Credibility: The Secret That Will Skyrocket Your Response Rates By At Least 57%

Does your site have CREDIBILITY? What does that 15-day or 30-day money back guarantee really say to those who visit your site? Learning how to establish that crucial credibility is only a few paragraphs of reading away - don't miss this article!

It may surprise you, but perhaps the most important lesson you can learn about creating persuasive ads, sales letters, or Internet sales copy may well be the sheer power of credibility.

Why is this lesson so important? The answer is easy. People are downright skeptical these days. They have been deceived, hoodwinked, and taken advantage of by dishonest business people, politicians, and religious leaders. Scam after scam fills people's mailboxes. Slick telemarketers lie to them about long-distance telephone service or phony sweepstakes. And so on. Amidst all the snake oil salesmen and charlatans, people are begging for someone they can trust and believe in. And, if you can be honest, and can communicate your credibility, you will emerge head and shoulders above your competition.

Here are a few very powerful ways I've found to make my sales letters and ads believable, and therefore, devastatingly effective.

LONG Money-Back Guarantee - Don't give a cheesy 30-day or 15-day money-back guarantee. I can only conclude 2 things about people who give short guarantees:

1) They have a crummy product, and they know that a lot of people will be returning their product. To these people, I say: if you have a lame product and can't guarantee it with at least a 90-day, money-back guarantee you shouldn't be able to sleep at night. Quit selling crappy products. (Ironically, the longer your guarantee is, the fewer refunds you will have and the more orders you will get.)

2) They have a quality product, but are worried about people taking advantage of their generous guarantee. To these people, I simply say : you are wrong. If you have a quality product, the additional sales you'll get because of your guarantee will far outweigh the refunds you'll get from dishonest scumbags. PICTURES - At the beginning of your ad or letter, include a picture of yourself, with a caption underneath it explaining who you are, a quote right next to your picture with your guarantee, and your signature. This combination of elements is incredibly effective, and it melts away a lot of skepticism right from the get-go.

SPECIFIC Facts and Figures - Don't use general claims or statistics that don't seem real. For example, don't say, "I made $1,000,000 last year!" Say the exact amount you made: "I made $784,393.22 last year." This is much more believable. Or, you can say something like: "People who use my system lose an average of 37 lbs. in four months." This is much more effective than, "Lose a ton of weight!" or "Look like a supermodel in 30 days."


SPECIFIC contact information - Don't be afraid to use your home address and phone number in your promotions. Too many people hide behind a P.O. Box and come across as a fly-by-night operator who's totally inaccessible. Subconsciously, your readers don't trust a P.O. Box as much as they trust a physical address such as "3214 Shadowbrook Circle, Provo, UT 84604." (My home address, by the way.) If, for some reason, you have to use a P.O. Box for your business mail, talk to the company that provides your box about using its physical address. For example, if you have a box at Mailboxes, Etc., and your P.O. Box is 118, and Mailboxes, Etc. is located at 220 Greer Rd., then see if you can use the address, "220 Greer Rd. Suite 118." Regarding your phone number, go ahead and put it in your sales letter. I often say, "Feel free to call me at my personal number if you have any concerns or questions." People hardly ever will call you. But because they can call you if they want to, you will ease their conscience dramatically.

TELL THE TRUTH - This may sound like an obvious notion, but from the promotional materials I see every day, it is not. You must be completely honest about your claims and arguments. And one more thing... you must not only be honest, but you also must seem honest in all that you say. Don't exaggerate the truth. Don't fake testimonials. (By the way, testimonials that say, "'Great stuff!' D.S., Kansas" simply don't cut it. A weak testimonial like that hurts your cause more than it helps it.

TONE - Make the tone of your letter sincere, down-to-earth, and personal. Most of you will make the tragic flaw of overestimating the sophistication of your market. I don't care how "sophisticated" you think your market is. Everyone has emotions and everyone responds better to simple, down-to-earth talk rather than fancy, long words or boring, technical copy.

There's so much to say about this issue of credibility, but we don't have enough room to cover it all here. It's funny... people look at this concept of "credibility" and don't think of it as particularly important, but let me tell you... these days, you'll fall flat on your face if you're not thinking about how to build your credibility in your reader's eyes in every word and phrase you say.

Jason Peery, President of Peery Publications, is one of America's top copywriters, with clients such as information marketers, seminar promoters, plumbers, consultants, plumbers, chiropractors, hypnotists, software developers, multi-level marketers, telecommunications companies, and leaders in many other industries. He also teaches people how to write copy that grabs people's eyeballs and glues them to your sales message. If you want information about his Marketing Bonanza Newsletter, e-mail him at with the number "38" in the subject line. If you want additional information about his products, services, and "Response Booster" course, include your snail mail address in the body of the message as well.

Editor's Note: Shel Horowitz's book, Marketing Without Megabucks: How to Sell Anything on a Shoestring includes a full chapter on copywriting, using many of these principles as well as others Mr. Peery doesn't mention in this article.

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