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#149 The Power of Testimonials
Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, March 16, 2022



 #149 Blog Post – Wednesday, 16 March 2022


Posted by Denny Hatch


The AwesomePower of Testimonials—

ValuableMembers of Your Sales Team.



Manyyears ago, at a Direct Marketing Association convention I had drinks with a marketingVP of a niche manufacturer who was having a terrible time honing his salesmessage and differentiating his product from the competition.


Iimmediately asked if he had any testimonials from happy customers.


He reached into his briefcase and produced an extraordinary paean from adeliriously satisfied long-term user. It described in gritty detail how theproduct was being used, how it was saving his company six figures a year and why itwas so much better than anything like it in the industry. As I recall, it even came up with a couple of gorgeous USPs(UniqueSelling Propositions).


“I’venever seen anything like this,” I said. “Use this in your advertising and yourdirect marketing. Use it everywhere! Hell, print it in huge type and put it onthe back wall of your exhibit booth. You’ll have more customers than you canhandle!”


“Ican’t,” the guy said. “It was a personal letter from him to me and strictlyconfidential. My boss is paranoid and would never allow it to be made public.”


Iwinced and asked if he had other equally happy customers.  He said he did.


“Then for Pete's sake, ask them for testimonials.”

About Testimonials

If your in-house sales copy makes outrageous,self-serving claims about your own product or service, you can get into deep doo-doowith the regulators—not to mention creating a possible credibility gap with customersand prospects. On the other hand, if you can get a satisfied customer to make thesame claims, you’re golden.


For example, If you promise obesepeople they can eat all they want of everything they love and lose 60 pounds in30 days, you could get into trouble with the FTC. 


If you can get customer who used your diet system, pigged out oneating binges, drank like a fish and lost 60 pounds in 30 days, it’s okay. That’sbecause the First Amendment guarantees the right of free speech.


The Five Stages of Customer Acquisition

The generally recognized sequence of events in marketing is:


(1) Find a suspect. (Everybody in the world is a suspect).


(2) Do enough research on the suspects to qualify likely prospects.


(3) Turn that prospect into a customer (or donor).


(4) Convert that customer/donor into a multi-buyer (orregular donor). 


(5) Nirvana is when thatperson becomes an advocate—who loves you so much that you will get atestimonial and—best of all—referrals.


AnApoplectic Moment…

For many years I was afreelance copywriter, designer and consultant. Whenever I landed a new client, beforeanything could happen, I would schedule a meeting in-person (or, if necessaryon the phone) to learn everything about the business, the product and/or serviceI would be working to help market. One of the questions on my new-clientchecklist was: “Do you have any testimonials from happy customers?”


I remember one new client wrinkledhis brow and said, “Testimonials? . . . I think we got some. They’re maybe in a shoeboxsomewhere. I’ll have to look for them.”


Under my breath I said tomyself, “holy shit.”


Testimonialsare Marketing Gold

If you have satisfied andloyal customers, don’t be shy about asking them for a testimonial. Savvy customersshould want to support their suppliers. For example, for the first time in along time Americans are seeing what it’s like to have an interruption in thesupply chain. The result: lost sales, idled production lines, layoffs ofemployees and a nightmarish scramble to somehow right the corporate ship.


If you can get a testimonial about thequality of your product and service, I suggest you drop everything and do yourdamnedest get it into your marketing mix.


1. Immediately writean effusive letter of sincere thanks and how you were delighted with thosekind words and that you would like to use the words as a testimonial. 

2. Alwaysbe clear what you are going to use the testimonial for and get theirpermission and ask them not to date it; that way you can use it for quitea while without anyone asking what has he/she done lately.  —Donn Richardson  

3. “Fortestimonials, send the customer the text and have them type it onto theirletterhead.”—Bob Wells

4. Ask howthe permission should be signed. (e.g., John Smith or J.S.)


Takeaways to Consider:

According to onestudy, the regular use of customer testimonials can help yougenerate roughly sixty-two percent more revenue not only from every customerbut from every time they visit your brand. —Big Commerce


 Ninety-two percent ofpeople said that they read testimonials when considering apurchase. —Vendasta


  A further eighty-eight percent of consumerssaid that they trusted these reviews just as much as personal recommendations,according to the same study. —Strategic Factory


  To top it off, seventy-two percent of thosewho responded to the survey in question said that positive reviews andtestimonials helped them trust a business significantly more.­—StrategicFactory


• "If one testimonial tests well, trytwo. But don’t use testimonials by celebrities unless they are recognizedauthorities, like Arnold Palmer on golf clubs." —David Ogilvy


• “Don’t just say it — proveit!  Use testimonials, case histories.” —Andrew J. Byrne


• A testimonial is another member of your sales team—an outsider,presumably with no skin in the game who adds credence to your message. This is a far sight more believable than if these were the words of your agency or in-house copywriter.


• Business people maynot be born writers. Their testimonial may seem to require some editing andtinkering. However...


• “Real testimonials have a genuinesound to them that’s very hard to reproduce. Maybe the grammar is ever soslightly off, a peculiar choice of word usage, a point made that noprofessional copywriter ever would have considered. Try to use these realraindrops wherever possible before you start seeding the clouds. Back in thedays when silver dollars were common currency, bartenders, store clerks, etc.used to drop the dollar on the counter and listen to the ring... because it wasdistinctly different from the dull sound made by lead counterfeits.  I’ve found the same to be true oftestimonials.  People can spot the realones from a made-up ones a mile away. So, while I don’t disagree with the rulesabove, I’d be very careful about doing too much rewriting, suggesting andediting.” —Richard Armstrong 



Word count: 1089




The Most Fun You Can Have
In the English Language
At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press.He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletterand archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 yearshe has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.



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