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Why You Must “Prove” Everything You Say in Your Advertising — And How To Do It

The fact is, everything you yourself say in your sales messages will be viewed with skepticism. But what other people say about you and your company will be about 100 times more believable. Consider infomercials. Why do you think they have all those people popping up every few minutes singing the praises of the product? Because it works! It increases sales. And the infomercial people know that. They have to in such a high-stakes game. It often costs $100,000 or more to produce and test one of these programs.

There’s no room for error or omission of anything important to closing the sale. So, you need to include as much proof as possible. Testimonials, statistics, government reports, articles, celebrity endorsements, signed affidavits, and anything else you can think of. In a direct-mail package, you could also include a sample of your product (if it demonstrates well).
For example: a small vial of cleaner, a scratchproof lens, etc. There’s no limit to the amount of credibility you should use. If you have 100 letters from people saying you’re the best, use them all (if it makes sense). In fact, I’ve often suggested to people who don’t have the time or skill to write copy … or the budget to hire a good copywriter … that they just send a short cover letter and a huge three-ring binder full of testimonials. That may be a little hard to do if you’re selling a $19.95 widget or information product. But if your product or service runs in the hundreds or thousands of dollars, you may be able to do it. You’ll have to run your numbers to know.
Even with low per-unit prices, however, you could probably do this: Have a small (5 x 8) booklet printed up — 25-100 pages — loaded with testimonials. Use a smaller typeface … say, 8-point or 10-point. This booklet would be cheaper to produce and mail than the binder. If you have a good product, you should have tons of testimonials. If you don’t have them, go out and get them. There are many good and useful ways to generate testimonials.
Every customer-service call, for example, offers an opportunity for one. (Even if it comes in as a complaint, you can — and should — change the customer’s feelings from negative to positive … and then get him to give you a quotation.) And using testimonials is only one way of establishing credibility.
There are many others — expert endorsements, awards, academic credentials, newspaper and magazine quotes, etc. Use your imagination. Start today and brainstorm how you can provide overwhelming proof that what you have is indeed the best of the best. It could mean the difference between your promotions losing … or winning big!
(Editorial Note: Scott Haines is the editor of ETR’s Monthly Marketing Genius, which gives you access to secrets and techniques responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in sales revenue. Visit Scott’s copywriting-resource website at