The U.S. Army hires some of the best marketing copywriters, concept people and designers in the advertising business. They’ve got the budget and the initiative to launch some pretty ambitious campaigns.
I just got one of their new ones in the mail. It’s a mailer directed to nurses (my wife’s one), and it’s a great example of creative testimonial usage. I’ll explain why it’s useful to eBay sellers in a moment.
The piece itself is a small booklet similar to a passport.
Here’s the cover:
Covers quite a lot of audiences — in that all kinds of folks will fall into one of those categories.
First page inside the cover:
Great testimonial that describes the benefits and feelings of achievement that these nurses experience.
The next page is similar but for a different type of audience:
Strong messages – paints a vivid picture.
The next page is similar with another vivid picture and strong benefits that finish up the description:
There are a couple more pages.. but you get the gist.
Here’s the 2nd to last page:
The final page lists the benefits and details — which are compelling to say the least:
Now.. Why do I think this is a good marketing piece? — aside from the fact that it was probably produced by Madison Avenue’s finest.
First – the there are implicit promises throughout the piece. It shows you the experiences and benefits you can expect in vivid terms.
Second – a conversation is achieved. The audience is identified right on the cover (and they cover a broad swath demographically). The notes are in personal handwriting, with very intimate details — like the authors are writing a letter directly to the reader. It’s almost as if you found some of their letters home.
Third – a challenge is presented, and the audience is invited to participate in a conversation. The call to action on the final page even indicates that you can meet real US Army nurses when you go to their Web site.
From a marketing standpoint, this is pretty compelling stuff. Go through your whole pile of junk mail today, and you’d be hard pressed to find something of this caliber. Heck, even a month’s worth of mortgage rate offers wouldn’t come close.
In terms of eBay, there are some lessons to be learned. Think about this piece and ask yourself if you’re including this type of personal connection and invitation to participate in your listings. Do you know your customers this well? Can you create images that resonate with your audience? Do you close by offering more value and additional information? Are your benefits well thought out and relevant to your specific niche?
I don’t care if you’re selling Jaguars or jack-hammers, you need to find the images, aspirations and needs that will allow you to paint the right picture. Pretend like your letters to a friend were intercepted by a nosy mailman who just happened to be a prospect for your products. Would he feel like you’re talking directly to him? Would he think that his interests are your first priority? If you answered yes, you’re well on your way. If not, there’s room for improvement. Use this US Army piece as an inspiration and example and try out a few new approaches.