How To Overcome Skepticism

You probably don't need me to tell you this, but prospects are more skeptical online than ever before.

The Holy Grail of online marketing is getting the prospect's email address (so you can start building a permission-based marketing relationship with them).

In the not-too-distant past, you could generate leads online simply by offering a free newsletter or special report. This doesn't work so well anymore. Why?

The reason is simple: there's too much ‘junk' being offered, and prospects are wise to this. People just won't give up their email address for a junky ‘special report' like they used to.

So what's a marketer to do? Here are three ways to break through skepticism and get your prospects to give you their email address:

1. Offer Superior Premiums

Offering a superior premium will help you “cut through the clutter”, but to be effective your premium must be clearly superior.

Commonplace and boring: “Special Reports” and “Free Tele-Seminars”.

Better: software that performs a specific task, a free telephone consultation (make it clear this is not a sales pitch), or a free membership website.

2. Use Video Testimonials

There's a reason infomercial producers make their 30-minute ads over 70% testimonials: testimonials overcome skepticism.

These days, it's cheap and easy to make video testimonials for your website. Get your best customers singing your praises on video, and put these snippets on your website. Lots of them.

3. Use The “Reciprocity Sequence Method”

You've no doubt heard of the ‘Reciprocity' principal: If I give you a gift, you feel compelled to reciprocate.

The trouble is, your prospects often have heard of it too, rendering it somewhat less effective.

I use a technique I call the “Reciprocity Sequence Method”… which is simply giving your prospects a series of gifts so that the “Reciprocity Impulse” becomes almost overwhelming.

It sounds elementary, but few people do it. And it's very powerful.

Think about how you can ‘stack' a sequence of 3-5 gifts in a short period of time, and THEN make an offer to your prospect.

Key points to remember: keep the sequence confined to a short time period, make the gifts relevant to (and an enhancement of) your core offer, and make the offer immediately after giving the final gift.

While it's true that skepticism is at a higher level than ever, it's also true that breaking through is easy when you know how.

What do you think? Have you run into increased skepticism in your marketing – and if so, how have you successfully over come it? Post your comments below!

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • Stover

    Ray –

    A few additional ones…

    1) Tell the truth
    2) Sound like you are telling the truth
    3) To be believed, be believable
    4) Watch the adjectives.
    5) Use “Maybe, maybe not approach”
    6) Admit flaws
    7) Back up claims –
    8) State claim as question “Is this really the best way to promote your blog” vs. “The best way to promote your blog.
    9) Give valuable content up front. As Mac Ross used to say, “Show a little leg to get the taxi to stop”.
    10) Use the Funnel approach to Positioning – There are 1000's of copywriters online. 5 of them are world-class and I would recommend them without hesitation. But I'm the only one that focuses on the Chinchilla market exclusively…”

  • Tom

    Excellent Post Ray. Spot on from both the Prospector and the Prospect. Well done!

  • Maestro

    Great stuff.
    Really useful.
    Thank you!