PROVE IT! by Rich


Like everyone else, I get bombarded daily with emails attempting to interest me in some service or product. As a marketing professional I’m fascinated by what these “marketers” are doing.

There’s a famous formula – there are different versions of it – called AIDCA – for Attract attention, build Interest, build Desire, build Confidence, and call for Action. It’s been called the most general possible formula for marketing.

Marketing emails almost universally fail on the “C” step.

No sale occurs without trust. This applies to all marketing anywhere. It isn’t just about your email marketing, it’s about your website, your truck signs, brochures, email signatures. Any “touch point” – where you’re visible to the world you are trying to reach.

Everyone has been burned, lied to over and over.  Most people start out, not just doubting what anyone says about anything – but with a chip on their shoulder. It’s like playing a football game where you always start deep in your own end zone.

So what do you do?


How do you build trust or confidence in what you want them to believe? You’re dealing with someone who has never heard of you, doesn’t know you. They may not be at all familiar with your product or service.  What’s worse, you’re not having a live conversation with them.

You prove it.

Don’t just say it. Why should they believe you?

Why does everyone love word-of-mouth and referral business?  The third-party endorsement conveys trust. This is behind what is now being called “Influencer Marketing” which is simulated word-of-mouth. But many businesses can’t depend on those 3rd party endorsements to deliver enough new business.

So what is one to do?




Here are some statements that will do absolutely nothing to build trust:

“A leading provider of ….”

“Top rated….”

“Top quality….”


Every one of these, and many more, have the same problem: “So YOU say.”

Why should anyone believe you? In short, you are asking them to trust your assertion that you can be trusted.

Kind of blows that approach out of the water, doesn’t it?

“But we really ARE the best in the business.

Uh hunh.



Perhaps your email or other communication starts out with some sort of residual trust. At least the viewer may HOPE that you will be believable and trustworthy.

You can rapidly destroy any hope of establishing trust.  Such gross goofs as mis-spellings, grammatical errors and illogical and unprofessional statements – and they’re gone. Or send from a gmail account and say “top-rated professionals.” It doesn’t make sense.

So that is square one. At least LOOK like something legitimate.



Assuming then you’ve gotten this far, how DO you build trust. Well, I already gave away the punch line: PROVE IT.  But how do you prove it? By test, here are the main successful actions:

  1. Testimonials. Any testimonial is better than no testimonial, but long, story-like testimonials are better than short ones. Video testimonials are the best of all.
  2. Awards.
  3. Certifications.
  4. Case studies, with graphs.
  5. Google reviews (as well as other sites such as Yelp, Bing).
  6. Information that backs up what you say. You say your software has more options than any of the competition – show us with images of screens. Even better, with free live demos.
  7. Personalization. Actual names of people, photos and bios, physical addresses, pictures of actual office locations. All these tend to establish that you are really real, legitimate.

I think of a prospective customer as like a skittish horse. They are easily scared away. Do everything you can to make them trust you and you’ll win.

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