Customer endorsement strategies are regularly used in all direct marketing channels – TV, digital, radio, and print. Why? Because thoughtfully executed testimonial content plays a huge role in brand perception and conversion rates.

Consumer research found 95% of people say that reviews – whether positive or negative – influence their purchasing decisions. That same research found 90% of consumers trust what a customer says about a brand more than what a brand says about itself.

Consider your own Amazon shopping habits as an example. For many of us, one of the first things we do before adding an item to our shopping cart is to read the customer reviews. If the product does not yet have one, you will probably continue your search to find a new solution with positive feedback. As humans, we naturally empathize with others when we read something we can relate to and connect with. These real-life customer experiences help us better understand the product and alleviate any buying hesitations.

Author Jochen Grünbeck describes this consumer reality best, “Social proof is a psychological effect that leads people to conform. It creates a kind of herd mentality. This effect happens because people make a lot of their decisions based on feeling.”

As a marketing strategy, featuring customer reviews in your marketing collateral subconsciously builds brand trust by tapping into human nature and our innate herd mentality. Just think back to our Amazon reference earlier; the competition is fierce when it comes to consumer brands. Why not make it easier for your prospects to choose you by offering real-life quotes from customers who have purchased and loved your product or service?

This article will share examples of how brands are leveraging customer testimonials in direct mail to ease customer hesitation and increase conversion rates.

Tips for Using Testimonials in Direct Mail

Testimonials and what they illustrate for your audience are important. Here are some tips to maximize the effectiveness of testimonials in your direct mail creative.

Finding the Perfect Words

Your direct mail social proof can consist of any positive feedback that comes from a third party. Consider online reviews, certifications and badges, media mentions, celebrity endorsements, and of course, customer testimonials. A great customer quote should be complimentary and informative, ultimately quantifying the consumer’s return on investment to prove your brand understands and fulfills your consumer’s needs.

Testimonial Placement and Design Strategy

Customer testimonials are a significant response driver, so you do not want them buried in your direct mail package – especially if your brand is new to your audience. Depending on your brand and campaign objectives, it may even work best to place your social proof on the outer envelope, address panel, or feature it on an insert.

Here are a few examples of effective testimonial usage in direct mail, including reasons why these deliberate placements make them work harder.

Please note, the examples shared in this article are for reference only and have not been produced by SeQuel Response. Some of the examples were taken from Who’s Mailing What! database. 

Example 1

Chewy direct mail

  • Placing your testimonial near the offer is a great strategy because this is where conversion objections are most likely to occur. Addressing any concerns with a reassuring quote could be the push the recipient needs to commit right now.
  • Setting off the testimonial with a bold headline encourages the consumer to stop and read it. This strategy is great for skim reading if the quotes are lengthy as it allows the reader to focus on the key point.

Example 2

Bowflex direct mail

  • Including a photo of the customer who wrote the testimonial, puts a face to the review, validating the statement. Research suggests people are naturally drawn to human faces, and images increase trust.
  • Directing your audience online to find additional stories invites them to continue to learn about your brand and saves space on your creative for other messaging. Industry trends show direct mail copy is becoming more concise, and strategies like this keep your content brief.
  • Relating the testimonial directly to the copy nearby creates a clear connection. In this specific example, the customer review proves the brand’s statements are true and they can provide a solution.

Example 3

Advance America direct mail

  • Mimicking a Google/online review format by incorporating stars or ratings into your design is a familiar style of social proof among today’s consumers, and it is quickly digested while skimming the piece. Including the specific number of reviews provides extra credibility.
  • Using multiple testimonials when space allows (avoid overcrowding), shows different perspectives, plays on the “fear of missing out” (FOMO) marketing strategy, and further establishes trust.

Example 4

Misfits Market direct mail

  • Pairing your testimonials with additional social proof like industry recognition or media mentions helps show your brand is of high-quality, credible, and trusted by industry experts – especially if those publications are popular and easily recognizable by your audience.
  • Using captivating headlines, such as, “don’t just take our word for it,” or “what people are saying” is more engaging than the obvious, “testimonial.”

Example 5

NetCredit direct mail

  • Featuring your social proof on an insert will increase the consumer’s interaction time with your piece while allowing them to easily focus on the positive comments.
  • Incorporating titles such as “verified customer” or in this example, “Trustpilot Satisfied Customers,” is another way to boost credibility and authenticity with your testimonials.

If you’re looking for more tips on direct mail creative strategy, check out “Utilizing Direct Mail Creative to Alert and Convert: Secrets from the Pros.” This free e-book is packed with direct mail creative best practices to generate response and boost campaign performance.

Originally Published by Who’s Mailing What!, Written by Tari Johnson, Creative Director at SeQuel Response

Keep learning about direct mail through our blog by reading, “Direct Mail Trends and Predictions for 2022”!

Direct Mail Trends and Predictions for 2022