Let’s talk about the evolution of testimonials in advertising for a second and then I’ll suggest the next evolution that might make a real difference in your bottom line.

First there were written testimonials from anonymous people like A.J. in Tempe, Az. These appeared in mailers and ads in the fifties and sixties.

By the late seventies people were becoming more skeptical of those, and so we started to see more full names, such as John Smith in Phoenix, Arizona. That was a slight improvement, but still – who knew if they were real or not?

Next we saw testimonials with photos. Much better. Real faces going with real names, but of course they still might be faked.

Then came the Internet which went through the same evolution of using initials, full names and then adding photos. Finally came audio testimonials and then video testimonials. Again, each was an improvement in lending credibility to the sales message.

 

But people’s attention span dwindled as they were being bombarded with more and more information and sales messages. Now it seemed like too much time and work to sit and watch half a dozen video testimonials, and so those testimonials actually became less effective.

 

So do I have a solution? Quite possibly, although as always, you’ll want to test to see if this idea works for your site. This idea comes from a photo I saw on a Joe Polish website weeks ago. In the photo was a carpet cleaner holding a sign saying how much more he was earning since he bought Joe’s marketing course. I’m sure that was all Joe’s doing because Joe is a great marketer who thinks out of the box.

 

And I got to thinking that something similar could work in almost any niche, so long as it’s not a product that might cause embarrassment if its users were revealed. Viagra comes to mind as an example.

 

When you get a testimonial from a customer, ask if they would be willing to take a testimonial photo for you to help you out. Keep the testimonial short with specifics, such as “With AB Local Marketing we have increased our profits by $8,500 a month!” Add their name and address. Print the whole thing out on a sign (handprinting is fine) and mail it to them. Tell them how to take the photo (for example, if it’s a business, have them take the photo in front of the business with the business name clearly seen in the background.)

 

People love photos and will always pause to look at them, especially if there are faces in the photo. If there is a sign in the photo as well, people cannot help but read them. Seeing the people in the photo holding the sign in front of their business, or in their home, etc. will lend you tremendous credibility.

 

Try out this idea, and see if it doesn’t increase your sales.