Copywriting For MSPs – Part 15
Recap from Last Time :
Trajectory of Advertising – Volume of personal daily exposure to adverts
A lesson from antiquity – Ethos, Pathos, Logos
Memorable Mnemonic : U – R – G – E – N – T A – I – D – A
Using Facts & Personal History to Build Rapport
Last time, we finished on a note about including detail and specifics in your copy.
The point about being specific in your examples and case studies is that it makes the contents more believable. As an aside, one of the ways of identifying whethere someone is lying to you is if their language becomes very vague and unspecific – people don’t tend to include specifics within their lies for fear of tripping up and being caught out over the details.
When people lie, they often tend to be less specific in their descriptions and explanations and this vagueness can be a strategy to avoid being caught in a lie, as providing fewer details reduces the risk of inconsistencies or contradictions. 5 quick examples of this include :
1 – Avoiding Contradictions: By being vague, liars minimise the risk of their story being directly contradicted by facts or other people’s accounts.
2 – Reducing the Cognitive Load: Lying requires cognitive effort, especially when it involves fabricating a story. Being less specific reduces the complexity of the lie, making it easier to maintain.
3 – Flexibility in the Story: Vague statements allow liars more flexibility to change their story later if needed.
4 – Avoiding Detailed Scrutiny: Specific details invite closer examination and questioning, which can lead to the lie being uncovered.
5 – General Plausibility: Broad, non-specific statements are often more universally plausible and harder to disprove outright.
Anyway – I digress, just remember that being specific can lend some depth and credibility to your copy!
For example having a Testimonial saying “In December 2023, my company Advanced Accountants in Cardiff moved office and Geoff from Smarter IT wouldn’t go home until he was happy the wiring was perfect and it was close to 9pm by the time he left but he’d didn’t charge a penny more than his original quote, even when he was delayed by our team” is better than a non-specific “I recommend Geoff and Smarter IT”.
Equally, having the person listed as “Robert Taylor”, Director of Advanced Accountants www. Advancedaccountantscardiff.co.uk (and including contact details like Robert.taylor@ Advancedaccountantscardiff.co.uk etc) is infinitely better than simply “Robert, Cardiff” – which frankly just looks really suspicious.
On that note, whenever you’ve done a good job and someone is happy with you – try and remember to ask them to endorse you at the time because you’ll want to get plenty of Google reviews and it’s always easier when people are emotionally charged (in a positive way). There’s nothing stopping you pointing towards your Google reviews on a sales letter or brochure – they’re not restricted to websites. I’ve seen this plenty of times to good effect.
Show How You Handle Complaints.
On the subject of getting and displaying reviews, It’s important to show that you are ‘real’. Anyone in business for any period of time will screw-up occasionally. In fact, it can be a little bit suspicious if people don’t! If you see something online with hundreds of reviews and they’re all positive, studies have shown that people can actually have less faith in those reviews.
People don’t mind if you screw up occasionally (because we all do it). What they’re interested in is how you handle it and how you handle complaints. So, it’s vital that you demonstrate that when you make mistakes – that you deal with them quickly, courteously and effectively – because people will be reading your reviews and so how you handle any negative comments will definitely be judged.
In terms of a bit of effort (but effort that’s worth it), you could write a book – I have and it definitely helps. Anyone can write a book these days. Self-publishing Sites like lulu.com have revolutionised the publishing world and AI has helped with the actual writing which has historically been the main blocker for people. Being able to cite references in your own book can also add credibility.
Any book you read will often have loads of credibility and positioning pieces all over the cover – half of the cover and inside the first couple of pages are often endorsements from as high-status people as the author can muster. If you can get any endorsement from celebrities or people well-known and respected in your field early on in your content, that’d really help even more.
Even making sure you have a good testimonials from your suppliers for direct credibility is a great idea of course but less direct (yet no less valuable) is ensuring you have a good credit rating and have completed your annual submissions at Companies House – these are all things that business people will search on to check you out before doing business with you and so it’s all is all part of ensuring you are credible.
Okay, so that’s ‘T’ – i.e. ‘Testimonials’ outlined – where you try and establish your credibility as soon as possible – ideally with other assets too, such as accolades, awards, qualifications and suchlike.
Now we’ll look at ‘R’ – i.e. R : Reciprocity.
Reciprocity is another of Cialidini’s principles of influence. This principle states that people naturally tend to want to retain their goodwill by returning a favour they’ve been given. I guess it’s how we’re hardwired to function, it’s all part of being a social species where we’ve evolved to depend upon others to help us survive in the world.
You can create feelings of reciprocity in any number of ways in the physical world. What I’d term macro-gestures can include things such as giving people food and drink at events that you host. Or letting someone have a test-drive of a high-end car at a corporate event. You’ll have doubtless been part of these things and you can even feel the sense of obligation being thrust upon you, which is why some people simply don’t want to engage in the first place.
I once tried an experiment in Cheltenham High Street where I was giving away free samples for a client and I can attest that giving away things for free is a lot harder than it sounds – people often feel there’s a catch.
Micro-gestures can include trivial things such as buying someone a drink or even holding a door open for someone. Of course, these physical things aren’t present in sales copy, so examples in letters could be including a voucher or a pen or some other item within the envelope.
We’ll continue with this in the next section.
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