Guest Column | April 9, 2018

Why Your Customers Are So Skeptical About Your Marketing Copy

By Victoria Greene, Victoria Ecommerce

Four T’s Of Marketing

Are you having a hard time getting your customers to believe in the marketing materials you’re giving them? Check these elements first; they’re exceptionally important and, if you’re not getting them right, find the time and resources needed to overhaul your marketing approach. Only then will you be able to make the most of your sales and keep customers coming back time and time again.

You write your promotional materials, send them out to your customer mailing list, then sit back brimming with confidence, awaiting the influx of sales, and … nothing much happens.

But your offers are great! Your products and services are top notch!

Regardless of the specific reason, people clearly don’t agree your value proposition is undeniable — and that’s a huge problem. You need to do everything you can to break down that wall because, if you can’t retain your customers, your business will suffer.

Following are reason your customers are reluctant to believe what you’re telling them in your marketing materials, as well as what you can do to change their minds.

They Don’t Trust You

Your customers aren’t your friends, and someone who has purchased something from you at least once doesn’t automatically trust your expertise and honesty as a result. It takes time and consistency to establish that kind of goodwill; there’s no way to force it.

As such, be very careful what you ask of them. Imagine an old friend asking if they can sleep on your couch for a few days, then imagine being asked by a friend you only made a week prior. You’d recoil from the latter for good reason; it would be unfair to ask so much so soon. It is only when you’ve given your customers a lot of value that they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

This kind of presumption is frustratingly rife. The most common version of it is the email popup prompt that shows up before you’ve even had a chance to read the page. Here’s an example from Good as Gold, a clothing retailer.

Kissmetrics astutely recommends providing a popup like that once someone has reached the end of a piece of content, but this had popped up by the time I reached the freshly-opened tab. Why? Did they really think I’d want to enter a prize draw despite having not actually having looked at their site? They lost their chance to win me over by asking for so much right away.

The lesson here is to commit to approaching your customers with care and sincerity for the full duration of your professional association, addressing their needs and desires to show them you genuinely do care about providing a good service. Do that and they’ll lower their guards — eventually, perhaps even to the extent they become your evangelist.

You’re Claiming Too Much

Deep down, we all like a bit of salesmanship. It’s always nice to feel like our attention is desired (even if we’re only wanted for our money), and it’s richly entertaining to experience a slick pitch that almost makes us believe some particular product will make us happy.

But a little goes a long way and it’s all too easy to take claims so far they have a counterproductive effect. Tell them your product will solve some of their problems and they’ll be interested, but act like it will solve all their problems and they’ll just stop listening.

You’re probably familiar with the sort of ridiculous ad, such as this one courtesy the hilarious Easy Work Home Jobs, which heavily implies you too can be a pretty lady smiling about her huge pile of cash — all for FREE! And FROM HOME!

There’s a reason people make ads like this — they get clicks — but it’s all part of a scammy, pump-and-dump approach. People get burned and they don’t come back. Such silliness is wholly unworkable when it comes to people you actually want to stick around.

So by all means spin something of a tall tale, but stay within the realm of plausibility and don’t stray too far from the legitimate and demonstrable core appeal of whatever you’re selling because that should always be at the heart of your marketing.

You’re Not Arguing Your Case

Some people may be fond of the saying, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics,” but they probably still get swayed by them. There’s just something about adding fractions or percentages to a piece of rhetoric that makes it overwhelmingly more convincing — if done correctly.

Really, we want to feel our purchasing decisions are rational even when some part of us knows they’re not, and citing studies and surveys is an excellent way of helping your customers overcome that inner voice telling them to doubt everything they’re told.

Reviews and testimonials are another way to make your case. If people see you perform consistently enough to deliver excellent experiences and warrant top ratings from a variety of customers, they’ll be far less reluctant to buy what you’re selling.

As a staunch e-commerce advocate I’ve seen sites that do this poorly, but also plenty that do it well. I particularly like how Shopify markets itself. It shows testimonials to inspire confidence, then uses the sheer weight of the numbers to really bring the point home that this a service people can, should, and do trust.

Another good example comes from Jungle Scout which displays Trustpilot reviews on their homepage.Even if Trustpilot is not common in the SaaS world, the crowdsourced nature of their content and their credibility as a review platform lends Jungle Scout a helping hand. A great example of how having a multi-channel marketing strategy pays off when it comes to being taken seriously. We may make a lot of our purchasing decisions alone, but we’re tribal beasts at heart and the opinions of others have a lot of sway over our habits.

You’re Not Positive Enough

When you unwrap a Christmas gift to find a pair of scratchy, vomit-yellow socks but don’t wish to appear ungrateful, you cover your disappointment in a wafer-thin veneer of enthusiasm. “Oh, socks! Great! No, they’re really useful! Thank you!” No one believes it, though.

Similarly, no one believes the vague enthusiasm of someone marketing a product or service they seemingly don’t really think is great. Even worse than excessive salesmanship is no salesmanship at all — just someone saying, “Here is what we sell, it does the following things, you can buy it if you’d like, or don’t, meh.”

Whatever your opinion of Twinkies (I’m a huge fan, and possibly more huge than I should be as a direct result), you can’t deny Hostess exudes confidence in their products.

If you don’t believe your proposition is fantastic, you probably need to offer something better; but if you do believe it, then maybe you’re just not letting that conviction show in your marketing copy. Maybe you, like many people, are simply reluctant to be pushy about anything. You just want to list the details and then leave people to decide.

But as noted earlier, people like some salesmanship. They enjoy seeing and hearing businesses talk passionately about what they do, and they want to believe that those businesses can make their lives easier. So give them what they want.

About The Author

Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing expert and freelance writer who knows how valuable a loyal customer can be. You can read more of her work at her blog Victoria Ecommerce.