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Direct Mail
March 7, 2023

Guide to Using Testimonials or User-Generated Content in Direct Mail

by 
Stephanie Donelson

Business owners have known for decades that testimonials can be highly persuasive when they are used in marketing materials. Today, the potential for using user-generated content is huge. In addition to traditional marketing testimonials, businesses can also use content that customers have posted on social media, such as images of themselves using the product or their own video tutorials.

While testimonials have been game-changes in email nurture streams and UGC making an impact on social media, many marketers are missing out on leveraging these content types in their direct mail marketing. We recently talked about using testimonials and UGC in marketing campaigns when talking about timeless marketing tactics on the Lobcast Podcast and it got us thinking about how marketers can work this content into direct mail strategies.

Here are a few different ways to use customer testimonials in your campaigns and the benefits of each approach:

Customer testimonial on a buckslip. Image credit: Who's Mailing What!

Buckslips

A buckslip is a small piece of paper that is inserted into a letter or postcard. This is a great way to include a testimonial in your direct mail campaign, as it allows you to highlight a specific quote or endorsement from a satisfied customer. The small size of the buck slip can make the testimonial more impactful, and it can be an easy way to add social proof to your direct mail campaign.

Recommended reading: The Buck Starts Here: Get Started with Buckslips in Direct Mail

Postcards

Another way to use user-generated content in your direct mail campaign is to include it on the front of a postcard. This can be a great way to grab the recipient's attention and make them more likely to read the rest of the postcard. Why not reach out to happy customers to ask if you can use images they have posted of themselves using your product?

Self-mailer

Similar to using postcards to feature customer quotes or URLs to UGC, you can do the same thing on the self-mailer format. Have the quote on the front that teases what product or service is inside, or use the inside to provide social proof after you've gotten your recipients' attention.

Letters

Another way to use testimonials in your direct mail campaign is to include them in a letter. This provides a more detailed review from a customer and give recipients a sense of the customer's experience. Addressing the letter to the customer by name can help it to feel personalized and even more authentic. Testimonial letters can be very effective in building trust and credibility with recipients, making them more likely to take action.

Envelopes

Not planning on inserting a buckslip to your letter-based direct mail campaign? Add a customer quote or shortened URL to the envelope to catch the recipients' attention and provide that social proof as soon as the mail is in the recipient's hands.

Recommended Reading: 5 Personalized Direct Mail Examples to Inspire Your Marketing Campaigns

Quick tips for using testimonials or UGC in direct mail

We've covered what mail format to use to send out testimonials or share UGC via direct mail, but what about getting started? How do you do it? Let's cover some quick tips and best practices!

  • Use testimonials across campaign types: Customer testimonials are often used to close deals and acquire new customers and they do work well in this format, but you could also use customer quotes to reactivate customers! Say you have a segment of former customers who left because your business didn't offer a specific product or service but you recently released it, send those customers a piece of direct mail that features a quote, testimonial, or UGC, like a video review from a customer, that talks about the new product or service. Let those former customers know you heard them and it's time for them to come back.
  • Try different formats: Change it up and run A/B tests on using quotes, star-ratings, case studies, or social media reviews.
  • Tease the testimonial: Leave out part of the testimonial so the recipient is compelled to visit your website to find out how the case study or customer story ends.
  • Personalize the testimonial to the target audience: A CMO may look for different benefits than an Email Specialist, so use relevant quotes or customer stories to tell them what they need to hear or validate their opinion on your product or service.
  • Use QR codes: Leverage your technology and save space on your direct mail campaign by using a QR code to send the recipient to a case study, video testimonial, review site, or specific piece of UGC on social media.

Case study: Chase

One example of a company that has effectively used customer testimonials in its direct mail campaigns is Chase. In one campaign, Chase included a testimonial from a child who had received their first debit card through Chase. The child described the feeling of independence they got from being able to manage their own money.

By including a child's testimonial, Chase was able to build trust and credibility with recipients by providing a real-life example of a satisfied customer. The direct mail also highlighted the benefits of working with Chase for parents, such as the ability to keep track of the child's purchases.

In this way, Chase was able to use the power of social proof to increase engagement and conversions in their direct mail campaign. This is a great example of how to use a testimonial in a direct mail campaign to build trust and credibility with recipients and to highlight the benefits of your product or service.

Chase also benefited from the inclusion of a QR code on their direct mail, allowing the recipient to easily find out more about their services.

Recommended Reading: Track Direct Mail Using QR codes

Case study: Haven Life Insurance

Another example of a company that has effectively used customer testimonials in its direct mail campaigns is Haven Life Insurance. In one campaign, Haven Life Insurance included postcards featuring an eye-catching patchwork of positive quotes from happy customers. These postcards were sent to potential customers, highlighting the benefits of Haven Life Insurance and how easy it is to apply for coverage. On the back of the postcard was a web link that customers could visit to find out more.

The use of real customer quotations in this campaign was a powerful way for Haven Life Insurance to build trust and credibility with potential customers. By featuring real people and their experiences, expressed in their own words, Haven Life Insurance was able to provide social proof that their service is reliable and easy to use. The layout of each brightly colored postcard made it easy for the recipients to read and understand the testimonials and made the campaign more impactful. Haven also used A/B testing to see the effects of personalizing these postcards with the recipient's first name or other details.

Recommended Reading: The Best Metrics to Measure Direct Mail Effectiveness

Using user-generated content in your campaign

In summary, using testimonials in your direct mail marketing campaign can be an effective way to build trust and credibility with recipients and can help to move them through the funnel faster. There are many ways to use marketing testimonials in your campaigns, such as buckslips, postcards, and letters. These can be used in line with direct mail best practices to grab your customers' attention and help move them through the marketing funnel.

Contact Lob to find out how you can build effective direct mail marketing campaigns using testimonials and user-generated content.