Let the Facts Speak for Themselves
No one would be surprised to hear that the airline industry is responsible for a lot of lost luggage. But what if we told you a whopping 31 million bags were misplaced by the airlines. Not only are these statistics true, they’re also examples of how facts and figures can put things into perspective for your audience in ways that clever writing and catchy slogans never could. But knowing how to use statistics is key. Here are six suggestions:
- Use Real Numbers – Statements like, “most people lose all the weight they want in a matter of weeks,” are too general and don’t pack the same punch as facts and numbers.
- Simple Math Makes for a Better Argument- Simple statistics, like “two out of three” or “three out of four” are easy enough to comprehend. But most people won’t know what to make of statements like “11 out of 15.”
- Find a Reputable Source – Consumers today are a suspicious bunch. If you want them to believe what you have to say, only use trusted sources (like the U.S. Statistical Abstract), and always include references to the sources (i.e. “according to U.S. Census figures.”).
- Get Permission Before Borrowing Too Much- Under copyright law, you’re generally safe using facts and small amounts of verbatim text from published materials without asking the source for permission. But if you plan to use more than a few sentences, ask for the original writer’s blessing beforehand.
- Keep Competitor’s Names Out of It – Facts and figures that show your product or service is better than others shouldn’t include competitors’ names. Instead, stick with vague references- such as “twice the selection as the other guys”- which are much less likely to end up in court.
- Use a Statistic in Your Call-to-Action – Facts and figures can be powerful motivators when it comes to encouraging your target audience to take that final step (i.e. “According to multiple NAR surveys, personal contacts are responsible for 82% of homes sold by a real estate professional. Let me put my extensive referral network to work for you.”).