Testimonial why and how to and advertising standards

Powerful testimonials: why and how to, and Advertising Standards

A stranger stumbles across your website. How do you turn them into your next customer? Behold the power of the testimonial…

Psychologists call it social proof, you probably think of it as doing your homework. In the last blog post, I talked about online reviews. Here we’re going to look at using your existing customers’ feedback to create content that will engage, reassure and, hopefully, convert visitors into new customers.

Why use testimonials?

You can say anything you want about your business, and your customers know this. By adding testimonials to your site and marketing materials, you can have someone else talk about how you help real people with real-world challenges. You can have someone else describe you in action and the value you create.

Testimonials show others the kinds of people who buy from you. They give colour, emotion and a personal face to your business offer. If you include the right details, they can easily crush objections a potential customer might have.

And using testimonials allows all of this in a gentle and natural-sounding way. They are like a friend or colleague talking about you.

How to collect quality testimonials

The goal of a great testimonial is to show how you work and how you help your customers. That means that “Campbell Cleaning are really good” is not going to cut it. If you can get to “Campbell Cleaning arrived promptly, worked fast and are very competitively priced. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.”, you are moving in the right direction. So how do you get this kind of feedback?

Who are your regulars? Who are your delighted customers? Look for those who keep coming back. These are the people you need to speak with. A simple approach is to ask them if they have time for a 15-minute call to talk about your services. Make that call armed with a series of questions that will get you the responses you need. Then ask if they would mind you writing up your conversation and giving it to them for their approval.

Your questions depend on your product or services of course, but here are some ideas:

  • Why did you buy from us?
  • How have we made your life easier, more profitable, etc.?
  • What benefits have you found of our product?
  • How has the experience been of working with us?
  • Would you recommend us to others, and why?
  • Why do you keep coming back?

Take a look at Sean D’Souza’s article on testimonials at copyblogger.com. Here he talks in detail about framing strong questions.

How to use testimonials in your content

Now you have some convincing customer feedback, how do you incorporate it into your copy? You might choose to have a testimonials page on your website. You can sprinkle specific quotes on the web pages they’re relevant to. In a direct mail, you can use them liberally to enforce the message in the surrounding paragraphs.

In any case, make a feature of them. Create a box or coloured block to drop them into. Use oversized quotation marks. They’ll probably contrast with the tone of your writing and pulling them out this way will draw further attention to the reassurance they offer.

Ideally, you would also share a photo of the person who’s written the testimonial. But try and add as much detail as possible in any case – full name, location, the company they work for, etc. – to drive home the message that this is a real person talking about you.

Advertising Standards Agency rules on testimonials

The Advertising Standards Agency in the UK has a set of rules for non-broadcast advertising that will influence the process of collecting and using your testimonials. You can see the rules on Misleading Advertising here, and a simple and helpful interpretation by the Committees of Advertising Practice here.

Testimonials can be persuasive words that don’t come from your company itself, but if you’re going to use them in your marketing materials it’s still your responsibility to make sure that they are legal!

The rewards for collecting and sharing great quality testimonials are huge. You can get other people to talk convincingly about the joy of working with you in a way that will connect like no other marketing tool.

A skilled copywriter will be able to tell the story of your business and use your testimonials to create a flowing thread that takes a casual browser on a journey to becoming a confident buyer. If you need some help collecting testimonials and turning them into compelling content, please get in touch.

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