High discounts remain unimpressive when the quality of goods is questionable. But once quality is determined, low prices matter.


Five dollar t-shirts are no attention getters, as we all assume that they’re cheap t-shirts to begin with. But $5 for Polo brand pocket t-shirts ARE a compelling offer – IF you can assure prospects that they are authentic!

Analyzing the Totsy Ad for Price/Quality Credibility


So with that in mind, what can we say about this Facebook Ad?


Totsy Facebook Ad


It tells you that the 90% figure is psychologically discounted by the audience for two reasons:

  1. There’s no quality reassurance
  2. The use of the weasel words: “up to,” as in “up to 90% off”


Legendary copywriter Gary Bencivenga has stated that the two most powerful words in copy are not “new” or “free” but “Yeah, sure.” If you hear, “yeah, sure,” followed by a cynical remark after every claim, you’ll learn how to address those concerns and objections in your copy. Which means you’ll get more people to click and convert. That’s what makes those words so powerful


So, “Up to 90% off” gets a big fat “Yeah, sure: I bet it’s 90% off on XXL stuff in puce and, like, 5% off on anything I’d ever want.” Or maybe, “Yeah, sure: 90% off cheapo, 4th-rate crap”

Combating the Credibility Gap


So how do you grab attention with discounts and still achieve solid credibility?


Well as you may have guessed from the example, brand names do a great job of assuring readers of the quality of goods on offer. And then there’s simply the lifting of weasel words. Give a range of discounts instead and make sure the minimum range is still impressive. Or replace “up to” with “at least.”


Doesn’t “at least 50% off” (or even “at least half-off”) sound better than “up to 90% off”? Combine that with solid brand names and you’re in business. A great example of that is this ad for heartsy.me


Heartsy.me Facebook ad


Notice that the ad leverages the “Etsy” and “Groupon” brand names (brands which are not affiliated with Heartsy, by the way) to provide added credibility for the products being offered at discount. Also, it’s a straight 60% discount with no “up to” or other weasel words to blunt the impact of the “more than half-off” appeal.


And as a third approach, there’s specificity. A product that’s specific to your exact problem has greater credibility than a generalized product, which translates into a higher perceived price/value, which makes any discount more valuable. Specificity can be both niche-related and event-related. So a “info product” on Fundraising for Church-based Non-profits vs. a generalized book on Fundraising would be niche-specific. And this ad, specific to mother’s day, represents an event-specific example:


ProFlowers Facebook Ad


Deal of the day for mother’s day. Makes the $19 seem very credible indeed. But notice two how specific the ad is about the deliverables: 15 rainbow tulips. No question about quality there. And then they leverage the Pro-Flowers brand name, too. Nicely done indeed. The only suggestion I’d have is to have put a caption on the photo like “actual product photo” or something like that.


So which ad do you think got the most clicks? And which techniques are you using in your ads to boost up credibility for your special offers?