99 billion served: How McDonald’s uses a classic copywriting tactic to prove instant credibility
Years ago, I remember driving by McDonald’s on my commute home. It was an ordinary day, cruising past the typical Shell station, strip malls and of course the golden arches. But then a little piece of ad copy caught my eye with a rather impressive statistic—“99 billion customers served.”
Wow. Even for Ronald McDonald, that number was something. It’s more than 12x the entire population of the world. And while the fast food giant already had enormous credibility, a powerful stat like that surely swayed more than a few folks to swing by their drive thru.
What can we learn from this?
Simply put, numbers impress. They instantly increase credibility and will lead to more conversions. But for those of us without the global brand power of McDonald’s, how can this technique apply to your business?
Let’s look at a few examples, and then examine specific ways you can use this tactic on your website.
Above is a screengrab from my writer’s website. Now, what enormous number do you see highlighted in bold? A half million is right. Any time you can use a number with the word million, you’re sure to impress prospects.
Another example is from an insurance company client of mine. I was contracted to write their brochure, and the client was determined to instill consumer confidence and trust as quickly as possible. We listed their awards, the number of years they’d been in business and added testimonials, but the client wanted a bit more. So I asked him a simple question. How many dollars in claims have you paid out?
If a prospective client knows an insurance company pays out a large amount of claims, it establishes trust. And not surprisingly, my client’s number was huge—over a billion dollars. So we added it to the brochure and in doing so gave the prospect one more reason to choose their service over a competitor.
How to use big numbers to reveal credibility
Now that you’ve seen examples of how I’ve used big numbers to prove credibility, how can you do the same? Below are three categories to explore in your business.
1. Customers or clients served
The McDonald’s example uses this category. But really, any business can, as long as you’ve had enough clients. So ask yourself, how many customers has your business served? I often use this tactic in my book business. I advertise the fact that my books have been ordered over 10,000 times, which is essentially like serving a client (or a reader in this case).
2. Products created
In its smallest form, my product is a single word. In the example above, you saw how I list it on my website; but that’s not the only numerical credential I share with clients. I’ve also written or edited over 1,000 blog posts and written the copy for nearly 200 websites. When I share this, trust instantly grows. So now it’s your turn. How many products have you created? If you’re having trouble, estimate the number in its smallest form.
3. Results achieved
Results matter. So if you can quantify them, you’ll impress prospects in a heartbeat. While working for a social media marketing company, I was asked by the Managing Director how they could improve the credibility of their case studies. The answer was simple: display the number of people each marketing campaign had reached, which was in the millions. Another example could be if you’re a recruitment agency. How could this type of business reveal results? Simple, name the number of candidates successfully placed, like, Over 1,000 candidates successfully placed.
Whatever large number you estimate, I recommend displaying it prominently on your homepage. It will be an impressive credibility indicator that can lead to many conversions.