Elements of a Strong Guarantee:
The Three R's

We asked space ad copywriting pro (and Masters Student) Michael Samonek to let us in on some secrets to writing strong direct-response guarantees. Here's the result of our interview …

TGT: What would you say are the most important elements of a strong guarantee?

MS: There are three that I always use. Each of these elements is suggested by the letter "R", so they're easy to remember …

  1. Risk-free. Your guarantee must state, in black and white, that your customer's purchase is risk-free. These two words speak volumes about your confidence in your product.
  2. Refund Regardless of Reason. Your guarantee must convey to your prospect that his money will be returned quickly – for any reason whatsoever.
  3. Reign of guarantee. Tell your prospect exactly how long your product is covered by your guarantee. The longer the guarantee, the greater your response will be.

TGT: Tell us a little bit about the types of guarantees you use.

MS: There are four basic types of guarantees that I use in my ads. Each one eliminates one more level of risk – until the prospect can actually profit from returning the product!

  1. The Basic Guarantee. You simply offer the prospect his money back if he returns the product within a certain time period.
  2. The "Karbo" or "Pay-Only-If-It-Works" Guarantee. Now it starts to get interesting. This type of guarantee tells the prospect that he can try the product first – and then pay for it. Joe Karbo (its originator) made millions with this guarantee.
  3. The "Keep-All-the-Bonuses-Free" Guarantee. You let the prospect keep his free bonuses – even if he returns the product for a full refund. This technique works like a charm to increase response rates.
  4. The "Better-Than-Money-Back" Guarantee. Not only do you guarantee satisfaction, you take it three steps further…

    • The customer gets a 100% refund plus shipping costs.
    • The customer keeps the unsatisfactory merchandise. (The only "but" is that they must give it to someone who can use it.)
    • The customer gets $10.00!

    This guarantee is great for high-ticket items. Use it, or a variation of it, with discretion.

TGT: Any other words of advice?

MS. Yes. Here's a bonus for you – a list of 10 "power phrases" to incorporate into your guarantees:

  1. No-risk trial offer.
  2. Unconditional money-back guarantee.
  3. No hassles – no long waiting.
  4. Guaranteed for life!
  5. 365-day guarantee.
  6. Double your money back.
  7. Send no money now.
  8. 100% money back plus $10.00 just for trying it.
  9. 100% money back, but you keep the free bonuses.
  10. Postdate your check for 31 days.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: September 10, 2001

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