Establish Credibility to Increase Readership and Response
When a prospect pulls your direct mail postcard or flyer out from their mailbox, he or she will ask a series of questions:
- What is being advertised?
- Is it something I need?
- If it’s something I need, who is offering it?
The last question – who is offering it? – brings your credibility into the spotlight and makes your reputation essential. It’s also a double edged sword – you need to reveal just the right amount of information, all without wasting valuable space.
Many marketers overthink the process of building credibility, dedicating lots of copy to talking about their company and its reputation – copy that’s often better spent on a product’s benefits and unique features.
The good news is that you don’t need to use a huge amount of your postcard’s space to build credibility. In fact, you can establish credibility in a single sentence or less by answering any of the following questions:
- How long have you been in business?
- How many products or units have you sold?
- Do you have any third-party seals of approval, awards or certificates?
- Are there any independent survey results (like J.D. Power) that favor you?
- How many customers do you have?
- Do your customers recommend your product or service?
All of these questions have one thing in common: they use other people’s perception of your business to create credibility. Very few people will trust your own opinion of your business, but many people will listen when other people speak for you.
A third-party seal of approval or a recommendation in a trusted magazine is a clear statement of your business’s credibility. It’s highly effective because it comes from a third party instead of directly from your business.
Likewise, a statement about how long your company has been in business is a clear indicator of its credibility. After all, people wouldn’t continue doing business with a company that isn’t trustworthy, especially not for several decades.
One of the most effective ways to establish credibility is to be extremely specific in explaining why your business is trustworthy. The more specific you are, the bigger the effect on prospective customers.
For example, pretend you’re trying to market a remodeling business called Acme Remodeling. The company has been in business since 1968 and has helped over 1,400 customers remodel and renovate their homes.
A statement such as “We pride ourselves on having helped numerous local homeowners in our long history” talks about your business’s history and its customer satisfaction, but it isn’t specific.
Because it isn’t specific, people are less likely to believe it than they would be if it listed specific examples that establish credibility.
A specific statement such as “We’ve been in business since 1968 and have helped over 1,400 happy customers remodel their homes” says a lot more about your business. It provides a real date, a real number, and a real outcome for prospects to consider.
It also eases a prospect’s nerves about working with your business. 1,400 people are unlikely to be wrong about your business, after all. The more specific you can make your messaging, the more effective it will be in establishing credibility.
When your business’s target customers receive a direct mail postcard, how likely is it that they will trust your business? A short statement explaining why you’re worth trusting can go a surprisingly long way in establishing credibility with prospects.