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The Marketer’s Guide to Leveraging the Know-Factor in Your Sales Copy

by Kathryn Aragon

They say your prospects need to know, like, and trust you before they’ll buy.

Most marketers pay attention to trust-building strategies. After all, direct response puts a lot of emphasis on proofs.

But how do you help people know you?

Let’s be honest. In digital marketing, your visitors only know what you tell them. So it’s a challenge to leverage the know-factor to increase sales without sounding smarmy.

The key? Focusing on credibility and style.

Before clicking the Buy button, your prospects are asking:

  • Do you care about the same things I do?
  • Do you know what you’re talking about?
  • Can you deliver as promised?

Helping people know you is really a matter of answering these three questions, not once, but throughout your sales copy.

Let’s look at five ways you can do that starting today.

Your personal style comes through in your word choice

Whether people can see you or not, they’re sizing you up from the first time you meet. In digital marketing, they do that by evaluating your website’s design, your style of expressing yourself, and the personality that shows through it all.

For instance, you might be casual and fun-loving, as in this Clayton Makepeace sales letter. (In particular, look at the underlined phrases.)

makepeace style is casual

Or you can be buttoned-down and formal as in this The Economist promotion. In particular, look at the phrases I underlined here. (See how it’s a completely different style from the excerpt above?)

the economist style is traditional

How you can do it

Before you write one word of sales copy, you need to create your game plan. Decide on the personality of your brand. Adopt a style that is uniquely you and resonates with your ideal customers.

For example, if you sell to professionals, you need to develop a personality that attracts and builds the trust of professionals. You could be professional-casual (à la Dan Kennedy) or professional-formal (more like The Economist), depending on what your customers expect.

The style you adopt should have similar attitudes and values as your ideal customers. This builds the feeling that they “know” you — even if you’ve never really met.

Provide a short bio to show people who you are

The bio is a great way to give information that builds your credibility as a provider. You can do it in the body of your sales copy, as in this example from The Sovereign Society (“The Vampire State” promotion):

include bio info in sales copy

Or you can create an evidence (or call-out) box to give relevant information without interrupting the flow of your sales copy. Here’s an example from Bottom Line Secrets (“Blast Away High Cholesterol” promotion).

bio in evidence box

How you can do it

Gather the information that will help your readers know you. Generally, you want to include:

  • Your name
  • Your picture
  • Location
  • Years of experience
  • Recognitions
  • Success stories

Then decide whether this information can be woven into your sales copy or would be better set off in an evidence box.

If you have the room, consider doing both: introduce yourself in your copy. Then give more details in the evidence box.

Use social proof to make people feel they know you

What you say about yourself is far less impressive than what others say about you. So be sure to share testimonials, numbers of followers, and stories about interactions with customers.

Social proof can be used in a variety of ways and can create the know-factor quickly. The traditional way to do this is with testimonials. But AWAI shows us another way to do it:

unique way to name drop in sales copy

The goal here is to prove that your product works, that real people have achieved success. What better way than to mention those people in your sales copy.

The writer of this promotion doesn’t just describe himself, his life and successes. He talks about himself as a member of an elite group. Then he tells stories of other people who belong to that group.

Without stating a specific number, he gives the impression that many people belong to this elite group, which means you, the reader, can too.

How you can do it

Find a few examples of people who have used your product successfully or have reached the success you promise. Then work them into your narrative.

Phrases like “my good friend” create the feeling that you know these people and are personally involved in their success. That builds the impression that you aren’t just interested in selling. You make time for peers and customers.

To do it like AWAI does, a short mention is all you need. Introduce the name and tell a one-sentence story.

Name drop to borrow familiarity

Similar to social proof, name dropping can help you borrow familiarity from someone your prospect already knows.

For example, in this promotion, Steve Harrison is unfamiliar to me. But since I’ve heard of Jack Canfield, I’m willing to take another look at Steve.

borrowing authority

How you can do it

It isn’t always easy to get the endorsement of a celebrity. But you may be able to secure a partnership with someone who has influence in a particular niche.

If you want to use this tactic, begin cultivating relationships with influencers before you need to ask a favor. Fortunately, social media makes it easy.

Start connecting with influencers. Comment on their blog posts and respond to their tweets or Google+ posts.

After you’ve gained some relationship, send a simple email or private message with your proposal.

Offer a partnership in which you help one another (offer to discuss possibilities). Or simply ask for a review of your product.

The key is to respect their time and offer as much value as you ask.

Tell your story

We’ve talked about several ways to help people get to know you. But none work as well as opening up and telling your story.

When you share your own struggles and successes, people realize you’re just like them. They feel a personal connection, which makes them much more likely to respond to your offers.

Here’s how marketing guru Bill Glazer tells his story in a sales promotion:

stories help people know you

This is storytelling at its finest. It includes:

  • An inciting event: a letter from Dan Kennedy.
  • A problem: getting your marketing seen in a cluttered environment.
  • An action: creating his own outrageous sales letter.
  • Success: a lot of people read his letter.

How you can do it

The stories that are most likely to generate the know-factor will talk about how you handle overwhelming obstacles, perhaps failing along the way, but ultimately succeeding.

This type of story shows your character and what motivates you. It also helps people get a sense for whether you’ll be there for them.

Consider crafting a story that tells:

  • Why you started your business.
  • How you helped a customer succeed.
  • How you learned something new that changed you in a significant way.

Focus on relationship

To get the know-like-trust thing going, it’s imperative that you generate the know-factor.

But helping people know you is only part of the reason for implementing these tactics.

If you open up and let people know you better, in most cases, they’ll reciprocate. That means you’ll know them better too.

As a result, you’ll know their pain points and what makes them tick. You’ll have a head-start knowing which products and services will solve their problems.

Best of all, crafting results-oriented marketing messages will be a breeze.



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Kathryn Aragon

Kathryn Aragon is the former editor of The Daily Egg. She's a content strategist and consultant on mission to help content marketers get measurable results from their content. Learn more at Follow her on Twitter.


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  1. Myhox says:
    April 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Hi Kathryn !
    I agree with your point that strong public profile and social proof can work better. It is importtant that you have to attach the visual profile. Myhox Network

  2. Shuki Mann says:
    April 9, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Great post. Must to be add to my favorites.


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