Oh Yeah? Prove it

Making a claim without backing it up…

It’s one of the most common mistakes a new copywriter can make.

I know because I used to do it quite a bit.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Let’s say you’re writing a sales letter promoting a dating service. It might be tempting to say something like this:

ABC Speed Dating Service will save you time and frustration. Never again will you waste an entire evening talking to someone you have no interest in romantically.”

Here you’re telling your reader something that sounds pretty good, but you offer no proof that it’s actually true. You have to back it up somehow.

For example you could say something like:

ABC Speed Dating Service will you save time and money. Our patented ABC Assembly Line Dating System allows you to screen ten potential dates in less than an hour. Then you (and the other ten people) rank your three top dating choices. If any of the three people you selected also put you in their top three, you’re given each other’s email address so you can arrange your first date. Because you’ve already indicated you’re attracting to each other, it greatly reduces the odds of you having to spend an entire evening talking to somebody you have no interest in romantically. And we all know how frustrating that can be.”

There are other ways to prove it of course. You could use a testimonial. For instance, you could say:

ABC Speed Dating Service will save you time and frustration. Jill Wilson from Laguna Beach California had this to say about our patented ABC Assembly Line Dating System, “I went on my lunch hour and was able to talk to ten potential dates. Theodore and I hit it off immediately. We arranged to see each other that very night. With other dating services it seems to take forever to find someone who you’re compatible with. But not ABC Dating. Thanks to you, Theodore and I are getting married July 24th and Theodore Jr. is already on the way.”

Instead of using a testimonial, you could relate a personal experience of the person whose signature will be on your sales letter. It has to be true obviously.

You could also choose to cite a statistic, study or survey. For example, you could write:

ABC Speed Dating Service will save you time and frustration. According to a recent study done by Fabio and Sons, active daters found our patented ABC Assembly Line Dating System reduced the time spent searching for a compatible date by 81% compared to other regular dating services. This means you’ll never have to suffer the frustration of spending an entire date night talking to someone who finds you unappealing (and vice versa).”

So as rule of thumb, whenever you make a claim — back it up with proof...or an example.

Next letter you write make a point of going over it looking specifically for unproved claims. Find a way to back them up. And if you can’t back them up, delete them from your copy.

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Published: April 1, 2009

3 Responses to “Oh Yeah? Prove it”

  1. I Agree, you do need back up. One thing that I don't understand is the long letter to AWAI'S Accelerated Program for 6 figure Copy writing. A couple statements made, one a person stocks cans at a grocery store for 6.50/hr. Or one just out of personal bankruptcy. How can they afford this???

    Son Of The South

  2. These are examples of people who found a way to learn copywriting … and were able to turn their lives around. AWAI Co-founder Paul Hollingshead is the “person stocking cans” you read about. That’s how he earned a living before he discovered copywriting. The program wasn’t around at that time. He learned copywriting directly from Michael Masterson. The person who was in personal bankruptcy … well …we’ve had a few people in that situation. And, they figured out a way to get the $39 together to order the first installment either by making a sacrifice, borrowing money, or setting “paying for the program” as one of their goals. Monica Day is another person for whom the $39 initial payment was a challenge. She realized the investment was worth the risk and sacrifice … and says today it was the best decision she ever made.

    Katie Yeakle

  3. Hi,

    When I got started in this business, I was eating minute 30 second microwave corndogs and bought deodorant with all pennies. I had a date with a model and picked her up in a smoke bomb car!

    I clawed, scratched and bought every little book or piece of info I could. I had some money in savings my parents had given me and I spent that on a very expensive course that made the difference for me.

    I used to be a copywriter earning in excess of 10 g's for one letter, which in those days was a small fortune.....copywriters make a lot more nowadays.

    Today I run my own Net business. But I still write my own copy.

    The bottom line is, people who make it FIND a way to afford the training the need.

    Best wishes,

    Marlon Sanders

    marlon sanders

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