7 trust-building tips based on copywriting psychology
1. Hook them in
Building trust can only begin once you’ve caught their attention. That’s why your headlines have to resonate with the right people in a way that compels them to click through.
Browsers will quickly forget your brand if headlines are too generic or vague. Great headlines can make or break every piece of content you publish.
Consider the case of Upworthy who’ve witnessed tangible results from simply changing a headline. “When we test headlines we see 20% difference, 50% difference, 500% difference. A really excellent headline can make something go viral,” says Co-Founder Peter Koechley.
- Convey a clear sense of what someone can obtain from taking action
- Speak from a position of authority, a.k.a. you know what you’re talking about
- Includes a natural use of your primary keyword
Tools such as the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyser help to weigh up whether your headlines are going to work.
Your headline receives a % score — we recommend aiming for a score of 50+. However, the key is to test and run with what works best.
2. Drop the jargon
While sounding technical, jargon too often makes your content harder to digest. People are left processing unfamiliar words, rather than focusing on the key message: you know how to make their lives easier and can be their trusted partner.
Overall, people are wary of anything that seems like smoke and mirrors. Research shows individuals using buzzwords, rather than factual terms, were more likely to be perceived as liars.
Therefore, the key is to:
- Make your message so simple it sticks. Stay outcome-focussed and straightforward
- Tailor your message to your audience. Speak in the terms they understand
3. Bucket brigade
So, now that you’ve captured the eyes of an audience, your next task is to keep them reading with content that convinces and converts. Bucket brigade is an old school copywriting technique that still works just as well today. The aim is to keep readers engaged, even in the longest content pieces.
In many ways, bucket brigades make it easier for visitors to keep reading because:
- They act as the conversational transitions between key ideas. Some copywriting examples include, “here’s the deal”, “the truth is”, “you might be wondering”, “want to know the best part?”.
- They visually break up the text, so readers can easily skim content and pick out the most important messages (without having to digest a textbook-style wall of text).
Best of all, bucket brigade is simple to start incorporating into your copy. It may look something like this:
4. Repetition, repetition, repetition
What you say is only part of becoming more believable and trustworthy. It’s also about how often you say it. Research shows, as repetition increases, the perceived validity of claim increases. Consistently, studies reveal “people rate repeated statements as more true than non-repeated statements”, regardless of how factual those statements are.
That’s why repetition is such a useful trick in copywriting psychology. However, it shouldn’t translate to monotony. Repetition simply makes sure your core message is communicated effectively, in particular, at the start and end of any piece of content.
5. Show the why
People resonate with reason, even if it doesn’t always make sense. Researchers proved this in 1978 when they ran an experiment involving the reasons that people gave for pushing in the queue for the printer. People who tried to cut the line said one of the following phrases:
- “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”
- “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?
- “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies?”
For the phrases that received the most number of people agreeing to let the person in, phrases 1 and 3 performed similarly. Phrase 2 elicited a more negative response.
The reason? It’s all thanks to a simple “because”. Statements that appeal through reason are more likely to be trusted.
That’s why showing “the why” is so important in your copywriting.
Some ways you can demonstrate reason is through using words and phrases such as “because”, “since”, “seeing that/as”, “owing to the fact”, and “due to the”.
6. Proof is in the pudding
Social proof is quite simply your most powerful copywriting tool. Want people to trust you? You need to first show why you’re already trusted by countless others. This is where reviews come into the picture.
Research shows that people are often “impressed after reading early positive reviews, even if negative reviews come later”.
Since reviews are so powerful, it makes sense to use them as much as possible. Place testimonials on your homepage, alongside your products and services, and even in email drips. If someone has blogged about your business, share it across your social media channels and email list.
You can even weave in social proof throughout your key website pages by including phrases such as:
- Trusted by 200 customers across Sydney
- Hear it from our 100+ happy customers!
- 400 businesses can’t be wrong
- Partnering with 74 local businesses and counting!
- Rated 4+/5 by 500 happy customers
- As seen in / As featured in
Responding to all reviews is also a great way to take social proof to the next level. Say thanks to everyone who took time out of their day to leave a positive review. In contrast, leave genuine and constructive responses to negative reviews. It all goes a long way to demonstrate you’re a trustworthy, approachable and helpful business.
7. Paint a picture
Effective copywriting is storytelling tailored to your business and supported by the facts no one can deny.
Making the transition from window shopping to pulling out your wallet is a big step. Often people are grappling with a problem and looking for a solution. Your business comes into the picture by providing the best solution around.
Your content needs to connect the dots by painting a picture. You want people to focus on the ideal and imagine what life could be like with you in the picture.
Starting a sentence with the word “imagine” is the simplest way to invite readers to picture themselves in the narrative you build.
Over to you
There are so many ways for wordsmiths to attract new audiences and create brand advocates. What proves effective depends on so many factors, including what your audience cares about. That’s why trying and testing what works is most important.
What copywriting tips do you use?
Author: Andrew Raso
Andrew is the CEO and Co-Founder of Online Marketing Gurus. He has a long illustrious career in the SEO and SEM industry and has written for many prestigious websites, including entrepreneur.com, jeffbullas.com, searchenginejournal.com, kissmetrics.com and contentmarketinginstitute.com. He was also featured on Sky News Business and awarded the 30under30 award by Anthill.