Testimonials are quotations from satisfied customers and clients. They are one of simplest and most effective ways of adding punch and power to web site sales letter.
How do you get and use testimonials? Here are some tips for using testimonials:
1. Always use real testimonials instead of made-up ones. Even most skilled copywriter can rarely make up a testimonial that can match sincerity and credibility of genuine words of praise from a real customer or client.
If you ask a customer to give you a testimonial, and he or she says, “Sure, just write something and Ill sign it,” politely reply: “Gee, I appreciate that, but would you mind just giving me your opinions of our product in your own words?” Fabricated or self-authored testimonials usually sound phony; genuine testimonials invariably have ring of truth.
2. Long testimonials are usually better then short ones. Many copywriters are hooked on using very short testimonials. For instance:
“...fabulous!...” “truly funny...thought-provoking...” “...excellent...wonderful...”
I believe that when people see these ultra short testimonials, they suspect that a skillful editing job has masked a comment that was not as favorable as writer makes it appear. In my opinion, longer testimonials, say two or three sentences versus a single word or phrase come across as more believable. For example:
"I can't say enough good things about quantity and quality of products at such a low cost. Not to mention super service and fulfillment of our purchase requests. I think I'll stay! Thank you again."
Sure, its longer, but it somehow seems more sincere than a one-word superlative.
3. Specific, detailed testimonials are better then general or superlative testimonials. Upon receiving an email of praise from a customer, our initial reaction is to read email and find single sentence that directly praises our company or our product. We extract words we think are kindest about us, producing a bland bit of puffery such as:
“We are very pleased with your product.”
Actually, most testimonials would be stronger if we included more of specific, detailed comments our client has made about how our product or service helped him. After all, prospects we are trying to sell to may have problems similar to one our current customer solved using our product. If we let Mr. Customer tell Mr. Prospect how our company came to his rescue, hell be helping us make sale. For instance:
“Hi Brian, I just signed up for your "RESALE RIGHTS COOP". I've been searching net for almost a year looking for something that combined value and affordability. Your package is truly best of both worlds. Keep on keepin-on. Wow what a package.”
Again, don't try to polish customers words so it sounds like professional ad copy. Testimonials are usually much more convincing when they are not edited for style.
4. Use full attribution. We've all opened web sites and direct mail packages that contained testimonials from “D.W. in Nevada” or “Ron V., Self-Made Millionaire.” I suspect that many people laugh at such testimonials and think they are phony.
To increase believability for your testimonials, attribute each quotation. Include persons name, city and state, and (if a business customer) their job title and company (e.g., “Ada Dittli, President, Cedar Ridge, Inc.”).
People are more likely to believe this sort of full disclosure than testimonials which seem to conceal identity of speaker.
5. Group your testimonials. There are two basic ways to present testimonials: You can group them together in one area of your web site or ad, or you can scatter them throughout copy. A third alternative is to combine two techniques, having many testimonials in a box and a smattering of other testimonials throughout rest of your copy.