When visitors are making a decision about whether or not to buy, their “shields are up.”
They’re watching carefully for any sign you might be a jerk, a crook, or just not able to deliver on your promises.
They need you to soothe their unspoken anxieties and objections.
This doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, a powerful way to make this happen is something you’re probably already doing on your blog.
The key is to show your prospect the person (or people) standing behind the offer. Put a human face and some credibility-based context on that sales message.
Readers want to know who they’re dealing with — and why they should trust that person. It’s up to you to communicate it in an effective and engaging way.
Let’s talk about three strategies for building sales-driving credibility into your copy.
1. The “about me” approach
This is probably the most recognizable credibility-building tool, because you see it everywhere.
Blogs have an “About” page, and many sales pages have some variation of the Who Am I And Why Should You Listen To Me? theme.
But you can also use a little more subtlety when introducing yourself to your buyers.
Using a “Why I created this product” approach, you can weave your own story into your sales material, by combining details about your experience and credentials with benefit-driven copy that reduces your readers’ resistance to buying.
Explain what you’re doing for clients, how your approach addresses the results you deliver to those clients, and then segue into your sales message.
For example, a copywriting course sales page could build credibility like this:
After spending a decade building a reputation for writing high-conversion copy for clients like (name) and (name), I decided to start teaching my evergreen copywriting strategies to others so they could grow their own businesses …
You’d then lead into a brief story about how you have effectively served your copywriting customers.
You can see how the credibility factors (10 years of experience, name dropping of high-profile clients) merge with the desired outcomes (evergreen strategies, high conversion), and let you build trust without feeling like a hype machine.
By involving the reader in a bit of history (or even what’s happening with present customers), you can satisfy the “about me” section by wrapping it in details that are really about them and the outcome they’re looking for.
It seems like they’re getting a story about you. But what they’re really getting is confirmation that you can meet their needs.
2. The “reluctant hero” approach
Another strategy is the story of the “unintentional product.” This works by setting up a backstory where the product producer starts gaining a reputation for creating results … and then other people begin clamoring to know how to make it happen for themselves.
The reluctant hero is a storytelling archetype, and you may think that makes this approach formulaic or contrived. But assuming your story is both compelling and true (yes, it needs to be both), the reluctant hero story is an extremely effective credibility generator.
Here’s an example from my own past:
I started out as a personal development coach who began learning how to create and launch my own information products, Third-Tribe style before there was a name for that way of doing things.
After a while, my blogging friends began asking me how I was making such strong sales with my products. As I showed them, they started telling people about it. Word got around, and I started getting more calls and emails about launching products than I did about personal development. I decided to create a training manual on how to write and sell ebooks … and the rest is history.
The “reluctant hero” approach lets you humanize your accomplishments, weave a story that creates a connection with your audience, and gets readers to see you as a natural fit for what they need.
3. The customer-as-proof approach
A third (and highly effective) strategy is to make successful customers the focus of your credibility-building story.
After all, why talk about yourself when you can talk about the stunning results your customers have created … and generate credibility by association?
You see this all the time when people say things like “using this system, my client generated $5 million in sales in a down economy.” By pointing to the successful results other people have experienced, the product (as well as the creator) gains instant credibility without having to overtly claim “I’m qualified.” When example is stacked upon example, the sense of credibility is continually heightened.
Every time you receive a results-based testimonial, consider weaving it into your sales message as more than just a yellow box with a picture in it. Make it part of the story around what your product can truly do.
The more examples you have for your reader to see your product’s results, the less “selling” you’ll have to do, because each story reinforces your credibility. And you take advantage of another copywriting cornerstone — making it easy for your prospect to visualize herself as a customer.
What’s your favorite credibility builder?
These aren’t the only ways to establish credibility in a sales page, but for the aspiring copywriter, they’re a great start. If you’ve got another strategy that’s a personal favorite, please share it in the comments below and let us get to know a little more about you and your story.