The Art of Powerful Testimonials: Tips to Help Grow Your Business
Which are you more likely to believe: a company representative telling you how great their product is, or a recommendation from another person about how the product worked for them? If you’re like most people, the words from a fellow consumer pull more weight than even the best written ad copy. That’s why no matter what topic you speak, write, or consult on, you need to use testimonials from satisfied clients and/or readers in every ad and marketing piece you create.
Realize one of the main reasons why people don’t hire someone is because they’re fearful of making the wrong decision. So when they see a speaker, author or consultant is endorsed by someone else—someone in their same situation—that fear is minimized. Collecting great testimonials from clients is a great way to put a human touch into your marketing. People want to know that others who have tried your product, heard you speak, or read your book, were satisfied enough to write a glowing report. The following tips will help you get, write and use testimonials to grow your business.
How to Get Them
- Choose the people who exemplify the best-case scenario for your service or offering. Say to them, “I’d love for you to share your thoughts on my presentation or book. Would you please write a short testimonial?”
- Offer to write the testimonial for them. Often, if someone declines your request to write a testimonial, it’s because they’re too busy or feel they’re not sure what to say. Offer to write the testimonial for them. Simply say, “I’ll be glad to write the testimonial for you. Just tell me what you’d like to say about the presentation. You can review what I write and we can use it as is or you can change it.”
- Look through your past notes and correspondence. Chances are you’re sitting on a pile of testimonials and don’t even know it. Go back through your past emails and correspondence from clients and readers. Are there a few nice sentences in some of those messages? If so, ask the person if you can use their words in your marketing materials.
How to Write Them
- Show results. A testimonial needs to specifically show what results the person experienced from your presentation, book or consulting. A testimonial that simply says what a wonderful speaker you are or how nice you are is not saying anything meaningful. The more specific a testimonial is, the stronger it sells for you. Specific testimonials take away the fear of making the wrong decision and help people feel safe about working with you.
- Keep it short. Each word of the testimonial should have value. Therefore, if someone writes you a page-long testimonial, edit out any words that don’t directly address the end result he or she received from your information. This doesn’t mean you change the meaning of what someone writes; you simply edit out the parts that don’t contribute to the meaning.
- Use big names whenever possible. Whenever you give a speech to, or consult with, a large company or association, rather than get numerous testimonials from attendees or lower level employees, try getting the company or association president to give you the testimonial. This is not to say that you ignore the comments from the audience or employees—by all means, accept their testimonials, as well. Just don’t forget to get the big name of the company or association on your testimonials list, as well.
How to Use Them
- Include a testimonial or two in your ads and marketing pieces. Whether you’re doing a print, radio or TV ad, be sure to include some testimonials. For print, it’s best to have testimonials stand alone from the text rather than try to weave them into the ad copy. For radio and TV, either the announcer or an actor can recite the testimonial, or if your client is agreeable, have him or her appear in your radio or TV spot to give the testimonial personally. Other marketing pieces that should feature your testimonials include your website, brochures, direct mail pieces, postcards, billboards, newsletters, and even social media updates.
- Create a file of testimonials. Each time you receive a kind letter from a client or reader, highlight the key parts (the parts that state benefits), scan or save the letter into your computer, and compile them into a file folder called ‘Testimonials.’ Then, whenever you send information to a prospective client or meeting planner, also give them a copy of some testimonial letters from others in their industry or companies who had needs similar to the prospect’s. Additionally, you can create a page on your website where you feature all your testimonials. There’s no limit to how many testimonials you can include in your file or on your page.
The next time you’re writing copy for an advertisement or marketing piece (and struggling with what information to include) simply go to your past testimonials. It’s always better when someone else sings your praises, so let your clients and readers sell for you. The sooner you start using testimonials in every marketing message you create, the sooner you’ll realize that testimonials really are the ultimate sales tool.