I recently spent 3.5 days in Tad Hargrave’s Radical Business Intensive marketing workshops. The weekend was billed as a marketing weekend for hippies. Although I am by no means a hippie – I don’t drive a microbus, hang beads in my doorframes or wear tie dyed clothing – I do believe in running an ethical and community-minded business. I left the weekend with pages of notes on how I can improve my copywriting business. Since the information that I learned is way too valuable to keep all to myself, I asked for Tad’s permission to share some of his secrets with my e-newsletter subscribers.
One of the most interesting, and most overlooked, aspects of marketing that we discussed dealt with the idea of risk. Specifically, the risks that buyers assume when they purchase your product or service. Everyone has questions and concerns before they make a purchase, for example:
- What if this contractor takes all my money and trashes my home?
- What if this car salesperson sells me a lemon that breaks down constantly?
- What if this cell phone company locks me into a contract that I can’t break?
All of these doubts, whether they are real or perceived, can create what Tad refers to as a “wall of risk” between you and your customer. Unless you address the buyer’s concerns and remove this “wall of risk,” you will be unable to build relationships with customers and grow your business.
The first step in eliminating risk is to identify the risks your buyers assume when they purchase your products or services. Here are 3 simple steps you can take to identify the frustrations within your industry:
- Think about what would prevent customers from doing business with someone in your industry. What are their fears? Include both reasonable and irrational fears, since perceived risks can have a huge impact on whether or not someone does business with you.
- Make a list of the things that typically go wrong in your industry and your common industry stereotypes.
- Consider how your clients would feel if something went wrong during your transaction.
After you write down your answers to these questions, ask others for their opinions. Your current customers, friends, family, employees and consultants can provide you with more perspective.
Once you have identified the major risks within your industry, make a list of the top 3 risks that you feel prevent customers from doing business with you. Then, identify specific ways that you can address their concerns to eliminate these risks.
You should also edit your current marketing materials to show your customers that you run a trustworthy business. The following 7 ways to create credible sales copy will help ease your customers’ concerns and build their belief in your company.
- Remove the hype – Most dieters have realized that no product will give them rock hard abs in 3 days. Unsubstantiated claims – even mild exaggerations – will cause you to lose credibility faster than you can say, “But wait! There’s more!”
- Show your credentials – Post information about your professional certifications or degrees on your website. If you belong to any professional associations, you can also add their seals to your website.
- Use Testimonials – Testimonials from satisfied customers are one of the most powerful ways to gain your prospects’ trust. Make sure to state the full name of the person who wrote the testimonial. It is also a good idea to include the name of their organization and their photo. Don’t use testimonials that say things like, “Fantastic,” K.T. from Ontario. No one will believe it’s real!
- Are you newsworthy? In addition to testimonials, you can also post positive reviews of your product or service. If your business was recently featured in your local newspaper or on television, you can include links to the article or video.
- This may seem obvious, but … you would be surprised how many companies fail to put basic information on websites, including their contact information. Your prospects want to know that you are a real person running a real business. Include your full contact information on every page of your website. Your prospects will thank you.
- Can you make a promise? Including a guarantee is one way to help customers overcome their concerns about purchasing a product. Clearly explain your return policy, money-back guarantee, free trial offers or any other guarantees.
- Stop selling and start helping – A great way to gain your target audience’s trust is to provide them with valuable information about your industry. If you run a moving company, you can offer your customers a special report called, “The top 10 things to look for in a moving company,” or “How to have a stress-free moving day.” By providing advice, your customers will look at you as a helpful expert, not a pushy salesperson.
What about you? How do you convey your credibility to potential customers? Please share your comments below.