Nobody knows more about how to use testimonials to drive response than infomercial producers. And many – if not most of them — include “new user” testimonials in their shows. With new user testimonials, you identify people in your target audience – those who have the specific “problem” that your product solves – and ask them to use the product for a specified period of time.
You monitor their experience and results, and at the end of the trial, invite them to the shoot. While this type of testimonial is an obvious choice if you’re launching a new product and don’t yet have customers, it’s also a technique used extensively by companies that have customers — and lots of them.
The reason? “New users” inject a special kind of energy and enthusiasm into testimonial videos because they’ve only just recently “discovered” your product. They’ve either found a solution to a problem they thought was unsolvable — or they’ve discovered that your product is vastly superior to whatever they were using before. Either way, they are thrilled to have found your product — and eager to spread the news!
Yet the “new user” testimonials I’ve described above are only one way to use “non-customers” in your testimonial videos. Here are a few others…
- Establish instant credibility with ‘moment of discovery’ testimonials. There’s nothing quite as persuasive as watching an ordinary consumer discover the benefits of your product while the camera rolls. In one case, we stopped consumers in a mall and led them to an area where an exercise machine had been set up. With the cameras rolling, the recruits were asked to try out the machine. They volunteered comments like, “Wow! I can feel the burn already” and “Gee, this is fun!” (We’ll discuss the techniques for producing this type of testimonial video in an upcoming blog.)
- Many years ago, the late David Ogilvy suggested that print ads would work better if copywriters “flagged” their target audience with headlines that began with phrases like, “Attention Small Business Owners” or “Got Athlete’s Foot?” In television you can use a more elaborate and involving “flag” by getting ordinary people (who may or may not use your product) to talk about a problem they have that your product happens to solve. For example, an advertiser might put up a sign in a mall that says, “Talk to us about your back pain.” People come to an area you’ve designated and talk about what hurts, where it hurts and how much they suffer, creating a compelling opening that will have other likely customers thinking to themselves, “That’s exactly the kind of pain I have!” Voila! You’ve got a transfixed audience of precisely the people you want to reach with your new product.
- ‘Challenge’ testimonials use customers to make side-by-side comparisons that show your product’s superiority. Perhaps the most famous “challenge” campaign wasn’t a direct response spot at all. “The Pepsi Challenge” of the 1980s got consumers to compare Coke and Pepsi, with Pepsi coming up the winner. This type of testimonial video can be very powerful, but for some reason, it’s vastly underutilized in advertising, particularly Direct Response TV (DRTV).
When looking for ways to boost response for your business, it pays to consider the many ways to use customer and non-customer testimonials. But there are more ways to use “real people” to boost sales. I’ll be covering that topic in my next post.
So why not give testimonials a try? It’s a proven fact that testimonials can lift response by 30% or more. And given the many ways your organization can use them, they truly are a “best buy” for your marketing dollar.
In my first blog post I shared with you how I spent years avoiding testimonials, even though I knew they worked. I wanted to use testimonials. I just didn’t have the time – or know how – to get them. If that sounds like you, you might want to consider a turn-key solution like The Testimonial Wrangler.