Better Guarantees = More Money

I learned a lot about guarantees from Jay Abraham.

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Many years ago, I worked on a promotion for his newsletter with Tom Phillips, back when Phillips ran Phillips Publishing.

To prepare for the promo, I attended one of his $5,000 marketing boot camps and read every word of every report he had available then. I was surprised by how much emphasis he placed on guarantees. Years later, in 2008, I worked with him again on an Internet marketing conference in Orlando… and again I was struck by how much time and effort Jay put into guarantees.
For many marketers, guarantees are just a throwaway item – some boilerplate language they throw in at the end of their landing pages or direct mail pieces. For Jay, they are the heart of his pitch.

The reason for this is simple. Guarantees are nothing more, and nothing less, than the central promise of your whole marketing package. They are the reason people put up with the intrusion of your marketing message. For that reason, Jay always insisted that a copywriter “denominate” (that’s his word) as specifically as possible what the product or service you are offering will actually do for the prospect.

So, here are five ways you can improve your guarantees:

1. Be specific. This is self-evident but it’s surprising how often copywriters don’t do this. Rather than saying you must be “delighted” with a financial newsletter, state in dollars and cents how much the prospect can reasonably expect to make. As Jay says, denominate what the guarantee means as specifically as possible.

2. Restate the guarantee in personal terms. This is also essential. People care less about the abstract benefit your product or service (“good health,” or “more money”) than they do about what these abstractions mean in personal terms. Good health really means “being able to play with your grandkids.” Decent yields on dividend stocks really means, “no longer having to worry about money so much.”

3. Set a time limit. By this I mean, set a time limit for when the prospect will receive the benefit, NOT when the guarantee expires. I will be less excited about a guarantee that says I will “double my cash flow from income investments” than I will be about one that says I will “double my cash flow from income investments in the next 21 days” – because of these 3 monthly payers.

4. Drop all legalese. With all due respect to lawyers (and I have many in my own family), legalese is death in guarantees. Any legalese instantly arouses suspicions among prospects. It sounds casino pa natet like someone is trying to be sneaky. Thus, get rid of any language like “pro rata refund” or anything like that. Restate it in simple terms. I even like to highlight this with language like, “You heard me right: Take a whole year to decide. No fine print. None of that “pro rata” baloney.”

5. Make the guarantee last as long as possible. I consider it my duty as a copywriter to strengthen every guarantee I come across. If a newsletter publisher offers a 60-day guarantee, I ask why we can’t make it 90 days… or even 6 months. If they offer a 90-day guarantee and then a “pro rata” refund after that, I ask why can’t we just make it a full year.

6. Occasionally test a “reverse guarantee.” Every once and a while, we have a special situation arise in which a normal guarantee doesn’t apply. Rather than downplay that, you should test bringing it right to the forefront. This is the old “banged up” box offer – when marketers offer a product at a heavy discount because the box is nicked or something like that but which customers can’t return. If you have a special situation in which you can’t really offer a guarantee, say why upfront – but make it as win-win as possible.

7. Make it fun. This is the hardest thing to achieve. Make your guarantee fun. Put some personality into it. Speak like a normal human being, not a marketer or (even worse) a lawyer. If you must, you can have a disclaimer at the bottom of the page but never in the actual guarantee copy.

In short: A good guarantee can resolve all of the lingering doubts a prospect might have and actually close the sale. It re-states the central promise of your promotion. If it’s done right, your guarantee will linger in the minds of your prospects for days, even weeks… and they’ll keep thinking about it until they buy.

So, that is my New Year’s resolution: Write better guarantees! Better guarantees mean happier customers… more sales… and usually more money.


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Robert Henderson is a freelance copywriter and marketing strategist. You can reach him by calling +1 (949) 492-5421.