story. Include humorous quotes from the director. Add photos of company employees.

  1. Quote subject matter experts.

Who are the thought leaders and influencers in your industry? Scour their social media posts and blogging activities for relevant content. Or contact them for comments on a specific topic.

  1. Include testimonials.

Testimonials help answer the nagging question of every skeptic: “Will this product really do what you’re promising?” It’s one thing for you to say so, but you’re trying to sell it. However, when someone else says it—someone like them, with similar problems and desires and feelings—well, now they’re a little more persuaded. Read more on how to write client testimonials here.

  1. Use case studies.

Like a testimonial, a case study tells potential customers how your product or service helped someone else in a similar situation. Case studies are told as compelling stories and have a less “salesy” or promotional vibe, making them more trustworthy in the view of the reader.

  1. Promise satisfaction.  

You’re going to stand behind your claim, right? Of course, you are. So tout your liberal money-back guarantee, the hassle-free return policy, the free trial period, and the toll-free 24/7 customer support number. Such bold confidence softens skeptics. So instead of assuming “This is too good to be true,” they start thinking, “Okay. What do I have to lose?” Read marketing guru Neil Patel’s take on guarantees here.

  1. Include credentials.

While these facts shouldn’t be the focus of any marketing piece, credentials do boost the trust factor for some buyers. If appropriate, mention your years in service, industry awards, publications, seals of approval, survey results, professional memberships, and community leadership roles. Also, point to positive media coverage.

  1. Proofread.

People forgive misspellings and missing punctuation in informal texts, but simple mistakes in copy destroy brand credibility. The thinking goes something like this: If you can’t be bothered to check the spelling of a word, why would I trust you to secure my credit card number? If you’re sloppy about proper capitalization, maybe your customer service is shaky, too. If you don’t invest time into proofreading, I will assume you don’t value quality.

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