First Up: Testimonials
The rise of social media and prevalence of online ratings and customer reviews on e-commerce sites tells us that today's consumer values the opinion of her peers over that of the marketer or company. This online phenomenon translates into direct mail in the form of customer testimonials, a direct mail fundamental.
"What the testimonial is, and this is the same thing that we're seeing online, it's that the consumers are turning to each other to get confidence in who to trust," says Russell Kern, founder and president of The Kern Organization, located in Woodland Hills, Calif. The customer testimonial takes the product endorsement out of the marketer's hands and puts it into the consumers' hands, adds Ken Schneider, direct mail copywriter and president of Ken Schneider & Associates, based in Houston.
In order to successfully implement testimonials in direct mail, marketers may need to dig to find the best comments to match with their selling points or mail package, and do some testing. Below are some tips from Kern and Schneider to get the most out of your testimonials.
1. Solicit Customer Testimonials
Kern says that sending an e-mail to customers is a quick and easy way to conjure up content for your mailing. "You can actually do an active testimonial solicitation process and do it online for offline applications," he says. For example, it could be a three-question survey asking, "Are you currently satisfied?" "What do you like about the product?" and "Is there a positive comment that you'd be willing to share with other customers like yourself?" he illustrates.
2. Find Testimonials in the Media and Online
One of the first places Schneider looks for testimonial copy is within the company's existing marketing collateral. In the case of a publication mailing, Schneider advises checking the media kit and past issues for any positive letters to the editor. Another bit of market research that mailers can tap into are existing conversations about their product or service on blogs, Twitter and in references on social networks. "Look at the conversations that are happening about your products to see what quotes are out there," Kern advises.