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 Adland Digest FREE Edition #536
  Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Information Your Business Needs RIGHT NOW

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The Power of Testimony Sells

In the business world, as unfair as this may seem, it's not what YOU think about your business that counts, it's what your customers think.  There is a way to leverage that satisfaction called the Testimonial and the more of them you can gather, the more credible and valuable your product appears to new or potential customers.  The better and more credible your product appears, the higher the chances you'll secure a sale and of course sales = $$$. 

Far too many people forget or neglect the power of a few good testimonials.  Generally this comes from not putting yourselves into the shoes of your visitor at the moment they are about to make a buying decision.  There are dozens of thoughts that go through a customer's mind at that point.  You can put testimonials up that will address these concerns for the customer and move them 1 step closer to the purchase button. 

"I really like this product but I'm not sure about buying things on the internet.  I heard it's not very safe or secure." 

This is an opportunity to put up a testimonial about how impressed one of your clients was with the professionalism and discretion of your business in handling a transaction.  How every step of the way they felt secure from the moment they clicked the "Buy" button to the point when they received their invoice in their email. 

"I really like this product but it's too much money"

Here's a chance for you to put up a testimonial about how a customer felt the same way just before they bought your product but they realized after getting "X" and "X" and "X" that it was worth every penny of the investment. 

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"I'll bet that once they get my money, I won't get any support after that or if I have a problem I won't get any support at all."

Once again, take this negative and turn it into a positive by putting up a customer testimonial about how happy they were with your customer support after the sale.  Include precise details about the problem they were having and how it was ultimately resolved in a timely fashion. 

If you don't have testimonials like these from your customers, ask them for some.  Try to recall specific situations where this has occurred and then ask the customer to describe the experience they had with your company.  Ask them politely to be as precise as possible when describing their experience with your company and if they were happy with the outcome, when they send you your reply, the reply should be a testimonial you can use. 

I came across this article by Marcia Yudkin and it is a very good article about the difference precision can make when a customer submits a testimonial.  I learned a few things here and maybe you will too.  Often when testimonials are used they are too vague and may appear fake to visitors. 

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Stronger, Clearer Testimonial Letters Sell Better
by Marcia Yudkin

Misconceptions about testimonial quotes from clients and customers are
rampant, weakening Web sites and printed brochures that fail to use the
full power of these marketing tools. For instance, longer is not better,
and unsigned testimonials add little credibility, even for a professional
service where confidentiality is appropriate.

Here are two blurbs that I found posted on the Web, along with my analysis
and revision.


Rudy, Exelrod & Zieff LLP has been very pleased with results of its website
developed through Lawinfo.com. Because our firm is easily locatable through
the major search engines, we are finding that numerous people are
contacting us who otherwise would not. Additionally, Lawinfo.com handles
modifications of our website easily and otherwise provides good service.
Alan Exelrod, Rudy, Exelrod & Zieff LLP, www.reztlaw.com


"Numerous people" is vague. I would ask this attorney how many that would
be - three a month, thirty a day or what? "Handles modifications of our
website easily" is unclear - does it mean that Lawinfo.com makes changes
soon after you e-mail them in, or that they have a procedure in place to
enable site owners to do it themselves? While this question is undoubtedly
answered elsewhere on the site, it can usefully be clarified within a
testimonial like this as well. Next, what is meant by "provides good
service"? I don't think the "Sincerely" is necessary. Finally, all
testimonials should have quotation marks around them to make it explicit
that these are the customer's exact words.


"Rudy, Exelrod & Zieff LLP has been very pleased with results of its
website developed through Lawinfo.com. Because our firm is easily locatable
through the major search engines, we now have more than thirty new clients
a month that we would not otherwise have. Additionally, Lawinfo.com posts
our e-mailed website modifications within a day, is always up and running
and resolves billing issues promptly."
- Alan Exelrod, Rudy, Exelrod & Zieff LLP, www.reztlaw.com


"Kidspiration is fun! Students will think they are playing while they are
engaged in language development, concept building, and acquiring a variety
of learning skills such as classification and sight word knowledge." -
Renee Schorr, Early Childhood Teacher, Winship Elementary School, Brighton,


All nine quotes on this site use "will" or present tense, referring to
predictions or guesses about results. Not one testimonial talks about
real-life, classroom-tested results. Overall, this conveys a strong sense
that the product has neither been released nor tested in actual classrooms.
Poking around on the site, I learned that is absolutely untrue. The site
thus needs to go back to its testimonial writers for real observations or
get new quotes from those who have seen the product in action.


"Kidspiration is fun! Students in my classroom believe they are playing
while they are engaged in language development, concept building, and
acquiring a variety of learning skills such as classification and sight
word knowledge." - Renee Schorr, Early Childhood Teacher, Winship
Elementary School, Brighton, MA

The above is excerpted from Secrets of Mouthwatering Marketing Copy by
Marcia Yudkin, available from http://www.yudkin.com/mouthwatering.htm.
Marcia Yudkin <marcia@yudkin.com> is the author of 11 books, including
Persuading on Paper and Internet Marketing for Less than $500/Year.

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Classified Ads - What Works & What Doesn’t
By Diana Barnum

Do classified ads really work? Should you include an email
address or fax number in them? How about a call to action?

Questions like these are often brought to the attention of
OhioHelp.net, an Ohio-based company specializing in helping
businesses worldwide with their marketing, public relations and
freelance writing services. Here are some top tips they offer
based on their own client projects.



Study the ads in publications where you would like to place yours
to see what works. And STUDY them like you'll have an exam over
them. If you didn't see the ad before, skip it. Only focus on
those who repeatedly placed the same ads - -these people are
selling off of them: bottom line.

While you’re at it, call some of those companies who are not your
direct competitors and ask how their ads pull (and log their
replies for reference). Exchange contact information and follow
up so that you can possibly team up with them later in a joint
venture and send clients back and forth.

Results show that small ads placed in inexpensive publications
generally bring in phone calls and clicks to websites, but no
email replies. And on the average, these callers reported having
limited or no Internet access along with limited or no computer /
email capabilities in their homes. If they had access at work, it
was limited and did not offer personal / private email. Toll-free
numbers brought in more responses than local numbers with area
codes. And fax numbers brought in nothing at all.


Sales increased with the inclusion of Gift and Reward items in a
call-to-action ad. Popular items were:

A. A No-Cost Information Kit that included a variety of tip
sheets, electronic books and software sent via downloadable
links in printed sales letters and included on disks or CDs. All
items were mailed Flat Rate via Priority Mail.

B. A Book / workbook set sent the same way or mailed Media Rate
in a manila envelope. Sets were for a trial period before
purchasing. And No-Cost Information Kits above were included in
the package.

C. A special “Freebie” item of their choice from our bookstore
was mailed or emailed with mention of the ad.

To increase customer contact, communication and overall sales,
include specific pricing in the ad; for example, say, “rates from
$39.” Also list an email address with a domain name and specific
person to contact. In other words, instead of emailing
info@aol.com, email diana@ohiohelp.net using a first name for
familiarity. (Note that some classifieds charge a 3-word count
for URLs but only a 1-word count for email addresses.) And use an
action verb in your call-to-action, “Mention Ad for…”



• Keep up. Keep educating yourself and your helpers. For example,
inexpensive company subscriptions to a monthly ebook club
http://presssuccess.com/wholesale and the jvAlert Perpetual
Learning Series www.jvAlert.com/LearningSeries.aspx?id=1805 help
to catch up with the latest scoop -- what works and what doesn’t
work from top-level marketers & industry leaders.

• Prepackage info into autoresponders
http://presssuccess.com/AutoPilot with a 30-day no-cost trial period.
Then the info can be sent upon request immediately to prospective
clients. Treat information requests like proposals & include past
work you’ve done in the field, samples, references, additional
resources, your credentials, etc.

So sharpen your pencil or grab your keyboard and tune up your
classified campaigns. Testing and improving your ads can
definitely increase sales.

By Diana Barnum, CEO of http://ohiohelp.net. For more help
with marketing, public relations and writing, email diana@ohiohelp.net 
or call: (614)529-9459. Help yourself to no-cost ebooks and other goodies
at: http://movingaheadcommunications.com/freebies.html

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