Using Testimonials

Thu, Oct 22, 2009

Copywriting, Email Marketing

If you have an online business and rely on good advertising and effective copy to get your product out there, you need to be familiar with the advantage of using testimonials. Testimonials rank among the most valuable components of advertising; consumers tend to trust the reviews of fellow consumers, such testimonials are especially persuasive and powerful if they contain the contact information of the customers, enabling others to verify their claims.

What makes a good testimonial?

Many testimonials are good in themselves but lose their effectiveness due to poor placement in the article, the webpage, or the sales letter. A good testimonial must hit the sweet spot in terms of placement and good use of language or grammar without sounding contrived or obviously fake. Based on experience, I can say that the best testimonials are those that come with pictures of the writer and possibly an email address or a website through which the maker of the testimonial can be contacted for more information. You can’t expect potential customers to rely on your word alone or just believe something positive that has been said about your service. Some will actually verify claims, and if the claims turn out to be false the knock-on effect can be very negative and damaging.

How can I get testimonials?

If you have a good online social network, whether through your blog or your website, you can get testimonials from loyal followers or from customers with whom you have done business in the past. You can ask for a testimonial in exchange for links or a reciprocal testimonial from yourself, especially from customers who trust you with their business.

As most consumers tend to trust testimonials they know they can verify, you will gain more credibility points if your testimonials contain pictures and contact addresses. You will need to ask for permission from the maker of the testimonial for these, but most will usually oblige, especially if you offer to do the same for them.

How can you use testimonials effectively?

There are several factors to consider and test when attempting to maximize the effectiveness of your testimonials, from finding the most strategically effective locations to use them in your page or sales letter to using the right size, font, and color to grab maximum attention.

First though, make sure your testimonials sound professional and give off no scent of being contrived or manufactured. If you are asking for testimonials from a select group of clients, the best thing to do is use the testimonials in the way they came in, without doing any editing, whether it concerns grammar or the content of the testimonial. Testimonials coming from genuine customers usually sound natural and “unprocessed.”

I daresay that more is not necessarily better when it comes to testimonials. Choose the testimonial that sounds most natural and position it in an optimal location on your webpage or blog. In most cases, you can place the best testimonial on top of the sales page, in a larger font than the rest to grab more attention easily. I usually spread out several other testimonials in between paragraphs to break up the monotony.

An effective technique is to write the testimonials in a larger font than the rest of the paragraph so that they stand out, even though they are embedded in the paragraph. The reason you should only choose the best ones to post in your sales page or website is that online most customers only skim the tops of pages and refrain from reading the smaller print.

Another good way to make portions of the testimonials stand out is to underline the important parts or use boldface. A common example is writing slashed-off prices or special offers in bold, larger, or red letters while keeping the rest in standard black in a generic font. The big, bold, and red letters can easily grab keep readers’ attention if what you are offering is interesting enough.

If you want to show off the rest of the testimonials from loyal customers, you can place them in one corner of your page. However, reserve your best testimonials for your sales pages and your headers.

Should you fake testimonials?

One drawback to using testimonials is that they can easily be faked. It is easy to write a testimonial singing the praises to your product, attach a fictional name, and post it on your site or slap it on your sales letter. But if you want to develop a reputation as an honest online merchant, refrain from using fake testimonials and instead rely on goodwill contributions from customers who really like you. If you have no testimonials to speak of, this is one thing you can use to motivate yourself into giving the best quality service you can provide so that you can easily ask your customers to spread a good word or two about you and your service. All it really takes is one confirmation that your testimonials are fake for all your customers to lose respect for you, and decide to take their business somewhere else.

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16 Responses to “Using Testimonials”

  1. EarningStep Says:

    nice article my friend , especially the last paragraph ” should you fake testimonials ” . i think people who usually fake their testimonial is evil enough to call their self a money maker . i have no respect for those people…
    .-= EarningStep´s last blog ..Earningstep dot com monthly report – October Earning report =-.

    Reply

  2. Earn Through Blogs Says:

    Good article about testimonials. It is very useful
    .-= Earn Through Blogs´s last blog ..Earn Money From Youtube =-.

    Reply

  3. Josh Says:

    This is a very true article, esp. if you’re a web designer or graphic designer that must do sales over the internet without a face to face meeting in some times.

    I personally offer a client a 5% discount on their work for a testimonial of how the service went. This both helps me keep up with my own standards and shows other clients my ability to work and service a client.
    .-= Josh´s last blog ..About V2interactive: =-.

    Reply

    • Ray Says:

      Also once the project is done, you may ask for client’s feedback and this will serve already as testimonial.

      Reply

  4. Jenny A Says:

    Using fake testimonials will totally ruin company’s credibilty. And that’s not a good idea. Let the product speak for itself.

    Reply

  5. Katrina Says:

    Testimonials help to boost company’s sales even more so when known people do the words.

    Reply

    • Arlan Says:

      Sometimes they sugarcoated way too much that you end up not believing. Talk about too good to be true. Careful though when testifying.

      Reply

      • Paulo Says:

        I seconded. Anyways, word of mouth still works best. I agree when someone posted here about it really helps when a known person like for instance a celebrity testify for a product.

        Reply

  6. farm fresh markets internet express Says:

    Love him. And very sexy in this. Just love him.

    Reply

  7. Louise Says:

    Testimonials are a very important element of a website. I like to use them to address specific client problems that I have solved. When I ask a client for a testimonial, I subtly suggest that they mention a direct benefit of working with me, such as “realizing increased traffic to our site through strategic keyword-rich content.” This is always appreciated because it gives them a starting point, and at the same time it highlights a distinct reason why visitors should contact me!
    .-= Louise´s last blog ..Making a list and checking it twice =-.

    Reply

    • Negativity Says:

      Testimonials don’t work for some. I don’t feel like reading them. I feel thay’re like just there to sugarcoat the product. Lame.

      Reply

  8. Carla Says:

    Using testimonials for some are way too good to be true. But I guess, this is something effective still knowing that best people opt o buy best goods too.

    Reply

  9. Richard Says:

    I don’t do testimonials because they have this notion that it’s fake! It’s just me though. I still think it’s useful for some.

    Reply

  10. Beach Says:

    Faking testimonials is like making scams at all. Don’t fake it!

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 51 Free Marketing Tips: #11 through 20 | Rainmaker 101 - A Blog on Legal Client Development - 10. Nov, 2009

    [...] 14. Build credibility.  Having people talk about the virtues of your service introduces more people to your service and increases the chances that they will buy. Gather up the list of people you know and mark off each one that you feel can and could speak well of you or your service. Ask for a recommendation in Linkedin like shown on my personal Linkedin profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/dougbruhnke or reach out to them for a sincere testimonial. Have them talk specifically about the value you or your company created for them and what it meant for them to use your product or service. Never, ever fake a testimonial. Some very good people have suggested faking testimonials when they didn’t have enough gathered yet. Yikes! People can see right through those: “Y.L. from Tucson said…”. No, no, no!  The sincerity and satisfaction of real people will go a long way to build your credibility with target customers.  Here’s a good recent blog post on the topic of gathering testimonials: http://www.adventory.com/2009/10/using-testimonials/ [...]

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