How Believable Are You?

18 replies
Here's a marketing tidbit I pulled out of my dusty notes from years ago . . . and it is more true today than ever before. I hope it might help you in some way.

Part of the craft of the marketer, especially a faceless online marketer, is to present one's self, products, offers, and claims in a way that others can accept as being "believable." Some of the related words associated with "believable" are honest, trustworthy, forthright, open, and sincere.

Why is being believable so crucial today?

Here's the answer: it softens peoples' defenses; their hasty "Yeah, right" response.

Let me explain and I think you'll quickly understand what I'm talking about.

As long as direct marketing (an offer aimed squarely at a single individual) has been around, marketers have struggled to get their message noticed and acted upon. Over the years (especially since the rise of mass media) the challenge has become increasingly intensified - to cut through all the clutter and noise and get the marketing message heard!

So the typical marketer response? When you don't think you're being heard, you yell louder! Make the promises, claims, and benefits bigger and bigger and bolder and bolder.

Example: It seems no one cares about losing weight slowly and methodically in a healthy way these days, do they? Who wants a plan that only does that? No, folks get all lathered up about "losing 50 lbs in 30 days without exercising!"

This same principle is at work in every marketplace I can think of . . . hype-filled claims with bloated benefits that are getting more and more out of hand and unbelievable day by day.

The same could be said for a marketer's personal claim of income and success, product benefits, sales letter promises, and coaching results.

How many of you find yourself, when confronted with . . .
  • an ad that's too good to be true
  • a product that promises everything good with no downside
  • a politician who says he will cut taxes, make your world safe, and slash the budget
  • a solution that will make you rich by next week
. . . put up your defenses and say out loud, "Yeah, right!"

We have been increasingly exposed to outrageous promises to the point that most people's immediate reaction after "Yeah, right" is to totally discount and then ignore the message.

So, I would ask: Does your audience mutter "Yeah, right" when they see you coming, hear your pitch, review your product, or read your ad? Just how believable are you and your promotions?

Here are five tips (all related) that should keep you mostly out of "Yeah, right" territory:

1- Don't make claims or benefits larger than your proof will verify.

2- Never make a claim without supporting it with truth from actual experiences.

3- Instead of bloating your promises, make them more believable with better and bolder proof.

4- Don't trigger "Yeah, right" with over-used marketing phrases that have become so suspect.

You know, the phrases that set most peoples' BS meter dancing: "get rich quick," "automatic income," "set it and forget it," "push button easy," "if I can do it, you can do it," "once-in-a-lifetime," "the last _______ you will ever need" . . . you know the phrases. These have been called "measles phrases" - when people hear or read them they run and hide so as not to be exposed.

5- When you have a big but truthful claim, couch it in "IF - THEN" terms. By qualifying the big claim with "if" - the requirement for making the claim come true is thrust upon the buyer. People see that as being more believable than the claim alone without any stipulation or strings attached. Make sense?

Here's an example: "If you give me 30 minutes a day, I guarantee you'll learn how to __________ like a pro." The claim is believable because there is a condition placed on the part of the buyer before the claim can be realized.

Marketers work hard for high response rates - it's what helps to pay the bills. Sometimes marketers forget how accustomed consumers are to outrageous claims and how quickly they apply "Yeah, right" to everything they have a hard time believing. If you want to become a successful marketer, you have to become believable.

The very best to all of you,

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  • Profile picture of the author Ged3
    Hi Steve,
    another great input from you!

    I think there is a lot of truth in what you have said.

    Its all about credibility - and promising something that clearly will not be delivered will only cause disappointment.

    I think that marketers are under pressure to always offer more than their competitors, so this is why adverts tend to offer more and more until its obvious that the promise of the advert will not be met.

    Advertisers then need to use more subtle but no less compelling ways to attract visitors to their web sites, but I think this can be achieved with the clever use and selection of words.

    Best Regards
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    There's an old aphorism that says that adding two positives always yields a positive.

    Whoever came up with that never heard someone say, with feeling, "Yeah, right..."

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  • Profile picture of the author bangontime
    Great post - thanks. Absolutely agree re massive, unbelievable promises.

    In many of the sales letter pages I see, it's also the little things that immediately stop me from believing. "I'll probably take this product down tonight, so get in quick". I've seen that twice this week, on pages that are at least 5yrs old.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
    Don't worry...

    we're going to make Mexico pay for the wall.

    Sid Hale
    Coming Soon... Rapid Action Profits (Pro)

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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B

    Here's another "Yeah, right" . . .

    The check is in the mail.


    Steve Browne, online business strategies, tips, guidance, and resources

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  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    Thanks Steve. I think in the end just totally being yourself without any apologies is the best way to go. Eventually if you have the products and knowledge to back it up, people will appreciate you being totally real. And know you are believable, imho
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Another angle is that this has a lot to do with your target market. If there's a mismatch on money tolerance, they won't believe you because...

    ...well let's say you have an example of where you helped someone make $600K in a launch. Or, like a client of ours, $7.5 million in a pretty short time.

    Those figures are out of the range of most regular people. They just can't see themselves making that kind of money. So even if they believe YOU can do it, they don't believe THEY can.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

    Here's a marketing tidbit I pulled out of my dusty notes from years ago...
    Whether from years ago, or millennia into the future... direct marketing will be direct marketing.

    If you dont have the starving crowd... if you dont have a backend marketing system... if you dont have high ticket items... and if you dont have a message to market match... you wont sell anything in high volumes. In other words, without these things... there's a good chance you will remain broke.
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  • Profile picture of the author myob
    Believe it or not, "believeability" does not sell. People expect outrageous claims, and are more likely to check you out if you meet their expectations.

    The fact is, if you're NOT using hype effectively, your message is far more likely to get drowned out.

    A technique I've used particularly in highly competitive niches is to actually make fun of hype.

    The teaser is always so far over the top unbelievable that prospects are drawn in by overwhelming curiosity.

    For example: Lose 50 lbs in 30 Days Without Exercising! is actually quite typical of my general advertising style.

    Respondents would be provided with real product descriptions, white papers, specs, testimonials, satisfaction guarantee, and ordering information.

    Nothing is ever mentioned, confirmed, or guaranteed about the over-the-top claims made in the ad or anything about the hyped-up title.

    But because of this attention, people tend to do a lot of research to check it out. And they have more tools now than ever before for due diligence research.

    People already KNOW such outlandish claims cannot be true, but this just gets their attention long enough for the real message to get past all of the other noise of the competition.

    Trump is actually a master of this extremely powerful marketing and publicity technique.
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    • Profile picture of the author discrat
      Originally Posted by myob View Post

      People already KNOW such outlandish claims cannot be true, but this just gets their attention long enough for the real message to get past all of the other noise of the competition.

      Trump is actually a master of this extremely powerful marketing and publicity technique.
      Yep, just look at Lavar Ball. Crazy claims, crazy dad but yet the major news outlets cover him like crazy.
      Why ?? Because he attracts eyeballs to Websites and increases the bottom line of Ad revenue
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      • Profile picture of the author myob
        Originally Posted by discrat View Post

        Yep, just look at Lavar Ball. Crazy claims, crazy dad but yet the major news outlets cover him like crazy.
        Why ?? Because he attracts eyeballs to Websites and increases the bottom line of Ad revenue
        Lavar Ball is getting tons of free advertising, drawing attention to his sports apparel company Big Baller through the media and celebrities because of his outlandish claims.

        Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban even commented that Ball and Trump were actually so much alike, in that they say what they need to say for PR and they don't apologize for anything since they'll be in the news for that.

        Bottom line is facts don't sell. People buy when their emotions are stirred by hitting their hot buttons and trigger points.

        If Ball and Trump always just stuck with sterilized facts and other wimpy-ass prattle in such highly competitive arenas, they would never have risen above obscurity.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Brindamour

    Great stuff here!

    People need to know, like & trust you before they will buy from you.


    Subscribe to our Free Home Business Tips Newsletter and get insider tips on how to create wealth in an online business.

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    • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
      Originally Posted by Chris Brindamour View Post


      Great stuff here!

      People need to know, like & trust you before they will buy from you.

      I would rather have the product(s) they are searching for and a payment processor they trust.

      Get Off The Warrior Forum Now & Don't Come Back If You Want To Succeed!
      All The Real Marketers Are Gone. There's Nothing Left But Weak, Sniveling Wanna-Bees!
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  • Profile picture of the author Bella Lopez
    Hey Steve

    This was a great read for me. Some useful points that I'll be using in my AdCopy the next time for sure. I agree with you here as some of the words you mentioned as "measles phrases" are thrown around so much that they definutely trigger the BS meter in a person's mind and make them run in the opposite direction.

    Instead, we should be focusing on creating "believable" posts backed by true facts that can be validated and verified.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ged3
    Good point Myob,
    facts on their own can be quite sterile and boring.

    The best copywriters know how to stir our emotions.

    I like to read exciting headlines even if something inside me knows that they are a bit far fetched.

    I think it is partly wanting to believe, as you say - its an emotional thing, and part of you has to believe or aspire something above the mundane.

    All the best
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  • Profile picture of the author Bayo
    Great post.

    A lot of the challenges mentioned are faced by people in the IM/MMO space where people try to sell things that seem too good to be true to an audience that constantly is on guard because of the inflated claims and results.

    Ironically, in the IM/MMO world people buy low-priced and low value products in droves nobody believes anybody because everyone knows the sort of "tricks" and false claims that are rife in internet marketing.

    Outside of the IM/MMO it is not as difficult to be believable and credible.

    Simply tell the truth to start with, focus on the buyer and their issues and how you articulate how you specifically can help them solve those problems.

    No fake proof of income, screenshot, fake testimonials from Fiverr or any other BS needed.

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  • Profile picture of the author Ged3
    Good point Bayo,
    if people are truthful to start with they will get a reputation for integrity and make a lot more sales in the long run.
    Plus satisfied customers will come back for more"
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