There are dozens of ways that you can build credibility in your product or service with direct mail. The one that’s captured my attention lately is the professional endorsement.
Oh sure, customer testimonials can be fun. I love reading authentic stories when they’re on point. There’s nothing better.
But when the expertise of an independent authority is leveraged in a smart way, it too can be a powerful tool to help punch up your direct mail letter, brochure, or envelope.
Let’s assume you’ve already looked at the appropriate FTC guidelines. Here are four ideas on how you can use what others think to your advantage.
1. Make It Noticeable
Sometimes you’ll see a small symbol hidden away on the back of an envelope or the corner of a page. Kabbage, an online business lender, put award ribbon graphics on the face of its #10 envelope. One represents the BBB (Better Business Bureau), the other, Forbes magazine.
This works because businesses seeking financing are more likely to work with a highly-regarded institution, and one that’s also been recognized as promising by a leading business media property.
2. Explain Why
In many cases, it’s a good practice to explain what all the fuss is about. Oxfam America, an international aid charity, does that on the back of its brochure in a recent appeal. Next to the logos of three leading non-profit watchdog groups, it briefly spells out what those ratings mean.
Here’s another example. Inova, a health system based in Northern Virginia, used most of the back cover of one of its mail magazines to highlight its honors from U.S. News & World Report. The media site is well-known for its college and hospital rankings. “It’s no wonder,” Inova says, citing its research and specialty care.
3. Connect It To Your Message
Humana, the health insurance company, devotes much of one side of its postcard to its pharmacy service’s award from J.D. Power for customer satisfaction. The reverse of the mail piece repeats the mention. Then, it provides and describes three benefits (convenience, savings, confidence) of the pharmacy before making the call to action.
4. Tie It In To The Web
Go ahead and carefully use ratings from websites and users. ShipStation, a shipping software provider, works with many e-commerce sites. Its customers, then, are more likely to be impressed by high ratings from users of Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce.
Another example: On a direct mail piece, Santander Bank references the recognition of its money market account by NerdWallet, a personal finance website.
To maximize the impact of the endorsement, you have to keep in mind what your customers want. They want to trust you. They want not just your creative, but the seal of approval from others, before they can truly feel peace of mind.