Fluff doesn’t sell. Writing effective sales copy means cutting out the fluff.

Nobody is impressed with your flashy or sexy buzzwords if you don’t back them up with some hard facts and numbers.

Here is the B2B copywriting tip of the day:

Use numbers and statistics to build credibility, establish authority and ultimately to persuade.

Different Types of Writers Use Statistics Differently

Copywriters, technical writers, scientific research writers, and technical copywriters all approach statistics differently:

  • Scientific research writers use statistics to support their hypotheses.
  • Technical writers use numbers to show the product’s specifications.
  • Standard copywriters don’t typically use numbers or statistics in most kinds of marketing copy.
  • Technical copywriters use numbers and statistics along with superlatives to persuade and sell.

Superlative Buzzwords Are Useless On Their Own

Marketing text typically does not contain numbers or precision. Copywriters tend to overuse adjectives or superlative buzzwords like “the best”, “biggest”, “fastest”, “most efficient”, “cost effective”, or “lightweight”.

But these superlatives, by themselves, don’t mean anything. The problem with using superlatives is that they are just buzzwords. In 2017, people are used to hearing buzzwords all the time.

In an industry where 50 businesses are selling the same product, any of them can say their products are the “best”, “fastest” and most “lightweight” without backing it up with numbers.

And customers like us are sharp enough to see right through it.

The Synergy Between Superlatives and Statistics

In technical writing, such as specification documents, the wording must be precise, exact, and use numbers. Vague adjectives don’t exist in technical text.

  • Instead of “biggest”, technical writers use dimensions and measurements.
  • Instead of “fastest”, technical writers use actual speeds backed by empirical evidence and testing.
  • Instead of “most efficient” or “cost effective”, technical writers use percentage improvements to illustrate how cost efficiency improved over from previous models.
  • Instead of “lightweight”, technical writers list the actual weight using commonly known units (pounds, kilograms, etc).

In technical copywritingboth adjectives and statistics are used in synergy with each other. The most difficult part is using numbers and statistics to create engaging and persuasive copy while boosting credibility and authority, without it being bland, dry, or boring.

  • This solar panel is 64% more efficient, cutting your power bill by at least half.
  • At 140 meters, this wind turbine is the tallest and captures more wind power than any other on the market.
  • The most lightweight laptop is easy to travel with at only 1.5 pounds!

By combining superlatives with statistics and proof, you establish three crucial elements of your sales copy:

  • Specificity
  • Credibility
  • Authority

Your copy is more likely to persuade and sell if it is specificcredible, and has an air of authority.

Let’s Work Through an Example…

Take these two sentences:

Sentence 1:

“This vitamin Z is the most highly recommended by doctors everywhere.”

Sentence 2:

“91% of family doctors highly recommend vitamin Z for general health and well being.”

Unlike the second sentence, the first sentence has nothing but superlatives without any numbers to back it up. I will explain why the second sentence is more likely to sell, and sell a lot more, than the first.

More Specificity Leads To More Sales

You prove your adjectives with specific numbers.

If you can prove your product beats most of the market, use this proof in your copy and pair with an appropriate superlative.

When people see or hear a superlative, they want to see specific proof. Give it to them.

The first sentence is nonspecific, uses superlatives like “most highly recommended” and “everywhere”, and gives no proof. Therefore it does not sound believable.

It also does not say what Vitamin Z is recommended for. Is vitamin Z “highly recommended” for liver health? Heart health? Skin? Energy?

The second sentence gives a statistic (91%). It sounds like we did a scientific survey. It also says what doctors specifically recommend vitamin Z for: “for general health and well being”.

Lastly, using the word “family doctor” instead of just “doctor” gives it extra specificity. There are many kinds of doctors: brain surgeons, pediatricians, psychiatrists, etc.

As a bonus tip — the word “family” gives it a warm and personal feeling. People tend to listen to their own family doctors as they are most familiar with them.

Numbers Establish Credibility

By using numbers to back up your claims, you establish credibility. People are more likely to buy from credible and reputable businesses.

Statistics and numbers within your copy make you more believable.

A statement filled with superlatives and buzzwords with nothing to back it up hurts your credibility. For all they know, you could be exaggerating or lying.

With statistics, you will be seen as honest and credible. Writing case studies and white papers is an excellent way to accomplish this. Even in a sales letter, using statistics will boost your credibility.

People Respect Authority

When you give proof, you are not only being credible, but you also establish yourself as an expert or someone who has done the research.

Citing statistics in your copy gives it an air of authority.

People want to trust in what the expert says before buying something. An expert gives people confidence to buy something.

A copywriter always needs to remember that a customer loves to do business with experts in a particular area.

If you have a well-known brand with established authority (e.g. Apple or Facebook), you can get away with making statements without statistics.

But if you’re a new business, you’d do better to use statistics to back up your claims and position yourself as an authority in your field. When you do that, you give your prospects the confidence they need to buy from you.