These days prospects read your marketing materials with a very skeptical eye. And who can blame them? They’re constantly bombarded by spam, inflated claims and flat-out lies.
What should you do to counter the deep suspicion that YOUR emails and sales letters are greeted with? The best advice is your mom’s . . . “Always tell the truth.”
Obvious, you say? Not at all.
Your standard-issue direct mail guru will tell you that you need to use tricks and schemes that will fool the prospect and let you slip in under their radar.
For example, in a recent issue of a well-known publication, one such direct mail expert stated that he “prefers a stealth creative style for (his) clients’ efforts. This includes the use of bar codes and important sounding copy teasers to give the impression of an official notice.”
This is wrong! First of all, it’s wrong, plain and simple, to deceive anyone, EVER. Who wants to base business success on a lie?
Second, it IS possible to get someone to open an envelope by using deception. But what happens then? In three seconds the prospect has opened the envelope, glanced at your letter, and discovered that he or she has been conned. A bad result because nobody likes to be fooled or lied to.
Yes. In the bad old days, when prospects weren’t used to getting tons of junk mail, and general education levels were lower, lots of people were fooled by dishonest tactics.
Today, people are more sophisticated and far less credulous. Which means you face an angry backlash if you even SEEM dishonest.
The right way to proceed is to provide the reader with real benefits that solve problems and reduce “pain.” But there are also specific things you can do to overcome skepticism and get the prospect on your side. Here are just seven of them:
1. Stress the fact that your offer has no strings attached.
Very important. Your readers want to know that if they respond, they won’t be hounded in the future. For example, if you’re offering a free report as a lead-generation offer, be sure to say: “No risk, no obligation, nothing to buy.”
2. Offer a guarantee
Nothing reassures a prospect more than the knowledge that they can get a refund if they’re unhappy with your product or service.
3. Use testimonials
One of the most powerful marketing tools you have at your disposal doesn’t cost a penny. I’m talking about testimonials. You see, candid comments from satisfied customers who have used your product or service have credibility that money can’t buy. YOU can make claims about your product all day long, but your prospects know they’re self-serving. On the other hand, rave reviews from objective users carry a LOT of weight and can help you boost sales.
4. Meet skepticism head on
For example, let’s say you want the prospect to download your software for a free trial and you know they may be thinking that you’re offering a crippled version. Be very direct, anticipate their concern, and tell them what’s going on: “We’re not going to send you a light-weight, watered- down, ‘junior’ version of our software. You’re going to receive the actual, fully-functional working product that’s setting the pace for the entire industry. Don’t miss this incredible FREE trial offer!”
5. Offer “Proof”
Instead of merely asserting that that your product is the greatest, tell the prospect NOT to believe you and to check things out personally. Example: “But don’t take my word for how terrific Anonotech really is. All I ask is the chance to prove that we can solve some of the toughest problems you face every day. In just five minutes, we can show you how you can . . .”
6. Make a personal promise
If you believe in your product, lay your own credibility on the line. How about ending a sales letter this way: “AnonotechPlus is a product you really have to see to believe. It will transform the way you work and make your life a whole lot easier. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed when you put it to the test, risk free. In fact, I personally guarantee it!”
7. Don’t use asterisks or “small print”
They make your readers think that you’ve got something to hide. Instead of using an asterisk, bite the bullet and tell people the “catch” right there in the body copy.
The take-away messages? First, be aware that your prospects are extremely skeptical and that this is a BIG problem. Second, take active steps to reduce their doubts and mistrust. If you keep your eyes on the prize and work hard to overcome their skepticism, response rates will soar.