Turn your advertisers into your best salespeople: Testimonials

October 17, 2014

By Ken Blum
Black Ink

My name is Herb, and I’ve just put up the sign for my new business, “Herb’s Superb Speedy Auto Repair.”
Now I need to attract customers who need my diagnostic and mechanical skills to cure their temperamental transmissions, blown gaskets, and cantankerous carburetors.
I’m up to my knees in bank loans for the instruments of my trade. To get those loans, the little woman and I had to write a business plan.
The plan includes $300 per month for advertising.
That’s $300 hard-earned dollars. I figure it represents the net from about five oil changes plus four tire rotations plus a muffler replacement.
So what’s the best way to spend those precious advertising greenbacks? The advertising salespeople have already shown up like skeeters in the Everglades. They’re pitching billboards, radio spots, TV spots, newspaper ads, and my business name, address and phone number slapped on anything from a frying pan to a Frisbee.
I look at all the leave-behinds from the sales calls, and then one set of sheets catches my attention.
This is it! This must be the real deal when it comes to results.
The local newspaper.
We all know Herb made the right choice for his business.
But what were those sheets that led to the revelation?
I’ll give you a hint. They backed up the newspaper ad salesperson’s claims.
Can you guess what they were?
They were testimonials from newspaper advertising clients. Each sheet included a picture of the advertiser and his statement about what newspaper advertising did for his or her business.
These testaments are so effective; they’re the verification that can nudge potential clients to steer their advertising budgets to the newspaper.
And they’re so easy to gather.
Just use the following system.
1. The ad rep needs to hone in on clients who are pleased with both the short- and long-term results from newspaper advertising.
2. Ask the client to write a testimonial. You can help, if he likes.
Compliments about results and the service the paper provides are welcome. Take a good picture of the client with the newspaper, or in his working environment.
3. Put together a promo ad. It could be a full page or a quarter page.
Use it when there is extra space available in the newspaper.
4. Also, output the ad as an 8½ x 11 promotion sheet to include in the marketing packet handed out to advertisers.
5. The more testimonials included in the marketing kit, the better.
(Another suggestion—go into your accounts receivable records, and create a list of every business that has advertised in your paper in the last year. Create a sheet listing all these advertisers—put it in eight-point type with a heading such as, “These _____ businesses used the ______ in the past year to build their business.” Include it in the marketing kit.)
The testimonial system benefits both the newspaper and the advertiser.
The newspaper gets the invaluable testimonial. And the advertiser gets the extra exposure from the ad, completely free of charge.
It’s a definite, win-win. And it won’t be long before Herb contributes his testimonial. © Ken Blum 2014

Ken Blum is the publisher of Butterfly Publications, an advising/speaking/publishing business dedicated to improving the profitability and quality of community newspapers. He puts out a monthly free e-mail newsletter titled Black Inklings. It features nuts and bolts ideas to improve revenue and profits at hometown papers. To subscribe to the newsletter or contact Ken, e-mail him at blummer@aol.com; or phone to 330-682-3416.

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