How frequently should you show proof?

15 replies
When it comes to testimonials, statistics and the like, what determines how many of them you include?

I'm guessing the higher the perceived risk to prospect, the more proofs you should use to build confidence.

Your thoughts?
#frequently #proof #show
  • Profile picture of the author Stephen Dean
    You need proof every time you make a claim. You can provide stats (facts), endorsements, social proof, credentials every time you make a claim that needs it.

    But it should be done seamlessly, so you don't lose the greased slide effect. Don't treat proof like a homework assignment and half ass it every other paragraph. Weave it in without the reader even realizing it.

    Testimonials should be bunched together, unless there's a specific reason for putting them somewhere else. But they shouldn't be randomly spewed about.

    Cheers,
    Stephen Dean
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
      Originally Posted by Stephen Dean View Post

      Testimonials should be bunched together, unless there's a specific reason for putting them somewhere else. But they shouldn't be randomly spewed about.
      Randomly, no. But one of the most effective ways to use testimonials is to back up points you're making in the copy.

      For example... during your price justification, you have a testimonial saying "I thought this might be a little overpriced, but it turns out it was worth more than every penny!"

      -Daniel
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      • Profile picture of the author dorothydot
        Depends on what you mean by proof.

        There's the in-your-face gotta-believe-it kind, like stats, testimonials, etc. No one can gainsay these.

        Then there's what I call indirect proof. Here your copy proves (via wordings, scenarios, word pictures, problem-solving, explanations, etc.) that you truly understand the problem and also understand the solution. No question about it! This instinctively inspires trust in the mind of your readers - especially your target prospects - compelling them to keep reading and discover for themselves the exact solution that you found for that problem that you understand every bit as well as the sufferers do.

        It's a copywriting skill that makes your copy reach deep into your prospects' minds and live there.

        Dot
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        • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
          Originally Posted by dorothydot View Post

          There's the in-your-face gotta-believe-it kind, like stats, testimonials, etc. No one can gainsay these.
          People can (and do) gainsay that kind of proof all the time... especially in markets like IM, make money online, forex, investing, weight loss... and more.

          Just because something is true doesn't make it believable. And it's important to keep that in mind when writing your copy.

          -Daniel

          P.S. Dot, I know YOU know this... this post was more for the benefit of the greener guys and gals hanging around.
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          • Profile picture of the author CopyAcolyte
            Originally Posted by Daniel Scott View Post

            People can (and do) gainsay that kind of proof all the time... especially in markets like IM, make money online, forex, investing, weight loss... and more.

            Just because something is true doesn't make it believable. And it's important to keep that in mind when writing your copy.

            -Daniel

            P.S. Dot, I know YOU know this... this post was more for the benefit of the greener guys and gals hanging around.
            So are you saying that proofs are overrated?
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      • Profile picture of the author Stephen Dean
        Originally Posted by Daniel Scott View Post

        Randomly, no. But one of the most effective ways to use testimonials is to back up points you're making in the copy.

        For example... during your price justification, you have a testimonial saying "I thought this might be a little overpriced, but it turns out it was worth more than every penny!"

        -Daniel
        Right, when there's a specific reason to place a testimonial by it's lonesome, that can be a strong move.

        Cheers,
        Stephen Dean
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  • I think it depends on the reader and the product - I think there are two schools of thought on copywriting and I am from a different school - I come from broadcast copywriting into online and I don't do Daniel's style of copywriting (I read your page). I am more from Dorothy's school (not quite the same approach but same idea) but I go a bit further and integrate online reputation, blogging and social media into the equation with my clients. My overall goal is to create branding rather than just CTA.

    I am an old school believer that branding is the more sustainable approach to the life cycle of a product and that selling it's benefits and it's brand story is the best way to engage. In saying that, I don't take clients that do miracle cures or self help books - all my clients have IRL bricks and mortar businesses that also sell online.

    As for proof and testimonials and statistics - I use testimonials from other "real" businesses, I use statistics from the ABS or as published in credible brand name journals or news agencies and I don't use giant star bursts and repeated lines or concealed information and all that sort of thing to sell sell sell - I offer useful, easy to relate to content, informative, engaging and reassuring....and in the end, I create loyal brand ambassadors, not one off buyers. This is the overall goal for my clients - I know a lot of brands are here for a big sell rather than a long term business so there is a place in this world for both

    Both schools of thought have their place - I am just from the other school
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  • Profile picture of the author JasonParker
    I like what Dot said because...

    You're ultimately wanting to be trusted and believed.

    This means using proof elements to back up claims.

    Here's some other elements to consider...

    Empathy and understanding the reader
    Storytelling that indirectly makes claims
    Logical structure that arranges emotional words
    Reasons why for everything
    Speaking in their language
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  • Profile picture of the author Mitt Ray
    When any sales material is written it's either written by someone in the company or by someone the company hired. In your sales copy you're telling the reader that your product is good and you want them to use it.

    You're asking a complete stranger to use your product or service. They're not sure if they can trust you. But they can trust a third person, i.e. someone who has no relation with your company and that's what a testimonial is, a statement (about your product or service) of trust from someone who's not related to your company.

    That's what testimonials are so important on marketing materials. It's good to have three to ten testimonials on every marketing material.


    In marketing materials like white papers it's better to use references instead of testimonials.
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  • Profile picture of the author BBryanB
    Testimonials are land mines that blow up in your face. The Internet is famouse for testimonilas that are fake, not on track and are written by friends, relatives, and strangers.

    You need to create trust by making yourself available and accessible to your customers and clients.

    Bryan
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    • Profile picture of the author CopyAcolyte
      Originally Posted by BBryanB View Post

      Testimonials are land mines that blow up in your face. The Internet is famouse for testimonilas that are fake, not on track and are written by friends, relatives, and strangers.

      You need to create trust by making yourself available and accessible to your customers and clients.

      Bryan
      As a cynic, I agree that whenever I see ANY testimonial, I automatically think "fake," "collusion," etc,

      They also look cheesy to me.

      The things that convince me are studies and testimonials quoted from truly independent, third-party sources.

      But that's just me, a cynic.

      Do testimonials work for the non-discerning mind? I'm guessing they do, because people use it again and again in their copy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stephen Dean
    The only time I've seen testimonials not work is when they were not formatted well, looked fake or looked like they were written by a 3rd grader (maybe that's repetitive). Other than that, testimonials have won every test I've tried or heard of.

    Cheers,
    Stephen Dean
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  • Profile picture of the author DanteRomero
    For every claim. Each claim that builds up to selling your concept. Even small claims require proof. It just won't be in the form of statistics or images. But words that prove what you are saying. If you don't you will get a "no" from the reader in their mind. And then you've lost them.

    Telling the truth isn't the whole story. Proof makes it - seem - true. Which is what decides if they trust you or not.
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  • Profile picture of the author charliedg
    Testimonials is important, but all the personal income proof stuff can be a little too much. With any sales video, sales page the more value you give to the reader the more credibility you'll have with them. The more credibility you have with them the more likely they'll buy from you. Just give useful value to your visitors and you'll show your worth to them without having to flash 100k clickbank accounts.
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  • Profile picture of the author CopyAcolyte
    Aside from testimonials and stats, I think giving proof can be achieved through the simple logic that flows through your body copy.

    If a reader can seamlessly and without objection read a whole passage to the end, then the train of thought contained in the message is by default "proven."

    It's kind of like when you watch a movie without ever stopping to question various plot elements. A movie without plot holes is one that has you more or less convinced of its final point (climax), in my opinion.
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