So What Makes a Great Testimonial, and How Can You Get More of Them?

I have thousands upon thousands of them… I really I do, file upon file of testimonials. ‘She Who Must…’ jokes that I should sit down and read (and watch – many are on video) them all some time in one go, but I fear my head wouldn’t fit through the doorway afterwards, with all that ego massaging!! (One day maybe…)

But still, the first time you receive an unprompted testimonial will stand out for you, in a similar way to the day you make your first sale after setting up your own business.

Why?

It confirms (in black and white, or on film) that you have a happy customer. You have proven evidence that you must be doing something – probably many things – right.

And once you start to gather a good number of testimonials together it also demonstrates that you consistently have happy customers providing you with a positive track record, (you could think of this as a slightly more flowery version of the eBay seller history or Amazon Seller review ranking!!)

So what makes a great testimonial, and how can you get more of them?

Only Use Genuine, 100% Genuine: There’s nothing worse than a faked, or fabricated testimonial, I’m sure you’ve seen sites, particularly sales pages, littered with testimonials before. Used correctly, high quality testimonials can certainly help establish your credibility, or that of the product or service that you’re offering. Over do it, with poor quality, phoney-looking statements and you’ll get the reverse effect.

And yes it is OK to ask for testimonials from your customers (try it, see what they come back with – you may be surprised – in a good way!). However don’t even think about making up your own, or getting somebody to write them for you… After all your potential buyer needs to know that they (and you) are believable.

Who Said That?: I’ve seen dozens of sales letters recently with testimonials allegedly from ‘satisfied customers’, identified only by a couple of initials. Call me cynical, but these just don’t seem to hold any weight.

Surely if somebody is willing to support what they’ve said they should be willing to put their full name to their comment, and perhaps even their location, or business name underneath if relevant (perhaps even provide a link or a photograph if you’re wanting to go the whole hog). And of course ensure that the person providing the testimonial is happy with this.

Ideally, even video testimonials should include a reference to who the person is and what business/location they are from, even though they’re clearly willing to show their face!

Be specific: A specific comment addressing a specific issue is far better than a generic compliment.

For instance the first of these testimonials has more impact than the second because although they they’re both genuine the first is far more specific…

“My target for November was to increase my bank from 2.2k to 5k and last night my bank closed at 7.1k I have now set my target for end of December to the magical 10k a good month ahead of my original target. Setting a daily target has really work for me and the pleasure of seeing the bank rise is fantastic!”

“Tim, you over deliver every time I deal with you.”

Interweave: Although it’s tempting to pop all your testimonials in one area of your site, even on a separate page behind one tab, you then run the risk of potentially having visitors go to your site and overlook them. How do you overcome this? Try interweaving them throughout your site, or perhaps having a side panel that has them available to see, wherever the person is on the site (you can get fancy and have them rotating around in random, or prioritising the best ones if you fancy it, and have a techie who can do such things for you)

Read-on-ability: If you’re anything like me when you see a whole load of testimonials you look at the first few, then skim down a bit and then read a few more, and I rarely get much further than that, If you want your testimonials to be read you have to make them readable, or watchable.

Keep them short (a few minutes maximum if on film, or 3-4 lines maximum if in written form). Don’t forget if somebody delivers a stonking testimonial with a number of key benefits mentioned there’s no harm in breaking them up into a number of different testimonials…

The upshot is, there are few marketing approaches more powerful than a solid, genuine and uplifting testimonial (especially on film, you are conveying far more than just words, there’s excitement, energy, the appearance of the person, the setting, good sound quality, a quality venue, and a well dressed person goes a long way before they’ve even opened their mouth!) Plus it costs you absolutely nothing to get testimonials, so you really should be using them. If you have happy customers, show people that you do!!)

In the same way it’s great to grow a list of potential buyers, the next stage is to collect a list of satisfied customers (or more likely DELIGHTED customers!!!) After all a satisfied customer is far more likely to buy again from you… as for a DELIGHTED customer, you’re almost sure to have that person’s custom for years to come (and in turn more testimonials to boot!).