Copywriting Friday: “Oh Yeah? Prove it!”

Published: May 2024

Copywriting Friday highlights the tools and techniques of creating persuasive content. Enjoy.

Proof is an essential element of copywriting and persuasion—so this article explores five ways of proving your point. (After reading this, you may discover proof elements you didn’t realize you had.)
A truck piled high with goods.
Load up on proof! The more, the merrier.


Let’s say you have an excellent product or service. Even better: it’s priced extremely fairly—maybe even too low. Let’s further say that you’ve managed to put your value proposition smack in front of your target market. With all of this in place—if you’re not making sales at a fast clip—what else is there for you to do?

Look at your proof, or rather the lack of it.

None of us can make it through the day without being bombarded by breathless hyperbole:

  • In headlines and ads, it’s common to hear about “game changers” that “they don’t want you to know.”
  • We’re assured that the product or service is so effective it will be the “last one you’ll ever need.”
  • We’re told that the company has thousands or even millions of “satisfied customers.”

It’s no wonder, then, that we build up a thick membrane to all these claims. So often we’ve been underwhelmed after receiving something, and besides, we don’t have the time or money to act on all these many offers each day. Only the strongest messages make it through and make us sit up.

Five types of proof that help to turn visitors into buyers

One of the best ways to strengthen your message is to make your case in the court of consumer judgment and choices. As you will see, there is no shortage of proof elements to help you do just that.

1. Demonstrate how something works and that it works

The bolder your claim that your product or service is a game-changer, the more you need to show the game being changed. You can do this in two ways:

  • Let visitors see a demo of your product or service in action. This can be not only powerful, but it can become viral. The Blendtec company didn’t just claim that their blenders were powerful; they created an entire series of videos to prove it. The brilliant “Will it blend?” campaign started with a marketing budget of $50. The demonstrations included things like blending an iPhone or a pool cue (as you can see below). The company got 288 million views from the series.
    Any doubt that this blender can handle a smoothie?
  • Let visitors demo it themselves. This can be more difficult because the demo is out of your hands. But if you can pull it off, the demo can be more powerful because your visitors are using your product or service.

2. Get specific with your proof

There’s something about quantified numbers that is so much more powerful than general statements:

  • Don’t say: “We have options to fit almost any truck,” when you can say: “Our truck-bed liners are laser-measured and will fit every Ford F-150 made since 2000.”
  • Don’t say: “We can customize the interior to meet your needs” when you can say: “You can choose from over 12,800 combinations of leather, color, and wood options for your Jaguar interior.”

To take an example on the other end of the spectrum from the cost of a Jaguar, consider the Stew Leonard grocery store. They’re based in Connecticut and have disrupted the concept of a supermarket by doing things like having a glassed-in dairy inside of their market. The implied proof: Our milk is so fresh you can see it being processed.

One of their continuing promotions involves showcasing how their shopping bags have been seen around the world. What can you quantify about your offering that elevates it beyond general statements about quality and popularity?

3. Point to the opinions of others

This is a rich area to mine. And it’s worth mining, because people are persuaded when they feel like they’re reading unbiased opinions from buyers similar to themselves.

  • Third-party review sites. Everyone knows about Google Reviews, Amazon, Trustpilot, and similar services, though it’s surprising how some companies aren’t especially active on them. If your target audience is well aware of an industry-specific review site, those can be even more persuasive because the reviewers may be seen as “power users.”
  • Testimonials are another powerful example of pointing to others’ opinions. We discussed the finer points of maximizing their effectiveness in our article: Seven ways to make your testimonials work harder.
  • Social media. Of course, few proof elements are as powerful as a YouTube video or Kickstarter campaign that goes viral. But even just a solid performance is something worth linking to from your site. Where possible, try to display the social proof on your site so visitors don’t fall down social-media rabbit holes, never to return.

4. Show how the product or service is used

This is similar to a demo, but the focus is on “use cases” that illustrate different deployments. This kind of proof is valuable because it relieves visitors from the burden of imagining how the product or service might work for their situation.

One of our clients, Textmagic, does an excellent job of this. The website allows you to filter which industry you want to see a case study from:

A drop-down box allowing users to view case studies by industry.
The dropdown has dozens of industries to choose from

5. Display authority

There’s so much you can do in this category:

  • List logos of the companies that work with you. We “eat our own dog food” by continually updating our webpage that contains both logos and testimonials. We point out that it’s 24 feet long. Tip: Be sure to show logos in their brand colors. Designers often like to gray out all brands but their own. Bad idea. You want busy visitors to instantly recognize the powerful brands you list. Showing all of them in gray creates a weaker connection with the brands.
  • List awards and industry certifications. Not only are these proof elements, but they’re another way to identify with your target audience. If you sell software to video editors, then getting an industry award might elevate you in the eyes of your visitors. The same is true for industry certifications that are known to be hard to achieve. And don’t just mention that you got the certification; show the logo or other proof of it, the way we do with awards we got from The Queen.
  • Demonstrate industry involvement. If your founder was the past president of an industry association, say so. If a process of yours was written up in a respected journal, don’t just say so, but show a thumbnail of the journal’s cover.

Is all this worth it?

Providing so much proof may seem like a lot of work, and it can be. Many companies either don’t know about these multiple ways of proving their statements and value, or they don’t make the effort to include them. It’s possible to come up with all sorts of excuses; but excuses are just that, unless one takes the trouble to do proper testing, and to see what moves the needle.

Just remember:

  • We’re all consumers;
  • We are regularly expected to take bold claims on faith; and
  • When we’re not convinced, we click away without that seller knowing why.

Be the competitor that forges strong chains between what you say your product or service will do, and the proof to back your claims.

You’ll stand out like a golden thumb.

How much did you like this article?

What’s your goal today?

1. Hire us to grow your company

We’ve generated hundreds of millions for our clients, using our unique CRE Methodology™. To discover how we can help grow your business:

Schedule your FREE strategy session

2. Learn how to do conversion

Download a free copy of our Amazon #1 best-selling book, Making Websites Win, recommended by Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Moz, Econsultancy, and many more industry leaders. You’ll also be subscribed to our email newsletter and notified whenever we publish new articles or have something interesting to share.

Browse hundreds of articles, containing an amazing number of useful tools and techniques. Many readers tell us they have doubled their sales by following the advice in these articles.

Download a free copy of our best-selling book

3. Join our team

If you want to join our team—or discover why our team members love working with us—then see our “Careers” page.

4. Contact us

We help businesses worldwide, so get in touch!

© 2024 Conversion Rate Experts Limited. All rights reserved.