Categories
SEO

Content Amplification to Become a Recognized Authority

To add to your attractability, you need to position yourself as an authority in your field. And the best way to do that is by becoming a recognized expert, which you can do through, among others, vertical specialization.

But once you do, the next step is to communicate and amplify your digital marketing company. It makes no sense to become a recognized expert when no one recognizes you — or better said, when no one knows you or knows enough about you.

There are many ways to do this, and content marketing is one them. But there are quite a few more. And I did promise you that I would write about them.

So here it is.

Before I dive in, I know you may be doing some of these already. But, and forgive me for sounding a bit Coveyvian, if you do them without doing the first things first, many of your efforts may be in vain or with less ampleur.

So here are some of the most common authority-based activities you can do to help market yourself and become a recognized authority in your field.

1. Claim Your Expertise

By far, this is the most important step to follow.

Branding, particularly personal branding, is not for the sake of getting your ego in the spotlight. In fact, your unique expertise is attached to you, what you do, what you offer, and how you do it. So your unique expertise is your brand.

But creating an identifiable and distinct brand around your expertise adds value because it generates top-of-mind awareness, communicates inherent competitive advantages, and above all, feeds your SEO machine.

People who get to know you and hear about you will feel an affinity with who you are and what you stand for. So they will remember you, look you up when they need you, or tell others about you openly. And often.

To claim your expertise, you need to brand yourself as an expert. “Claim your crown and assume the throne,” as Lisa Sasevich says in Meant For More.

But you don't do it by yelling “I'm an expert!” You do it through implication, and remember that implication is more powerful than specification. You do it by labeling yourself in a way where your expertise is implied.

You do it through your branding, tagline, position statement, and names on your business, products/services, and processes (including your work processes as well as your thought processes, such as your intellectual property).

For example, if people don't know you or they only know your credentials, then saying you're “an authority on hair transplants” is nothing remarkable, and may even seem suspect and self-serving.

But if you said you're the creator of the Microfollicular Redistribution™ process, then you are an authority because you appear as an industry pioneer.

You're instantly claiming your expertise without having to flaunt it. And instead of going up against other surgeons in an already highly competitive and overly saturated hair transplant category, you are creating your own category, and becoming the leader in it because no one else is competing with you.

Nevertheless, once you claimed your expertise, don't forget to promote your brand in everything you do, say, and write. That includes your style, your logo, your tagline, your color scheme, your voice, and all those things that add attractability to your expertise.

Use it in all your collateral materials, in your content, and with your people. For example, each time Seth Godin ends a book or presentation, he signs off with “go make a ruckus.” That's his thing. His signature. His purple cow.

2. Create Your Content

Content marketing is by far the best and most productive way to communicate and amplify your expertise. While the first one above was “claim your expertise,” I could have called this one “share your expertise.”

The goal is create content assets that you can leverage and disseminate. There are many types. You can write or create:

  • Print books
  • Blog posts
  • Ebooks
  • White papers
  • Newsletters
  • Kindle books
  • Reports
  • Tipsheets
  • Cheatsheets
  • Checklists
  • Templates
  • Case studies
  • Quickstart guides
  • Slide decks
  • Infographics
  • Carousels
  • Social media posts
  • Video recordings
  • Audio recordings
  • Podcasts
  • Web apps
  • Phone apps
  • Guest posts
  • Transcripts
  • Infoproducts
  • Courses

This is a partial list. But of all these, writing your book is definitely a priority as it is one of the most effective tools for establishing yourself as an authority.

Authors are instantly perceived as experts on their subject matter. But your book also creates a domino effect and helps other areas (including those I will cover in this article), such as building a following, attracting media attention, creating speaking opportunities, and of course, selling yourself to ideal clients.

3. Speak Your Authority

An expert doesn't have to speak publicly to prove their expertise. Their written, audio, and video content should communicate that. However, proving their authority can often be better communicated in a live, public setting.

There are many reasons for this.

I understand this is not for everyone. But public speaking, though it's a fear for many, is an incredibly powerful tool to communicate your authority.

It's about having the courage to speak your truth and the ability to speak on your feet. Because that is what communicates authority: your ability to speak authoritatively, which can be hard to appreciate in a written format.

While public speaking can be prewritten and rehearsed, the ability to speak in front of others, in a live setting, adds an extra dimension to your content.

It doesn't matter if it's from the stage, lectern, podium, or pulpit, or if it's in an auditorium or in front of a camera, you can truly judge someone's level of expertise, knowledge, and authenticity when you see them speak live.

You can perceive the meta-messages, the messages beyond the message — the subtle cues and nuances you wouldn't be able to capture in written text.

Body language and vocal characteristics — like posture, stance, mannerisms, pitch, volume, inflection, and so much more — offer clues as to the person's level of credibility, clues that are often perceived unconsciously.

More importantly, these clues also convey the level of confidence, belief, and conviction they have in their expertise, knowledge, and point-of-view.

Sure, an expert can be incredibly knowledgeable in their field but still sound dry, boring, or dispassionate. (I know of a few college professors who exemplify this quite well, thank you very much.) And you certainly can communicate your expertise without uttering a single word in public.

But to be a recognized authority, you have to be able to sell ideas, as well as your services, in a public setting. At least in a face-to-face situation.

Also, you don't need to learn public speaking skills. As a former executive speaking coach said, “Speaker training is helpful — if you want to be a professional speaker.” As she said in this article with which I agree wholeheartedly: “Authenticity overrides form.” I also like this passage:

Watch a few TED talks. You'll find plenty of reticent, wonky presenters who are fascinating. What makes a person a strong presenter is that their presence shines through, showing their passion and expertise for their topic.

Kristi Hedges

So grab every chance you can to speak. Host live events, such as YouTube and Facebook livestreams, which you can restream with tools like Streamyard. If you don't know what to say, do live Q&As, opinion pieces, or Zoom meetups.

Of course, there are live teleseminars and webinars, too. While you could (and should) record these to use as additional content assets, they are first done live and provide that extra dimension I talked about.

4. Build Your Following

Social media is definitely important when it comes to amplifying your content. But the true power of social media is reaching your audience and creating a following — people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say.

Some professionals have audiences so large that they've reached influencer status. But you don't need to rise (or stoop, as some might argue) to the level of a Kardashian. And you certainly don't need to create a cult of personality.

But having and leveraging a group of people who follow what you say, post, do, or share can help augment and propagate your expertise.

Whether it's on third-party platforms such as social networks, or on your own platforms such as your blog or email list, building a following along with a connection with your followers also creates a valuable, leverageable asset.

Your followers will resonate with you, write content about you, refer others to you, evangelize for you, and even defend you if your integrity or credibility is ever questioned let alone attacked.

Speaking of third-party platforms, remember that the second largest search engine in the world is YouTube. People search YouTube as often as they do Google to find information, particularly how-to information.

It goes to reason that you need to have video content on YouTube as well. However, the secondary benefit is the ability to create a loyal fanbase of subscribers who are eager to watch every video you publish.

Often, people share videos they find (or from channels they follow) on other platforms — including in their social media feeds, on their blogs, to their lists, or within their own content pieces.

Which brings me to the next point…

5. Form Your Alliances

Without question, owning your own content assets is essential. They, along with your following (such as your list), are assets you can leverage to help promote your expertise and authority. But often, you can leverage other people's content assets, platforms, or followings, too.

One of the many tools I used when I first started out, for example, was creating strategic marketing alliances. I was fortunate and grateful to have created some richly rewarding partnerships and joint ventures that allowed me to tap into other pools of clients, leads, and followers.

Early in my career, I learned from marketing guru Dan Kennedy to “be prolific.” And it is as effective today as it was back then — even with the Internet.

Being a prolific author often means to have a large body of work. But being a prolific authority is to be ubiquitous, too. To be everywhere (that counts).

One way to expand your reach is to run your own affiliate program. Having affiliates is one of the easiest ways to proliferate your authority, which is just a way of paying others a finder's fee or commission for referring someone to you.

But for many licensed professionals, doing this is highly regulated, discouraged, even prohibited. However, there are ways to create alliances and leverage other people, without getting any kickbacks or offering any kind of incentive.

For example, offer your expertise they can use in their content assets.

Offer to write guest posts, contribute to their newsletters, become a guest on their podcasts, respond to their interviews, help in causes important to them, create your own association (or at least join and help them), and so on.

Other publications, blogs, and shows are desperate for content. Make yourself available or offer to provide fresh, unique content they can use.

While you can contribute to others who appeal to similar audiences, don't ignore mainstream media. HARO, or “Help a Reporter Out,” is a great service that allows you to connect with reporters who need experts like you.

Then there are third-party learning platforms you can sell courses on or publish free courses to. There are many, but some of the most popular ones are Udemy, Teachable, Thinkific, Podia, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and Skillshare.

There's also marketing and affiliate networks you can sell courses through, like Clickbank, JVZoo, ShareASale, and many others (and let's not forget Amazon).

When you create courses, you certainly can host and sell them yourself. But by also using these third-party platforms, you can leverage their existing exposure, affiliate programs, and database of ready-to-promote affiliates, as well as their existing traffic and clients.

Finally, don't forget to be active on other platforms as well. Engaging others on social media platforms, blogs, emails lists, or livestream events, such as asking questions or commenting on other people's posts, allow you to piggyback on other people's brand and level of reach.

In short, you're demonstrating your expertise to an already captive and targeted audience — even if it's not yours, as long as it is ethical to do so.

A final word.

Being an expert is relatively easy. Being an authority can be just as easy. But being a recognized authority takes work. It's not an overnight process, I agree, But it doesn't have to take as much time as you think.

Just create content assets and use platforms, yours as well as those of others, that allow you to amplify your expertise so that people can find you, learn about you, follow you, buy from you, and tell others about you.

In other words, be become a recognized authority, you need to amplify it.

Categories
Copywriting

Forget Benefits, And You Will Sell More

What's the single, most important element in copywriting?

Let me say it another way.

You've done your research. You found a starving market. Your product fills a need. And your sales copy shines with benefits. If everything is so perfect, then why is your product still not selling? Is it the price? The offer? The competition?

Maybe. But not necessarily.

The fact is, these things are not always to blame for being unable to sell an in-demand product, even with great copy. Too often, it has more to do with one thing:

Focus. (Or should I say, the lack thereof.)

In fact, the greatest word in copywriting is not “free.” It's “focus.” And what you focus on in your copy is often the single, greatest determinant of your copy's success.

In my experience, copy that brings me the greatest response is copy that focuses on:

  1. One messsage
  2. One market
  3. One outcome

Here's what I mean…

1. One Message

The copy doesn't tell multiple, irrelevant stories. It doesn't make multiple offers. It doesn't go on tangential topics or provide extra information that doesn't advance the sale.

Copy should make one offer and one offer only.

Too many messages confuse the reader. And as copywriter Randy Gage once noted, “The confused mind never buys.” It confuses them because they don't know which offer provides them with the best value for the amount of money they are ready to spend.

Prospects want to spend their money wisely. Lose focus, and it is harder to think clearheadedly as to make a wise decision in the first place. Remember this axiom:

“Give people too many choices and they won't make one.”

You don't want to do what my teenage daughter does to me. When we go shopping for a dress, after hours of flipping through hangers and racks, she finally pinpoints one she likes, goes to the changing room to try it on, looks at me and asks, “How's this one?”

“Perfect!” I say. “You sure, dad?” She asks. “Yes,” I add. “I'm positive.” So we head to the cash register when, suddenly, she stops along the way, picks up another dress off the rack, and says, “How about this one? Or maybe this one? Oooh, look at this other one!”

We came really close to walking out of that store without buying any of the dresses.

2. One Market

I don't want to spend the little space I have for this article to extoll the virtues of niche marketing. But when it comes to writing high-converting sales messages, it goes without saying: trying to be all things to all people is next to impossible.

When it is possible, then your sales message must be generic enough to appeal to everyone, causing the majority in your market to feel you're not focused on them.

(There's that word “focus,” again!)

In order to appeal to everyone, your sales message will be heavily diluted. It will lose clarity. People will feel left out because you're too vague. You will appear indifferent to their situation, and to their specific needs and goals, too.

If you cater to a large, diversified market, I highly encourage that you segment your market and target each segment separately, and write copy that caters to each one.

That is, write copy for each individual and targeted group of people within your market. If your market is made up of two or three (or more) identifiable market groups, write copy for each one — even if the product is the same for everyone.

3. One Outcome

“Click here,” “read my about page,” “here's a link to some testimonials,” “call this number,” “fill out this form,” “don't buy know, just think about it,” “here are my other websites,” “here are 41 other products to choose from,” and on and on… Ack!

When people read your sales copy, and if your copy is meant to induce sales, then you want one thing and one thing only: get the sale! In other words, there's only one thing your readers should do, and that's buy. Or at least your copy should lead them to buy.

In other words, the ultimate outcome should be to buy — every call to action, every piece of copy, every page, every graphic should revolve around this one outcome.

Remember K.I.S.S. (i.e., “keep it straightforwardly simple”).

You would be surprised at how many salesletters I critique where the author asks the reader to do too many things, to choose from too many things, or to jump through so many hoops to get the very thing they want in the first place.

Your copy should focus on one call to action only, or one ultimate outcome. Forget links to other websites or pages that are irrelevant to the sale. Forget irrelevant forms and distractions. Why invite procrastination with too many calls-to-action?

In fact, I believe that the goal is not to elicit action but to prevent procrastination.

Because when people hit your website, whether they found you on a search engine after searching for information, were referred to you by someone else, or read about you somewhere online, then they are, in large part, interested from the get-go.

So your job is not to get them to buy, really. They're already interested. They're ready to buy. Your job (i.e., your copy's job), therefore, is to get them not to go away.

Ultimately, focus on the reader. One, single reader.

This is probably the thing you need to focus on the most. The most common blunders I see being committed in copy is the lack of focus in a sales message, particularly on the individual reading the copy and the value you specifically bring to them.

In my experience as a copywriter, I find that some people put too much emphasis on the product, the provider, and even the market (as a whole), and not enough on the most important element in a sales situation: the customer.

That is, the individual reading the copy at that very moment.

Don't focus your copy on your product and the features of your product — and on how good, superior, or innovative they are. And don't even focus on the benefits.

Instead, focus on increasing perceived value with them. Why? Because perception is personal. It's intimate. It's ego-centric. Let me explain.

When you talk about your product, you're making a broad claim. Everyone makes claims, especially online. “We're number one,” “we offer the highest quality,” “it's our best version yet,” etc. (Often, my reaction is, “So what?”)

And describing benefits is just as bad.

Benefits are too broad, in my opinion. You were probably taught that a feature is what a product has and a benefit is what that feature does. Right? But even describing benefits is, in my estimation, making a broad claim, too.

The adage goes, “Don't sell quarter-inch drills, sell quarter-inch holes.”

But holes alone don't mean a thing to someone who might have different uses, reasons or needs for that hole. So you need to translate benefits into more meaningful benefits.

You see, a claim always looks self-serving. It also puts you in a precarious position, as it lessens your perceived value and makes your offer suspect — the opposite of what you're trying to accomplish by making claims in the first place.

Therefore, don't focus on the benefits of a certain feature. Rather, focus on how those features specifically benefit the individual. Directly. Personally. Intimately.

There is a difference. A big difference.

The more you explain what those claims specifically mean to the prospect, the more you will sell. It's not the features that counts and it's not even benefits. It's the perceived value. So how do you build perceived value?

The most common problem I see when people attempt to describe benefits is when what they are really describing are advantages — or glorified features, so to speak. Real benefits are far more personal and intimate.

That's why I prefer to use this continuum:

Features ► Advantages ► Benefits

Of course, a feature is what a product has. And an advantage (or what most people think is a benefit) is what that feature does. But…

… A benefit is what that feature means.

A benefit is what a person intimately gains from a specific feature. When you describe a feature, say this: “What this means to you, Mr. Prospect, is this (…),” followed by a more personal gain your reader gets from using the feature.

Let me give you a real-word example.

A client once came to me for a critique of her copy. She sold an anti-wrinkle facial cream. It's often referred to as “microdermabrasion.” Her copy had features and some advantages, but no benefits. In fact, here's what she had:

Features:

  1. It reduces wrinkles.
  2. It comes in a do-it-yourself kit.
  3. And it's pH balanced.

Advantages:

  1. It reduces wrinkles, so it makes you look younger.
  2. It comes in a kit, so it's easy to use at home.
  3. And it's pH balanced, so it's gentle on your skin.

This is what people will think a benefit is, such as “younger,” “easy to use” and “gentle.” But they are general. Vague. They're not specific and intimate enough. So I told her to add these benefits to her copy…

Benefits:

  1. It makes you look younger, which means you will be more attractive, you will get that promotion or recognition you always wanted, you will make them fall in love with you all over again, they will never guess your age, etc.
  2. It's easy to use at home, which means you don't have to be embarrassed — or waste time and money — with repeated visits to the doctor's office… It's like a facelift in a jar done in the privacy of your own home!
  3. It's gentle on your skin, which means there are no risks, pain or long healing periods often associated with harsh chemical peels, surgeries and injections.

Now, those are benefits!

Remember, copywriting is “salesmanship in print.” You have the ability to put into words what you normally say in a person-to-person situation. If you were to explain what a feature means during an encounter, why not do so in copy?

The more benefit-driven you are, the more you will sell. In other words, the greater the perceived value you present, the greater the desire for your product will be. And if they really want your product, you'll make a lot of money.

It's that simple.

In fact, like a face-to-face, one-on-one sales situation (or as we say in sales training, being “belly to belly” with your prospect), you need to denominate as specifically as possible the value your offer brings to your readers.

In other words, express the benefits of your offer in terms that relate directly not only to your market, but also and more importantly:

  1. To each individual in that market
  2. And to each individual's situation.

Don't focus on your product. Focus on your readers. Better yet, focus on how the benefits of your offer appeal to the person that's reading them. And express how your offer benefits your prospect in terms they can intimately relate to, too.

Look at it this way:

  • Use terms the prospect is used to, appreciates and fully understands. (The mind thinks in relative terms. That's why the use of analogies, stories, examples, metaphors, and testimonials is so important! Like “facelift in a jar,” for example.)
  • Address your reader directly and forget third-person language. Don't be afraid to use “you,” “your,” and “yours,” as well as “I,” “me,” “my,” and “mine.” Speak to your reader as if in a personal conversation with her.
  • Use terms that trigger their hormones, stroke their egos, tug their heartstrings, and press their hot buttons. You don't need to use puffery with superlative-laden copy. Just speak to your reader at an intimate level. An emotional level.

Because the worst thing you can do, second to making broad claims, is to express those claims broadly. Instead, appeal to their ego. Why? Because…

… We are all human beings.

Eugene Schwartz, author of Breakthrough Advertising (one of the best books on copywriting), once noted we are not far evolved from chimpanzees. “Just far enough to be dangerous to ourselves,” copywriter Peter Stone once noted.

He's not alone. My friend and copywriter Paul Myers was once asked during an interview, “Why do people buy from long, hypey copy?” His short answer was, “Human beings are only two feet away from the cave.”

(Speaking of Eugene Schwartz, listen to his speech. It's the best keynote speech on copywriting. Ever. Click hear to listen to it. You can also get a copy of his book, too, called “Breakthrough Advertising.” I read mine several times already.)

People buy for personal wants and desires, and for selfish reasons above all. Whether you sell to consumers or businesses, people are people are people. It's been that way for millions of years.

And nothing's changed.

Your message is just a bunch of words. But words are symbols. Different words mean different things to different people. Look at this way: while a picture is worth a thousand words, a word is worth a thousand pictures.

And the words you choose can also be worth a thousand sales.

Categories
Copywriting

How to Extract Doubt From Your Sales Copy

A few years ago, something happened that provided incontrovertible proof of an infallible rule in copywriting. I knew it all along but never saw it proven to me in such a personal and direct way.

The one element that can transform flimsy, “yeah-right” copy into a sales-inducing powerhouse, is proof. Other than poor targeting, lack of proof is probably the greatest reason copy fails.

People are more educated and skeptical than ever. Everything readers see is suspect right from the start. They never believe anything at first, so to convert them into buyers you must first convert them into believers.

Persuasion has much less to do with selling than it has to do with building believability. It's about trust. You need to prove your case — and not just tell it or, worse yet, sell it. You need to provide proof. As much proof as you can muster.

Any kind. Every kind.

For instance, criminal cases win in court because of a preponderance of proof, and not just a little. Conversely, they also lose if there's reasonable doubt. That's all that's needed, and often it's not that much.

If there's reasonable doubt with your marketing message, you're going to lose the sale. Even if it's just a little. Or at best, you will only get a tiny fraction of what's possible in terms of sales, if any.

Case in point: before she passed away, my late wife was chronicling her breast cancer battle on her blog. She discussed the many hospital visits and tests she had to undergo, from MRIs to biopsies.

Soon after she started her blog, my wife posted the pathology results on her breast tissue along with the complete cancer diagnosis. She posted some of the medical terms discussed in her report, and what they meant — in general as well as to her, personally.

She included medical terms like “Intraductal Carcinoma in Situ,” “Multicentric Central Carcinoma,” “Lymphatic/Vascular Invasion,” “Invasive Tumor Necrosis,” “Modified Scarff Bloom Richardson Grade,” and more. She explained what each of them meant.

But to show how big this cancerous lump had grown, she posted a graphic (a simple circle, about the size of a baseball) that represented the actual size of the tumor, based on the dimensions described in the report.

In her blog post, she provided not one but three types of proof.

First, she provided factual proof. That is, she included actual medical terms, data, and numbers taken straight out of the pathology report.

Then, she provided evidential proof. That is, she included laboratory test results proving not only that she did have cancer, but also how big and advanced it was, and the fact that it has metastasized to her lymph nodes.

Finally, she provided perceptual proof. Facts and data are powerful proof elements. But with every one of them, she translated what those terms meant. For example, creating a graphic that demonstrated the size of the tumor was a part of it.

More importantly, she related what the data meant to her. While the data provided proof, my wife's story increased the perceived quality of that proof. It made it more credible by making the terminology easier to understand and internalize. And it made her story more concrete and real.

OK, back to my point.

Once my wife provided proof, the response to her blog shot up dramatically. It compelled people to respond. This doesn't mean they didn't believe her in her previous posts. But it did reduce if not eradicate any reasonable doubt.

This reminded me about all the elements of proof that can add more credibility and believability to your copy.

So I came up with a formula. I call it “FORCEPS.” Think of a pair of forceps, which is commonly used by surgeons for extracting. In this case, think of it as a way to “surgically extract” as much doubt as possible from your copy!

FORCEPS is an acronym that stands for:

  • factual
  • optical
  • reversal
  • credential
  • evidential
  • perceptual
  • And social

Let's take a look at what each one means.

1. Factual Proof

Factual proof is self-explanatory. Provide facts, figures, data, statistics, factoids, numbers, test results, dimensions, and so on. Facts of any kind about either the problem (i.e., anything that makes the problem more real and urgent in the mind of the reader) or the solution are powerful proof elements.

The more concrete and specific the fact, the more believable it is. For example, don't say “1,000 times greater.” Say “1,042 times.” Don't say “Hundreds of dollars.” Say, “347 dollars.” Avoid using rounded numbers or vague facts. Be specific.

2. Optical Proof

Lawyers argue that the strongest evidence is an eyewitness account. Similarly, optical (or visual) proof is the most powerful. Anything that can visually represent the product, the quality, the claims, or more importantly, the benefits gives your copy a strong advantage.

eBay reported that auctions with pictures have 400% more bids than those without pictures. Add a picture of your product or show it in action. (That's why videos are better.) Use different angles and lights, even with its original wrapping.

Best of all, use videos and before-and-afters. The more vivid the proof is and the more senses they engage, the more believable the proof will be.

With cosmetic surgeons, the most effective form of proof was showing before-and-after pictures of patients. They show not only the results but also the extent of those results through the element of contrast.

A business sells lighting fixtures. What did he do? He took a picture of a someone's living room with normal lighting in it, and then took a picture of the room with his product. Both unretouched pictures were placed, side by side, on his sales copy.

The contrast was obvious. The proof, astounding. The sales, significant.

3. Reverse Proof

Comparisons are powerful. That's why competitive analyses work so well. But this can apply to indirect competitors, too. For example, an airline's direct competitor is another airline. But an indirect competitor can be the train, automobile rental, bus, ship, etc.

But the best kind of comparison is the one that shows what can happen if people don't buy. I call it “reverse proof” because it shows the reverse effect, the potential downside in other words, if the prospect buys a competitor's product or fails to buy from you at all.

Some people call this comparing apples to oranges. You compare the price of your offer not against the price of a competitor's product (i.e., apples to apples) but against the ultimate cost of not buying yours.

For example, say you know someone who spent over $20,000 advertising a poorly written ad that had little to no response. If you sell a copywriting course for, say, $1,000, then you compare the price of your course to the cost of not knowing how to write copy.

In this case, you compare a small $1,000 investment to a potential $20,000 mistake.

4. Credentializing Proof

It's proof that demonstrate the credentials of the product, business, or person behind it. Education, expertise, certifications, associations, number of clients served, awards, mentions in the media, reviews, published articles or books, etc.

If you can namedrop someone who's a recognized authority in their field or even a known celebrity, and do it in an ethical and logical way, do so. Or better, ask them and let them do the talking for you.

In court cases, one of the most commonly subpoenaed witnesses are “expert witnesses.” Similarly, reviews from industry authorities, even endorsements from celebrities, though biased, also give your copy perceived objectivity.

For example, some of my clients have added to their copy scanned magazine covers in which articles by or about them appeared. Some even added the words “As Seen In…” before the logos of the publications.

Authoritative endorsements are powerful. A direct endorsement is one in which an authority directly endorses the product. But an indirect one is one in which there is perceived authority, or that the authority is implied, such as “9 out of 10 dentists agree.”

5. Evidential Proof

Evidential proof is evidence that compels us to accept an assertion as true. According to the dictionary, it's “a convincing or persuasive demonstration; or determination of the quality of something by testing or trial.”

Therefore, anything that can prove or test the validity of a claim, result, or promise, and anything that can justify, backup, or support a claim, in any way, is evidential proof. Like demonstrations, samples, trials, studies, tests, etc.

The author of Nothing Down, a book on how to buy property with no upfront money or collateral, Robert Allen was challenged to prove his claim. So he was randomly dropped him in the middle of nowhere with only $100 for food and water, and within 24 hours he bought several properties with nothing down.

Putting your claims to the test is evidential proof. This is similar to “controlled tests.” I'm not talking about the marketing kind. I mean tests that actually validate the process, the product, the results, the claims, etc.

You can do hard tests or soft tests. Hard tests are where you actually test your product to measure its quality. Soft tests are tests that do not directly validate the product but drive home a certain point about it or to prove an important benefit.

In the infomercial for a synthetic car oil called DuraLube, they had cars put up on cinder blocks, drained them completely of oil, and had the motor run until it seized. To fix the engine, one would have to invest in costly mechanical work.

Then they added one small bottle of DuraLube, drained it once more, and started the car, which was running on DuraLube's residue. Not only did the car start without any problems, but an elapsed timer showed the motor ran for hours without fail.

In the commercial for Oreck vacuum cleaners, they said their vacuums had unbelievable “hurricane force” suction. So they had the vacuum literally suck up a bowling ball. That's somewhat of a hard test.

The soft test was to show how lightweight it is (a benefit). So they placed the vacuum at one end of a large scale against the same bowling ball on the other. You saw the bowling ball plummet while the vacuum raised up in the air like a feather.

6. Perceptual Proof

Facts and figures can mean different things to different people. So perceptual proof helps to increase the perceived quality of the evidence, and strengthens how someone appreciates that evidence.

That's where anecdotes, stories, analogies, examples, metaphors, and personal accounts help to not only expand on and solidify the proof given, but also relate them to the reader and increase their level of appreciation.

My late wife didn't just list all the medical details and explained what they meant. She told them in the form of a story, and included a few metaphors to help her readers understand and appreciate what it meant to her. It made the proof more real and concrete.

7. Social Proof

We tend to give more credence to an idea or behavior when we see the masses approving or doing it. Social proof occurs when we make the assumption that others, especially by their numbers, possess more knowledge and therefore we deem their behavior as appropriate.

People tend to assume an idea is valid not by its objective evidence but by its popularity, following, or acceptance by others. The more people talk about it, endorse it, or buy it, the assumption is the more valid and relevant it must be.

Forms of social proof include testimonials, case studies, sales numbers, clientele size, number of endorsements, fan base size, and so forth. The more real you make them, the more believable they are (such as testimonials with audio, video, pictures, signatures, screenshots, graphs, etc).

Even the engagement level on blogs, forums, and social media are widely recognized and used as effective forms of social proof. If you have a post related to you, your product, or your business that's been liked and commented on by a large number of people, include it, too.

So, there you have it.

These are just some ideas. The bottom line is, the more proof you provide, and the more you backup your claims with proof of any kind, whether they are hard or soft, or objective or subjective, the more believable — and profitable — your copy will be.