Let’s start by debunking a myth about guarantees.
Does having a longer, more comprehensive guarantee lead to higher overall refund rates?
It seems to make sense, right? The longer your guarantee and the fewer conditions, the more refunds you’ll receive…
Except it isn’t true (which is great news for marketers).
A strong guarantee isn’t going to cost your business money. In fact, a guarantee that reduces the risk of buying…or reverses the risk entirely (more on that later)…has been proven to increase sales by as much as 500%.
Will you get more freebie seekers?
Yes, you’ll get the occasional customer who’ll buy your product…use it…then send it back.
But the increased sales far outweigh the extra refunds (assuming you’ve got a great product!).
Side Note: The exception is if your industry has a larger proportion of freebie seekers than average. There are certain health markets where this is the case – but most markets respond positively to guarantees.
The Real Purpose of a Guarantee
A guarantee should achieve far more than reducing risk (although this is an important reason to use one). A strong guarantee…like those written by A-List copywriters…has the following attributes:
- It implies you have complete confidence in your product.
- It makes your customer feel safe.
- It creates an expectation that the refund process will be painless.
- It reinforces your product’s main benefits.
#1 Implied Confidence
It sounds obvious, but a company willing to offer a strong guarantee is more likely to believe in their product.
Subconsciously, a reader thinks “if I can get a full refund because the product didn’t work like I hoped…the company must be REALLY confident that it WILL work.”
Which, of course, you should be…if you know your product lives up to your promises.
#2 Make Your Customer Feel Safe
There is risk to every purchase decision.
Everyone has had bad experiences with shady companies and products that don’t deliver…especially online.
If your customer knows he can try the product, see if it works and get a full refund if it doesn’t…he feels much more secure.
#3 Create an Expectation That the Refund Process will be Painless
Many people still won’t buy a product despite an “iron-clad 60-day no-questions-asked” guarantee.
Why is this? There is no monetary risk, after all.
The simple answer is that a prospect is risking both money and time when he buys your product.
If it he wants a refund, is he going to be forced to fill in a lengthy form?
Is it going to take months before his money is actually refunded?
Will he have to battle through 18 phone menus…only to be told all operators are busy?
And is he going to have to persuade a sales rep just to start the refund process?
You can counter-act these objections by making it clear how simple and easy it is for customers to refund their purchase.
In addition, make sure that the customer knows there aren’t any complicated terms and conditions. In the mind of your prospect, it is far worse to guarantee your product…and then deny a refund based on a technicality…than to offer no guarantee at all.
Make it crystal clear that THEY decide whether the product is worth the money.
Here’s an example from an imaginary weight loss product:
I know your time is valuable. That’s why if you don’t lose at least 4 pounds in the next two weeks…or even if you do lose weight, but don’t like the program…just send me a simple email with the subject “Refund” and your transaction ID. No need to fill out a form. You don’t even need to give a reason. I’ll process your refund within 24 hours and rush your money back to your account. No questions asked!”
Notice how this guarantee also focuses on results – which a great way to reinforce the benefits of the product (point #4).
How to Write a Rock Solid (and Unique) Guarantee
There’s nothing more costly than writing an outstanding sales letter…packed full of persuasive copy and focused on your customer’s biggest desires…only to lose the sale due to a weak guarantee.
But before you even start writing your guarantee, spend time researching competitor’s sales pages. How long are their refund periods? Do they have any string attached? Are they offering guarantees at all?
Like every component of your sales material, you should aim to beat your competitor’s guarantee.
That doesn’t just mean making your guarantee longer though. Here are some tips for writing rock-solid guarantees:
Choose the Most Effective Length: As a general rule, longer guarantees are more effective. Longer time periods reduce pressure on your prospect…give him more time to experience the benefits of your product…and, counter-intuitively, can actually decrease refund rates. This is because longer guarantees are more likely to be forgotten. If your guarantee only lasts five days, prospects are naturally going to question whether you’re truly confident about your product’s quality. It’s not unheard of for direct mailers to offer one year guarantees – or longer.
Include Product Benefits: Don’t just write a standard guarantee – reinforce your product’s benefits at the same time. Offer a full refund if the client doesn’t experience those benefits in a reasonable timeframe.
Make It Clear That There Are No Exceptions: Many people are understandably wary of small-print. Don’t give your prospects a chance to question your guarantee. Make it clear that there are no-strings attached – and that you’ll happily refund their money if they aren’t 100% satisfied.
Match The Tone To Your Market: Don’t make the mistake of writing a guarantee in “legal” speak. The guarantee, like the rest of your promotion, should be written to match the tone and language of your target market.
Be Generous: Does your product come with any premiums/bonuses? Let your prospect keep them for free – even if they refund! This reinforces to the prospect that YOU are the one taking on all the risk…not him.
The guarantee is one of the most important parts of a promotion. You can use it to reduce risk (or reverse it), reinforce the product’s benefits, make the prospect feel more comfortable and, ultimately, increase conversion rates.
With that said, it takes confidence to offer a strong guarantee – it’s natural to feel anxious about increased refund rates and freebie seekers.
If you’re worried about increasing the strength of your guarantee, I have one piece of advice: test it! See how increasing the time period…reinforcing benefits…being more generous with premiums…affects your conversion rates and track the total refunds. You might be pleasantly surprised.