Let’s get really tactical, and talk about guarantees…
I seldom focus on really granular, tactical elements of copywriting here. Mostly because tactics will always take a back seat to the more powerful principles and strategies I prefer to write about.
But if you like tactics and tips, today will be a good issue for you.
That said, I’m going to start by zooming out.
At my first marketing job, I literally could not guarantee the product…
Which was really silly. It was actually an information product. IT training videos. It had all the margins of info products. It cost us almost zero to fulfill on the product, so the guarantee would’ve been no problem to fulfill on from a financial perspective.
It’s just that the owner of the business was paranoid.
He was afraid he would get ripped off.
And you know what? He was right. He would’ve. There would’ve likely been at least a few people who snuck through, bought the training, went through it, got all the benefit from it, maybe even earned the certification… And then asked for their money back.
But if you are 100% confident in your product’s ability to fulfill on your promises, and you use that to justify a strong guarantee, you’ll almost always come out ahead.
Here’s the simple math:
Adding a strong guarantee to a sales message can as much as double conversions. So let’s say you go from 100 customers to 200. But let’s say you go from effectively zero refunds (which was never actually true) to 10%, a very high number for good products.
100 customers with no guarantee, minus zero refunds, is 100 net customers
200 customers with a guarantee, minus 20 refunds (10% of 200), is 190 net customers.
In other words — even if a very high number of customers either are dissatisfied and given a way out or even abuse the system, you STILL come out ahead by offering the guarantee.
This is pretty much why guarantees are best practice for anyone in direct response, and especially anyone who has tested their power in a marketing or selling context.
Hint: Longer, more generous guarantees also tend to be better. Not only does a longer guarantee tend to help sales more than a shorter guarantee, it also tends to lower refund rate.
What does a strong guarantee look like?
In short, a guarantee is a way to transfer the risk of a transaction from the buyer to the seller.
When you make an offer to someone for your product or service, you’re essentially asking them to take on the risk of the transaction. You’re asking them to invest their money in your promise.
While this risk is there in any transaction, it’s especially elevated in a “distance” transaction. That is, buying something by mail or online.
In a retail setting, you (as a buyer) can touch the product. You can experience it. You can decide if it’s something that feels like it will be good for you, based on firsthand, in-person analysis.
When you buy something that’s delivered to you, you don’t have that luxury. You have to take the risk that the product won’t live up to expectations or promises.
A strong guarantee is designed to offset that in any way possible.
You can offer a 100% money-back guarantee.
You can offer a better-than-risk-free guarantee, where the refund is in excess of the product price, if the prospect isn’t satisfied.
You can offer a 1-month, 1-year, or even lifetime guarantee.
Or you can be stingy, and probably kill your own sales, and throw a bunch of limitations and stipulations on your guarantee, and make it hard to take advantage of.
Another hint: Your copywriter should write your guarantee, not your lawyer or accountant.
How to present your guarantee…
Let’s flip this, and get in your prospect’s mind a little bit.
I’m interested in this new product. It sounds really swell. The advertiser got my attention, built my interest, and stimulated my desire to have it.
Now I have to make my decision.
But, what if all their promises are fake news? What if it doesn’t work for me? What if I try it, and somehow don’t get the result I expect? What if? What if? What if?
All of these fears and doubts tend to flood in right at the moment of decision.
Especially when I — the buyer — have just been told how much I’m going to have to invest to get my hands on this thing.
I need confidence to move forward.
I need certainty.
And so, as the seller, it’s your job to give that confidence and certainty.
This is why a great guarantee is a powerful form of proof.
Not because it actually proves the promises in itself. But because you’re saying you’re so confident the product will deliver that you’re willing to let the buyer try it and prove it for themselves.
In fact, this is why I sometimes present my guarantee as “trial” — a chance for the buyer to say “maybe,” not “yes.”
They’re only saying maybe, for long enough for them to see for themselves that the product is everything I’ve promised, and then some.
And so right after you present your price, you turn around and say, “And yet you’re not actually committing that money today. You’re putting it down as a deposit, until you’ve seen for yourself that this thing is as good as I’ve said it is.”
BONUS: Use the guarantee to reinforce the results and benefit…
When you present the guarantee, you can include conditions.
It’s one thing to offer 100% satisfaction. That’s great. Dandy. But it really doesn’t stir me. Yeah, it gives me some confidence, but can you do better?
Yes! You’ve probably made some promises by now, about the practical and emotional benefits of your product. Think about why someone would be satisfied with their purchase — or not.
They’re going to be satisfied when they experience the benefits. So why not include that with your guarantee?
Gary Halbert once wrote a guarantee that said (and I paraphrase), “If your friends don’t accuse you of having a face lift, send the empty jar back.” It was for a “face lift in a jar” skin cream.
That’s quite the emotional benefit, in line with the product’s promise.
And do you see how it instills a much greater confidence in the product than, “If you look in the mirror and you’re not 100% satisfied with the result…” ?
It’s the same guarantee. They’re going to send it back if they’re dissatisfied. The only question is whether your guarantee is compelling enough to make them buy in the first place.
Want more about how to fit your guarantee into your copy?
My High-Velocity Copywriting Templates program covers this in far more detail than I can here. It includes how to structure copy and selling messages for any media, with exact step-by-step templates. Check it out.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,