Draw Customers With the Testimonial

Testimonials have long been powerful selling tools in direct mail, and it’s easy to see why. Getting your satisfied customers to sell for you makes your job easier because there’s another voice (or several) that can overcome the skepticism of a prospect. Three recent mailings received by Who’s Mailing What!, the world’s most complete library of direct mail and email, are examples of a new twist on this old fundamental: a direct tie-in between the mail piece and a website.

Many surveys have shown consumers use online product reviews and ratings, as well as social media, before deciding to buy. In these mailings, marketers have leveraged this trend, combining photos, videos, and stories, to boost confidence and trust in the mailer’s product or service, while still avoiding the typical sales pitch’s “marketese.”

For users of Gilenya, a medicine prescribed to treat multiple sclerosis, each panel of Novartis’s multi-panel brochure shows a “Gilenya Guide,” with a brief, positive note about how he or she is feeling. The patient is encouraged to go online and see how are others are coping by clicking on the “HEY MS” messages, each with someone’s photo and location, posted to a map of the U.S. (see image in viewer at right). The intent is to create and nurture a sense of community — or, as the website puts it, “people are curious about ways to connect with people like them.” To that end, a link to post on Facebook and/or Twitter is provided.

Insurance provider GEICO’s one-page letter (see image in viewer at right) is dominated by a single testimonial (in a big point size) from a 25-year customer, Fred H. He cites the “personal care I receive whenever I need to contact GEICO, whether it be for a quote or a claim” for his loyalty.

The consumer is directed to a review-specific page on the company’s website. Customer ratings on a variety of criteria — like value, customers service and claim service, as well some basic profile information — are part of each review. The comments, like all good testimonials, sound genuine, due to their spelling, grammar or choice of words. (see image in viewer at right)

A control mailing from LifeLock, an identity security provider, combines both images and stories. The center of the letter shows three case studies of “actual victims … people just like you.” Each has a photo of a customer and their particular tale of woe, an “incident” that led them to become a LifeLock member. (see image in viewer at right)

Here again, this demonstrates several best testimonial practices: a photo of a real person, an authentic-sounding story, and a specific problem or issue addressed by one or more of the company’s selling points. To bolster their claims, LifeLock promotes its website, where more information as well as video testimonials are available, to help seal the deal.

Paul Bobnak is the director of research at Who’s Mailing What!, which houses the most complete, searchable (and fully online) library of direct mail and mail in the world. To learn more about joining, go to www.whosmailingwhat.com. To reach Paul, email him at pbobnak@napco.com.