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How to Get Others to Persuade Your Prospects to Buy from You

By Erin  |  August 17, 2012  |   How To | Website Copywriting

Word of Mouth

I'd estimate that roughly 9 out of 10 of our new clients instantly reply "word of mouth" when we ask them what source brings them their highest quality leads and customers.

Indeed, you'd be hard pressed to argue that word of mouth advertising isn't exceptionally persuasive. Even the most recent Global Trust in Advertising Report from Nielsen Media Research points to the power of word of mouth. Nielsen surveyed over 28,000 people; 92% of respondents stated that they trust recommendations from family and friends more than other forms of advertising.

It's not surprising, really. When a friend tells you she's absolutely in love with her new mountain bike, you pay close attention—especially if you're in the market for a mountain bike.

While it's impossible for businesses to have total control over word of mouth recommendations passed from friend to friend, businesses can come close to recreating the word of mouth experience by being smart with their website's copy.

I'll explain how in a moment.  First, let's rewind for just a quick second and take another look at that Nielsen survey again.

A couple more fascinating facts about trust

Yes—word of mouth advertising is the most trusted, but respondents also trusted:

  • Consumer opinions posted online: 70%
  • Editorial content such as newspaper articles: 58%

I'm going to go ahead and take an educated guess that the copy on your website clearly highlights the benefits of your business's products and/or services. (It hopefully also details your value proposition and how you solve your customers' problems, but we're not talking about those things today.)

While content about products, services, and benefits is critical, it's often not persuasive enough to get a large number of your website visitors to take action.  So what can you do?

Here's today's huge tip:

If you're serious about maximizing the effectiveness of your website, it's vital to strengthen and augment what your website claims with what others say. You must give proof that you're as great as you claim.

So how, exactly, can you strengthen your claims and emulate these 2 social forms of persuasion? By ensuring your website includes an additional layer of persuasion in the form of third party proof.

How to add third party proof

Here's how you can add that powerful extra layer of persuasion, in the form of third party proof, to your website:

  • Research the research. If you're selling commercial security systems, find the information that proves a commercial security system can save tens of thousands in lost inventory and insurance premiums. Include facts and figures from other sources and place this research prominently on key sales pages on your website.
  • Find media citations. Smart businesses make sure their websites include logos of media outlets where their company has been featured. This helps to build trust and trust is a pillar of persuasion. If your business hasn't been featured directly, be creative. Let's say you run a Pilates studio and you suddenly remember how Oprah mentioned on her show how much she loved Pilates—consider adding that juicy, persuasive fact into your website to promote how great pilates really is.
  • Harvest testimonials. Just as it would be difficult for a ski resort to get too much snow, it would be difficult for a website to have too many testimonials (so long as they're properly organized and displayed). To get the most benefit out of your testimonials, make sure they're directly relevant to the content on the pages in which you've placed them.  Even better, try to include a photo with each testimonial. A page full of video testimonials is also powerful.
  • Collect reviews from other websites. People share their thoughts with others across the internet at social sharing sites like TripAdvisor.com, LinkedIn.com, and Yelp.com. Locate the great things people are saying about you at some of these sites and integrate them into your own site. If you're a professional speaker and you've written a book that's garnered glowing reviews on Amazon, transplant some of those reviews to your website (along with the stars!).
  • Create your own editorial content. This is huge. It's also easier said than done.  Maintain a blog and write articles for your website. Publicize this content through social media. Prove your expertise. Prospective customers often equate your articles with articles they read in the newspaper and online. Remember that Nielsen survey: people trust editorial content such as newspaper articles. You (or your professional web copywriter) can write exciting editorial-style content so it looks and reads like a newspaper article. There's a fantastic bonus with this tip: when you include the right keywords and properly optimize your content, your blogs and articles provide a significant SEO advantage boost, too.

A simple example

website with multiple testimonialsYour website's visitors may not read all your testimonials, but the message you make, loud and clear, when your site is filled with positive reviews, is "Lots of people trust this company. That means you can trust us, too."

We buy if we trust

We buy from companies we trust. We often trust companies based on recommendations from people we trust. This is exactly why a key to persuasion is proving that you can be trusted to deliver what you say you're going to deliver. Not sure you can create that type of content for your company's website? An expert web copywriter can help you research, write, and organize persuasive website content that comes as close as you can get to that all-important word-of-mouth advertising.

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