Why you shouldn’t just throw a stat in.
B2B marketing likes its data. White papers, e-books, blogs… you name it, you’ll find stats in there propping the content up. At least, that’s what businesses think they do.
“95% of businesses agree that using stats in their marketing copy makes it more compelling.”
Okay, I made that up, but it’s probably true. And I mean it sounds good, doesn’t it? So, people are bound to find it relatable. And hell, I’m sure they grasp it. Right? Guys…? Anyone?
We see stats being used all the time by governments, charities, banks, beauty and cosmetics companies – to name a few. But unless they’re meaningful, they won’t take your message very far.
Here are three tips for using stats in your marketing content:
The Truth Factor
Above, that 95% I made up is probably close to the truth. After all, what company would disagree? But there’s a reason why businesses include disclaimers in their ads. You know the type – six out of eight saw instant results. Underneath, there’s that tiny writing that says something like ‘64 people took part in a survey and 48 agreed they saw an improvement very soon afterward.’
If only that many agreed to a similar sort of statement – is it really a truthful claim? And what exactly is it an improvement of? Slightly cleaner hair? Looking a bit less hungover in the morning?
I mean, it’s never worked for me but that’s not really the point. Empty statements or misrepresented ‘facts’ won’t do much to boost your offering. People will see it as a fake news alert. So, check the truth factor of your stat. Better yet, interrogate it. Especially for your more cynical readers. But before we get too stuck into empirical truths, let’s move on…
Avoid the Dub Effect
As the saying goes, ask an obvious question and you’ll get an obvious answer. And possibly a cringe. Here’s (another) one I made up earlier:
“80% of people said they preferred working for a company with clear pay increments.”
Well, duh. Who would look at that and think “gosh, that’s a surprise”? With stats like this, you’re not telling your audience something new. In fact, you’re kind of insulting their intelligence. You might think it sounds good, but it’s not really adding anything.
If you use a stat, it’s got to be meaningful. Stats shouldn’t be used for quick wins – they should add value to the subject of the piece and add weight to the argument. And if it doesn’t – get rid.
The Two R's: Readable & Relatable
Now, I know I’ve warned you against staying away from the ‘duh effect’. But it’s also important not to overcomplicate things. You’ve probably heard the quote, “if you can’t explain it to your grandmother, you don’t understand it.”
You might read a stat that confuses you. Especially if there are multiple ways to interpret it. Like, “85% of the people we asked about this thing in this way would rather not have it in this context.” WTF does that even mean?
Stats shouldn’t be so niche that they need dissecting to understand. Nor should they form a tenuous link back to what you’re telling your audience. So, choose each fact carefully. It should resonate with the reader. They should read it and think “yeah, I get that.”
And to be relatable, it needs to be readable. Make sure it’s concise, clear, and in plain English – wherever possible. The copy around it can do the job of elaboration.
To sum up, stats can be a powerful addition to marketing copy. And they have an impact. But only when they are truthful, meaningful, easy to understand, and relevant. So, if you have a killer stat that ticks all those boxes, you should – 100% – throw it in.
Want to talk about your marketing content and how best to sprinkle it with stats? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org