Proof train recap

Now that the proof train is receding into the distance, I want to recap it for you.

Here are the 9 proof elements that you can use to make your marketing claims more effective:

  1. Relevant testimonials, case studies, reference accounts, or other social proof.
  2. A demonstration of expertise. Real, live, unscripted demonstrations are best, but other things like blog articles or email courses can work.
  3. A guarantee that undoes most or all of the damage that could be created if hiring you was a bad idea.
  4. Explain why your specific approach is superior to others. Explain how your approach will deliver great results.
  5. Exacting specificity in every aspect of your marketing. If you look at your marketing message and say, “wow, there are probably only 10 companies out there that fit that profile”, then you are in the right ballpark in terms of specificity. The reality is that there will be far more than 10 good-fit clients, and those 50 or 100 truly ideal clients will find your marketing extremely compelling. Trust me, they won’t find it compelling if you don’t have the courage to be extremely specific.
  6. Be willing to be contrarian. It takes a bad status quo to provoke a “whistleblower”, and we know that by standing up and saying something, the whistleblower puts themselves at risk. Unless we have a vested interest in preserving the status quo, it’s almost impossible not to at least respect the whistleblower’s courage or at least listen to their viewpoint. See if you can be that whistleblower who is pointing out a negative status quo in your marketing and trying to improve it in real life with your service offering.
  7. Acknowledge your weaknesses or anything that your prospective clients could doubt about your claims. Just say it straight out. Ex: “I know it’s hard to believe that we can save you 30% on your AWS hosting bill, but allow me to explain…”. Ex: “We have no clients stories to tell you about because this approach is so new that we’re currently only working with a few pilot clients. We developed this approach in [other market vertical] and you can check out our dozens of success stories here.” Then use the opportunity to demonstrate expertise, reveal the “mechanism” by which your approach produces results, or offer some other form of proof. Be 100% candid. Sometimes weaker promises are more believable, especially in the complex, risky world of technology. Ex: “We won’t get your app launched the fastest, but it’ll launch with the fewest bugs possible, which will boost reliability and user satisfaction.”
  8. Reference highly believable sources when doing so helps your cause. Ex: “TechCrunch reports that startups using [thing you do] have a 37% greater chance of gaining traction.”
  9. Play up your specialization. Make it obvious that you are 100% focused on the market vertical/audience/problem you are trying to get traction with.

If you need help fashioning a strong claim of expertise, check out: http://thepositioningmanual.com

Talk to you soon,
-P

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