December 22, 2014
Many times the difficulty with PPC is that users don’t know and trust your company yet.
You could run the most trustworthy company in the world, but because users only know of your company via an online search, they automatically give you the same level of trust they would if Bernie Madoff told them he had a great investment opportunity.
But what can you do? You can’t literally go and visit every potential customer and show them that your company is the real deal. Besides, you use PPC because it allows your company to reach so many potential new customers at scale, which is important to a growing business. So you continue to send users to your current landing page, and they continue to think you are going to rip them off.
You try to gain their trust by informing users that your company has “satisfied customers” and your company is a “market leader”, but the users don’t believe you. Since they don’t believe you, they don’t convert, and since they don’t convert your company doesn’t achieve the goal of PPC, which is to achieve a profit.
No matter what you try your company cannot seem to achieve a level of trust with the customer, and you are considering giving up – but you don’t have to, there is a solution that you can implement today.
Your Problem: Your Claims Are Generic and Mean Nothing
The problem is that many landing pages make essentially the same claims, and many of these claims don’t actually mean anything. Think about it from your own experience, if a company states that it has “world class customer service” – do you believe them? What about when a company has other generic claims like it is “cutting edge”, that it is “best in industry” or my favorite “the number one” – none of these claims actually mean anything and for that reason, any company can and will claim them. Users see these claims so much that they are essentially background noise – you need to give these claims some teeth and make them real to the user.
Solution – Replace Or Substantiate and Demonstrate Generic Claims With Concrete Numbers
I stumbled upon this solution out of necessity – I have a client who uses a landing page to provide an eBook in exchange for lead generation information (the usual fields: name, email and phone). Usually this process is a Shawn Kemp style slam dunk for my company – create the eBook image, put in a great value proposition of why the eBook is beneficial to the user and keep the landing page as simple as possible. However, we ran into a problem because though my client’s company is very credible, they are a relatively unknown company that is part of an industry not exactly associated with trust in this day and age – the financial industry.
What I needed was a way to factually show that the company was trustworthy. I began to think of what resonates with me and I realized: numbers are a way to verifiably demonstrate to the customer that they are a trustworthy company. Here are some examples of what I mean:
- Instead of the generic “we help a variety of business across different industries” a company could instead verifiably demonstrate that claim by stating “we helped 11,259 companies across 36 different business verticals”.
- Instead of the generic “our customers love us” a company could verifiably demonstrate the claim by stating “we have a 95% customer retention rate”
- Instead of the generic “we have a lot of ice cream flavors” a company can (and has) verifiably demonstrated this claim by stating “we have 31 flavors”.
To test out my “numbers theory” I created a variable cluster split test where I replaced many of the generic claims on their current page with numbers. Here are some examples from the landing page:
- The generic “we pride ourselves on being reliable” was replaced with “30 years of retirement planning experience”. 30 years was used as a proxy for a reliable company. Staying in business for 30 years shows that you haven’t been run out of town, sued to bankruptcy, or run such a poor business that you close.
- Many of the bullet points in the copy were generic so I pulled numbers from the eBook to make the actual solution the eBook offers as well as the problems addressed in the eBook concrete (the authors cite all of their sources in the eBook). For example it used to say “learn how to plan for the rising costs of medicare” and now it says “A 65-year-old couple retiring this year with Medicare coverage will need about $240,000 to pay for medical expenses throughout retirement, excluding nursing-home care.”
- I even changed the generic “Free eBook” to “Free 18 Page eBook”.
The result was a 400% conversion rate increase in 6 days! (and that is a number that both my client and I like!)
How To Find the Claims That Are Generic And Replace Or Substantiate And Demonstrate Them
1. Find the claims that are generic
Look at your landing page with the fresh eyes of a user. Imagine that you are seeing the page for the first time and that you know nothing of the company. What looks bogus or doesn’t actually resonate with you? Next think about marketing speak and locate those types of terms – for example if you have any of these terms you may want to consider replacing them:
- “Thought leader”
- “Number one”
- “Re-invent the wheel”
2. Replace the generic claims or support these claims with numbers
Find the data that supports your claims. There is a reason that these claims are on your landing page. Find the data that logically backs and substantiates your claims. For example, you may in fact be number one in your industry, but what numbers back it up? Are you the number one in response to customer support inquiries and if so what is the average response time of your nearest competitor vs. your team? Are you number one in customer retention – is so what is your customer retention percentage?
3. A/B test
Create a version of the landing page with the new numbers and split test it vs. the generic claims. For my company the numbers produced an incredible result, but like anything else I am sure there are exceptions to the rule. There could be an audience that is swayed by generic claims, or you could have a page that is too overloaded with numbers and has no appeal to emotion – either way it is always better to test it out and see for yourself?
How have you built trust with new audiences that are just discovering your company for the first time via PPC?