Starting a Sales Letter with Testimonials.

by GlenH
16 replies
Hey Guys,

I have a quick question about the general sequencing and formatting of sales letters.

I've recently seen some examples of copy written by a few well know copywriters, where they've used a strategy of starting the sales letter off by placing two or three of the more persuasive testimonials for the product or service right after the second subhead, (right before the 'Dear ......)

What the thinking on an approach like that?

Can hitting the reader / prospect with testimonials before they get into reading anything about the product /service, put them in a more positive, receptive mindset. Or can it have the opposite effect?

Glen.
#letter #sales #starting #testimonials
  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    They are fine if the reader is already aware of his expertise status.

    If not, then demonstration of it before testimonials becomes the better sequence because it matches a buyers decision making process.

    Best,
    Ewen
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      A testimonial at the top of a sales page can act as an attention getter... performing the same function as a headline.

      Check out Tina Lorenz's website:

      Tina Lorenz Writes

      She has two testimonials at the top... one from Gary Bencivenga and the other from John Carlton.

      The trick is to have them from people the reader will recognize and respect.

      Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author Ghoster
    I like it.

    Humans are social and rely on social proof to inform their buying decisions.

    Social proof is so powerful that it can even influence Wall Street analysts.
    Signature

    On the whole, you get what you pay for.

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    • Profile picture of the author splitTest
      Credible, authoritative testimonials are probably the most powerful tools copy can bring to bear.

      What objective third parties say about your product carries far more weight than all the good things you say about it. That's why customer reviews are so popular on places like Amazon, etc., and why product reviews are popular all over the place...

      If you have good testimonials, make them prominent. Nothing wrong with leading with them, as long as it's apparent what you're selling and you've targeted your prospects well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
    If you are in the financial niche and you have a testimonial from Warren Buffet you would be silly not to put it above the fold.

    --- Ross
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    • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
      Originally Posted by Ross Bowring View Post

      If you are in the financial niche and you have a testimonial from Warren Buffet you would be silly not to put it above the fold.

      --- Ross
      IMHO, it depends on who your heroes and role models are. I was looking at personal finance books at Barnes and Noble just yesterday. Found one with Warren Buffets testimonial on it, I didn't buy it because of that. I got Dave Ramsey's new book instead.

      Why?

      First, I see Warren as being too far removed from where I am to relate with me. He's a billionaire. I'm only halfway to the seven figure a year mark. Sure, he might have come from the same place, but it's easy to forget that once you're the king of the mountain.

      Dave, on the other hand, I can identify with. I get a better sense of empathy coming from him. He's got the same internal values and we have similar "Hero's Journey" stories.

      It comes back to the fundamental rule of good copy. Know your audience. Know their values, their prejudices, their fears, their desires and start there.
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      • Profile picture of the author JassieN
        Good point. Thanks for sharing
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      • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
        Originally Posted by sethczerepak View Post

        IMHO, it depends on who your heroes and role models are. I was looking at personal finance books at Barnes and Noble just yesterday. Found one with Warren Buffets testimonial on it, I didn't buy it because of that. I got Dave Ramsey's new book instead.

        Why?

        First, I see Warren as being too far removed from where I am to relate with me. He's a billionaire. I'm only halfway to the seven figure a year mark. Sure, he might have come from the same place, but it's easy to forget that once you're the king of the mountain.

        Dave, on the other hand, I can identify with. I get a better sense of empathy coming from him. He's got the same internal values and we have similar "Hero's Journey" stories.

        It comes back to the fundamental rule of good copy. Know your audience. Know their values, their prejudices, their fears, their desires and start there.
        I should know better than to make a sweeping statement. I was thinking about an Agora style financial promo. If Warren Buffet said "the method" being touted was legit, that testimonial would be utilized early and often.

        --- Ross
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        • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
          Originally Posted by Ross Bowring View Post

          I should know better than to make a sweeping statement. I was thinking about an Agora style financial promo. If Warren Buffet said "the method" being touted was legit, that testimonial would be utilized early and often.

          --- Ross
          Yeah, I get that. Just busting your balls - After all, this is the copywriting forum lol
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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    I've tested it. It depends on your market.

    People focused personalities respond well to stories and testimonials in the lead.

    For the analytical, task focused personalities, stats and other types of proof are a stronger lead.

    Case in point, I'm a task focused personality. I rarely trust other people's opinions, especially on certain topics so testimonials rarely push me to buy. I want to see the evidence and the data first.
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    • Profile picture of the author Chriswrighto
      Originally Posted by sethczerepak View Post

      I've tested it. It depends on your market.

      People focused personalities respond well to stories and testimonials in the lead.

      For the analytical, task focused personalities, stats and other types of proof are a stronger lead.

      Case in point, I'm a task focused personality. I rarely trust other people's opinions, especially on certain topics so testimonials rarely push me to buy. I want to see the evidence and the data first.
      Yup, agreed with Seth.

      I too am very task focussed.

      So it's really about understanding your market.
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      Wealthcopywriter.com :)

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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    If you have a claim heavy headline, "Lose That Annoying Shelf & Get A Flat, Toned Stomach - In Just 28 Days," then you'll need proof.

    "I used Mark's Toned Tummy program and saw that unsightly shelf get cut in half after just two weeks!" Becky from San Diego

    Mark
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    Do You Want To Make 5 and 6-Figures A Month As A Freelance Copywriter? My Copywriting System Has Made Over 600 Million Dollars. Discover More

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  • "Steve The Copywriter has extraordinary writing talent. He makes your prospects want to respond and my goodness they do. He's the person to call when you need Ads that work"

    Steve The Copywriter


    Personally, I think having a good targeted testimonial at the top of the page is cool.


    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    Has anyone else read "Great Leads" by Michael Masterson or seen Eugene Schwartzs "Stages of Sophistication?"

    Those clear up a lot of confusion about how to start your sales letter. Testimonials are more valuable to prospects at the later buying stages who are trying to find the most superior solution.

    If the prospect isn't sold on the TYPE Of solution you offer, or if they're unaware of the need which your product or service serves, you could create a high bounce rate by having immediate social proof about the product or service. They might not be ready to buy something yet...you have to get them there first.
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  • Profile picture of the author ThomasOMalley
    I second Seth's recommendation that you read Michael Masterson's book, Great Leads. It gives you exactly the info. you're looking for.

    Best regards,

    Thomas O'Malley
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  • I use a testimonial as the headline for the WSO offering my services. It's worked pretty well so far.

    My preheadline (as well as the subject line) makes the offer clear, and then the headline/testimonial offers social proof.

    Of course, it helps that the testimonial came from another copywriter.
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