An endorsed mailing is having your sales message sent under the name of some individual or organization that is recognized by or otherwise has credibility with your target market or prospective customer.
In sending a sales letter to a prospective client, there are three hurdles that can be overcome using an endorsed mailing. First, for a business mailing, you need to get your letter past the "gatekeeper" to the decision maker. If a secretary, administrative assistant or mail clerk sees the letter is an advertisement, he or she will probably throw it away. Second, the decision maker has to open the envelope and look at the letter. Third, you need to establish an initial impression of credibility so the decision maker will start to read the letter.
The envelope for an endorsed mailing should be stationery of your "endorser." Ideally, the enclosed letter is from the endorser telling your sales story in a very personal way. Alternatively, the endorser could write a cover letter encouraging the prospect to read your more detailed sales letter. Another approach is to have a small note or post-it with a message on it to the prospect, such as "Thought you might be interested in this," or "Try this, it works!" signed by the endorser. In other words, the contents must be consistent with a personal mailing by the endorser.
Who can you use as an endorser for your product or service? The first choice is a "booster" customer or client in the same industry as your target market. This person can honestly tell his or her story in a legitimate promotion. A second choice is a respected "celebrity" person in the industry of your target market. For example, Sidney Kess is a well-known speaker in the CPA profession who is enormously influential and would be a great endorser to CPAs throughout the U.S. A third choice would be a familiar celebrity who is trusted in the community, such as a local radio or television personality. Another celebrity choice would be one you would see on "Love Boat" (Florence Henderson), who is well known but whose career is on the downswing, and is therefore less expensive than the latest hot celebrity (Leonardo DiCaprio.)
How do you compensate the endorser? In the case of the booster customer, you could either return the favor, or he or she might be willing to do this out of friendship and appreciation. Some industry representatives might be willing to give their endorsement because they believe it will benefit their profession. Sometimes you can exchange services. Other celebrities are paid a fee for their endorsement, possibly including a share of your gross receipts or profits from the promotion. (You don't think Dick Clark, Ed McMahon and Art Linkletter do this for free, do you?)
When planning your next mail promotion, consider whether this endorsed mailing approach would improve your response. You might test an endorsed mailing versus a non-endorsed mailing to find out if there is a difference. For most businesses, there is a dramatic difference.
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