Most direct marketers underestimate the selling power of testimonials — positive statements of facts made on behalf of your product or service by a third party.

You see, your prospects and customers expect you to say good things about yourself.

So, they tend to discount everything you say. But you add tremendous credibility to your claims when you can get someone else to say it instead.

The five basic reasons people don’t buy from you:

There are five basic reasons people don’t buy from you. They have no trust, they have no need, they have no money, they have no desire, or they are in no hurry.

Testimonials help you eliminate the most important of these reasons – having no trust.

The four types of testimonials:

There are four major types of testimonials: customer, celebrity, expert and implied. Let’s briefly discuss all four and see how you can put them to work in your advertising.

Testimonial #1 – Customer

Customer testimonials are the strongest. Prospects usually identify with people like themselves and they believe what they say.

Here’s an example of a customer testimonial we received: ‘’We are just 10 days into our response to the first mailing you have done for Triad, and already we have a better response than we have ever had from any previous promotion.’’

Testimonial #2 – Celebrity

Celebrity testimonials can also be powerful for two reasons. First, celebrities have reputations to maintain. This adds to their credibility. Secondly, some individuals want to be like celebrities, so they do what celebrities do or recommend. And, of course, celebrities have a massive social media following.  Here’s an example of a celebrity testimonial:

Shaq recently told his 35 million social media followers — as well as CNBC’s Jim Cramer — about the significant upside potential for one under-the-radar bottled water company.

In fact, basketball Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’ Neal was so impressed with the company’s products… and its growth potential… that he agreed to join.

Testimonial #3: Expert

Experts are also very effective. Again, people believe what experts say. Here’s an example of an expert testimonial:

“Gold prices will break out of a tight trading range in 2021 as inflation worries stroke demand. According to Goldman Sachs, gold has a significant upside potential of reaching up to $2500.’’

Testimonial #4 – Implied

Implied testimonials do not refer to your product or service directly, but instead refer to your general industry.

For example, if you’re selling a specific car from Korea, an implied testimonial from Motor Trend might read, “We have found Korean cars to perform as well or better than Japanese cars.

The effective use of testimonials:

There are three steps to the effective use of testimonials: obtaining them, selecting them, and using them.

It is amazing how many marketers simply discard valuable and often unsolicited customer testimonials. If you’re doing so – STOP! Save in a file every testimonial you receive (we call it a “love note file’’) and begin asking all your satisfied customers for them. Make sure you get written permission to use them, however.

Celebrity and expert testimonials are not easy to come by. You’ll probably have to pay for celebrity testimonials. You may also have to pay for expert testimonials. If no experts are freely recommending your products, you may have to have them evaluated to get their recommendations. If paid, they should absorb it.

Naturally, implied testimonials will only come to you if you are on the lookout for searches and google notifications.

It’s always a good idea to state a benefit about your product or service and then back it up with a testimonial.

I will usually use a star rating with the testimonial and always create a powerful pre-head.

How to select your testimonials:

Selecting the proper testimonials is very important. Try unsolicited testimonials that your customers wrote or a video they made themselves. If you must, you can write a testimonial and ask a customer to sign it.

You also want to use the longest, most specific, and detailed testimonial possible. “I get 50% more work done with your software” is strong than “I get more work done with your software.” “I increased my sales by $152,100 with your unique sales system” is better than “I increased my sales with your system.”

And don’t be too eager to edit testimonials. You want them to sound as real as possible. Written or video, mistakes are good. Also, is possible, use the customer’s full name, or at least his or her initials. And make sure you always get permission to use them.

How to use your testimonials:

You should use testimonials in all or your advertising efforts: landing page, digital ad, native ads, video ad, VSL… everything.

You can use them in many ways. For example, your entire ad or landing page can be nothing more than a page of testimonials.

Or you can bring them up periodically in the body of your video or direct mail piece. It’s always a good idea to state a benefit about your product or service and then back it up with a testimonial.

For example, consider the following excerpt from a newsletter promotion we did:

“But he’s a man who simply knows how to make his subscribers A LOT OF MONEY!”

For example, subscriber U.W. of Florida says: ‘I’ve made over $11,000 in just a few weeks. This is so phenomenal that I can hardly believe it… During 10 years, I’ve tried all kinds of advisory letters, but haven’t made any money. In fact, I’ve lost money [from them]… thank you indeed.

You might draw special attention to your testimonials by separating them inside a box. Or you might insert an entire page of testimonials in with your advertising. For direct mail an option is to create a lift note featuring testimonials.

Using testimonials in direct response television or video:

Direct response TV ads or video is where your celebrity testimonials are most useful. Marketers find that, used correctly, celebrity testimonials can increase response by 30% or more.

But be warned. If you pick the wrong celebrity – one whose image does not match your product or service – you could be in for trouble. Be sure you celebrity is a believable endorser of your product or service.

When using customer testimonials in direct response television, don’t be afraid to choose people who look like “real” people.

We have found repeatedly that beautiful people who give a polished performance do not test well with audiences as testimonials given by someone who looks like Bob or Sue from next door and seems a little uncomfortable in front of the camera or shot on the iPhone. They ultimately come across as giving a more believable and trusted testimonial.

Testimonials are so powerful and so underused. Put them to work today and watch your business grow.

Need help in using results properly and getting powerful marketing? Give us a call at 615-933-4647 or email Craig at craig@cdmginc.com