Next sales letter that crosses you path, take a close look at the testimonials.
Most likely, they’ll be the wishy-washy variety that makes you feel apathetic, indifferent or just plain blah about whatever product or service is being hawked, even if you have half an inclination to buy it.
These are the kind of testimonials that presents the promoter in a positive light or make her “feel good.”
Their correlation with sales is loose at best.
Now, see how Moneysworth does it.
You won’t find a feel-good or tepid testimonial in the lot. That’s because they’re all about one thing: results.
The testimonials which follow were published again and again, and vetted with millions of dollars in ad insertions.
They reveal that there are only four kinds of testimonials that really make a difference.
The four testimonials are ones that:
- Save you money
- Make you money
- Enhance your prestige
- Give you insider status
Most of Moneysworth’s testimonial firepower focuses on either making money or saving money, but there’s a good sprinkling of insider status and enhanced prestige, as well.
Getting such testimonials is a topic beyond the scope of this post and once again, the standard disclaimer that your author is not an attorney and cannot offer legal advice, applies here.
However, there are:
Two main schools of thought about testimonials
“School A” says to create the best products and services you’re capable of and actively solicit testimonials from your customers and subscribers.
“School B” says write your dream testimonial yourself and get one of your satisfied customers to stand behind it.
I’ve never been a fan of “School B” for several reasons, having little to do with business ethics.
First, it’s impossible to get outside of your own head when you write a testimonial. No matter how original you think you’re being, testimonials which have been cooked up tend to read that way, irrespective of the ad writer’s talent or experience.
Second, and probably more important, your customers will always find a nuance, hidden benefit or value proposition you would never have thought of and say it in a voice you’re incapable of.
The following testimonials were the little motors of the Moneysworth machine – stretching its paid subscribership to well over a million. And it’s because of that sizeable subscribership that Moneysworth was able to capture so many compelling, and in some cases, otherworldly endorsements.
When you read a testimonial-laden Moneysworth ad, consider the aggregate effect of so many results-based testimonials on the same page, and the startling social proof which neutralized even the most doubting prospect.
Use of the endorser’s full name and City/State is still the gold standard.
The implication is simple. If the people are real, then so is the result.
As you read these testimonials, pay attention to the little elements, the specificity and verbal ticks which smack of authenticity. Sidenote: I’m pretty sure I’ve used Jimmy’s Service Station when I lived in Guttenberg, NJ.
Moneysworth Subscriber Testimonials
“You article ‘How to Fight a Traffic Ticket’ saved me a $200 lawyer’s fee and a ticket. I did exactly as you suggested – taking pictures of the scene and double checking the statute book – and came out of winner in court. Many, many thanks. – W.R. Wendel; Hicksville, New York.
Thanks to your article ‘How to Buy a New Car for $125 Above Dealers Cost,’ I have just purchased the Malibu Sport Coupe at a saving that I conservatively estimate at $350.” – Ron Bromert; Anita, Iowa.
“Your article ‘How to Avoid Paying an Exorbitant Doctor Bill’ saved me $65. As a token of gratitude, I enclose payment for extension of my subscription.” Carl Wagner; Yorktown Heights, New York.
“I have deposited $12,500 in the Mexican bank, as you suggested, and have been receiving every month by airmail interest at 9%. I am grateful to your excellent Moneysworth for telling me about this high rate of interest.” Charles T. Malbura; Sarasota, Florida.
“Upon Moneysworth’s advice, I asked the phone company for an itemized bill. As a result, I discovered that for years I had been paying for a non-existent extra line. Result: a $550 refund. My subscription has paid for itself 110 times over.” – George T. Petsche, Washington D.C.
“Thanks to Moneysworth I’m $5,417 richer. I battled the social security administration unsuccessfully for 18 months, then finally won out by following the advice of your brilliant article, ‘By All Means Appeal.’ May I say thank you? – Shirley E. Dominguez; Waterbury, Conn.
“Bravo for your advice on combating a bad credit rating. It enabled me to overcome a black mark given erroneously via a Seattle Credit Bureau. Moneysworth is worth its weight in gold. People who see me reading it in public exclaim, ‘Oh! I love that publication.’ I always reply that I do too. Go! Go! Go!” – Eddie J. Taylor; Juneau, Alaska
“Your advice on Social Security resulted in a $3,135 lump-sum cash payment to my wife and $171 monthly pension. The best investment I ever made was a subscription to Moneysworth,.” – Dr. Herman W. Hortop, La Grange, Illinois.
“Your expose of charity rackets was a shocker. I crossed several well-known organizations off my list, saving hundreds of dollars. Moneysworth certainly looks out for the interest of its readers.” – Freda M. McMullin; Steilacoom, Wash.
“For years I had always been the victim of greedy mechanics till Moneysworth steered me to Jimmy’s Service Station in Guttenberg New Jersey. My old ‘66 Ford now runs much better than most new cars. And the amount of money Jimmy has saved me – compared with estimates I’ve gotten from other mechanics – is unreal. Moneysworth you’re terrific!” – Mrs. Dorothy Tyborski Secaucus, N.J.
“Because of savings you just help me make on a new car, I calculate that I can subscribe to Moneysworth for 46 years and the subscription will be absolutely free. You’re marvelous! Thank you.” – Mrs. J. Wilson; Philadelphia, Pa.
“Moneysworth is aptly named. To paraphrase Churchill, ‘Never have so many paid so little for so much.’ – David Alpern Pittsburgh, Pa..
“You’re not going to believe this but I have parlayed $146 into $90,000. Thanks for your informative article on breaking into real estate. How can I ever express my gratitude sufficiently?” H.T. Pinrose; Montgomery, Iowa
“Your tip on flying to Europe via another continent saved me $450. You’ve made me a subscriber for life.” Charles B. Fager, MD., Harrisburg, Pa.
“Your article on altitudinous interest rates paid by foreign banks has made it possible for me to retire in style. How can I ever thank you enough?” – Eric T. Svenson; Fallbrook, California.
“Your article on ‘coupon refunding’ got my husband and me hooked on the hobby. It saves us enough each year to pay for our vacation.” – Grace Feingold; Brooklyn
“To a retired teacher like myself living on a fixed income and caught between rising prices and the shrinking dollar, Moneysworth is a godsend.” Elgin V. Tindall; Philadelphia.
“You certainly tell it like it is. Your article ‘The Ugly Truth About Beauty Aids’ is candid, commendable — and I’m a dermatologist.” H.C. Scott MD; Raleigh, North Carolina.
“Your news reports on investing have brought me, in a matter of a few months, $12,996 in profit, tripling my money. Let me assure you that I shall be a Moneysworth subscriber for life.” – Lawrence C. Gray; Ypsilanti, Mich.
The power of testimonials can significantly increase any marketer’s bottom line. Asking for referrals on a regular basis is key to building credibility.
Fern Lee says
I appreciate your post exploring the way testimonials could be written. I think your breakdown of the four types of testimonials that “make a difference” is informative.