In part 1 of this mini series on How Not To Suck I talked about bragging. To brag or not to brag, that is the question. The simple answer is to ask what purpose any bragging would serve.
The only way to know that is to put yourself in the shoes of your prospect. Testimonials are a form of bragging, and even now with all the social proof we know works, there’s still a question mark over the use of testimonials.
For example, you don’t see testimonials on 99.99999999% of products in supermarkets (when did you ever see a testimonial on the side of a tin of beans?). But you DO see them on new products – although it’s not so ‘in-your-face’ (eg. “78 of 103 people said XYZ worked for them”).
And if you go to any major online shop, you’ll find reviews everywhere (another form of bragging – especially when they’ve been filtered in some way).
My point is, bragging is vital, but needs careful thought. We’re all looking for short-cuts (it’s in our DNA to be economical with energy) and the fastest short-cut to decision making is to ask the audience.
So what ‘careful thought’ do you need? It’s the same answer – ask the audience. That’s what we’re doing when we check out a product and look at its reviews, so when deciding what testimonials will work best (or any other sort of bragging), we ask our audience.
If their top desire is to own a supercar no matter what it takes, then we need testimonials from people who used our system to get themselves a supercar (our bragging now acts as proof, and is acceptable because the proof is from 3rd parties).
If their top desire is to find a copywriter who can write sales copy that converts better than their current copy, then we need testimonials from people whose purpose was the same.
To cut a long story short, if your testimonials (or bragging) are not aligned with the purpose of your prospects, no one will hear it (and always prefer 3rd party bragging over doing it yourself).
Read part 3 here.
I've spent my working life starting and running a whole variety of businesses, from my first QPL Express Couriers where I travelled over 100,000 miles every year delivering packages on a motorcycle (along with a whole bunch of colleagues) to Accountz.com which made a major in-road in the UK, to ProofMEDIA my current business that focuses on Copywriting and the International Copywriters Association, which showcases copywriting and copywriters to the world.
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