I follow marketing expert Marcia Yudkin, author of The Marketing Minute, and her latest marketing advice got me thinking. She begins with stating that your About page must address two crucial questions your prospects might wonder:
- Are you, in fact, good at what you do?
- Can I count on you to deliver as promised?
She goes on to state that your bio must include what marketers call “proof elements.” Without them, you have a trustworthiness gap.
So what are proof elements?
A proof element must provide an external indicator of competence and reliability. That means the proof must come from an outside source other than yourself or someone within your organization. Here are some examples and ways you can obtain and use your proof elements.
Types of Third-Party Proof Elements
Most websites have a page dedicated to testimonials. These are endorsements of a personal experience this person had with you or your company regarding quality and reliability. You should include the person’s name (or at least their initials and city), or a reference to the source, in every post to ensure that it is indeed an outside source. If you don’t have a testimonials page on your website, add one. People love to hear about other people’s experiences and trust their opinions. Testimonials can be written, or opt for video testimonials of your customers talking about their experience.
Reviews are testimonials that are posted on platforms other than your website. They are placed on these sites out of your control so they carry more credibility than testimonials posted on your site. Of course, you can use these testimonials on your website. You should encourage your clients and customers to leave positive reviews (always ask for “positive reviews” when requesting, and not just “a review.” Better yet, ask for a “five star review!), and offer them the link and instructions on how to do so. Choose sites that are important to your business, like Google My Business, Houzz, Bing, Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List, etc.
Everybody wants to share their story on social media, so use this to your advantage. Ask your customers and clients to share their positive story with your company and recommendations on using your organization on their social media. This is known as “social proof,” a psychological phenomenon where others both believe and follow your advice, or assume your actions in a given situation. Believe that others want to achieve the same results you have provided. Create fans of your company by posting regularly on your own social media.
Visual proof cannot be denied. Include photographs of your product or service in action, show results in a chart or graph, or post a video of how you made a difference. Show your product or service in action. Is it easy to use? Is there a visible effect? Look for ways to “show” and not “tell” about your expertise and delivery.
Statistics can come in many forms, and can come in the form of results, public ratings, awards, licenses, certifications, and third-party verifications. Post a visual like a graph of results if you are responsible for increasing web traffic, for example. Or link to awards and certifications you’ve received; post a list on your website and include it in your presentations. This all adds credibility and positive proof.
Positive Media Coverage
If you are fortunate enough to have a positive story published in a publication, use that in your marketing. Post a PDF or a link to the story on your website and your social media. Refer to the story in your monthly newsletter. Make copies of the features and include them in your presentation and leave-behind materials. When the press talks about you, you are instantly credible. Do not, however, refer to negative media coverage.
Case Studies and Project Stories
When your client has a great experience with you, ask them if you can write up their story and use it in your marketing. Give it a warm spin with a project story, or offer more technical “before and after” proof with a case study. Both of these options should include three sections:
- What was the situation before you got involved?
- What did you do to make a difference?
- What is the outcome as a result?
Stick to the Facts
Proof implies factual documentation. Think of a legal case. To prove the innocence or guilt of the accused, counsel on either side must provide factual proof. What are some of the ways you can prove that you are good at what you do, and that you can deliver as promised?
Let All the Buzz Help You Prove Your Expertise
We at All the Buzz work with business owners to create marketing copy that sells. Let us help you revamp your website copy, create your blog posts, or create the proof of expertise that will win customers. Contact us at info at allthebuzz.net.
You too can subscribe to Marcia Yudkin’s Marketing Minute, published each Wednesday. She is the author of Inspired!, Meatier Marketing Copy, and 15 other books.