One of the most important things your marketing must accomplish is establishing trust and credibility. We live in a very non-trusting society, and without earning a prospect’s trust, you won’t make the sale. One incredibly powerful tool for establishing trust is the use of an abundance of quality testimonials — yet I see so many businesses making the mistake of not having any testimonials, or only a handful of very weak, non-specific ones. Every testimonial should be written to accomplish one of two things: validate a claim or eliminate an objection. If you want to make your testimonials WORK, here are a few quick tips:
- Use A Headline. This allows someone skimming your testimonial book or web site to get the most powerful message of your testimonial without having to read the entire thing. To that end, make sure your testimonial’s headline contains the single most powerful sentence in the testimonial, or a powerful summary of it.
- Include Your Client’s Picture. No excuses; I’ve never had an issue getting this and I have gotten thousands of testimonials over the years. A logo is not an acceptable alternative.
- Include The Full Client Info. Many people are afraid of posting testimonials for fear their competition will try to pick off those clients. My feeling is this: if those clients are taken away that easily, then you shouldn’t even have a testimonial from them. If you don’t put the client’s information on the testimonial, it instantly reads “scam.” Again, we live in a very untrusting world, so the more transparent you are, the more points you’ll gain for credibility.
- Include Specifics. The other day I was reviewing a marketing campaign sent in by a client who was targeting larger companies in his area. The purpose was to make an argument that outsourcing IT would not only save money, but also deliver a higher quality service to them. While he had several client testimonials in the campaign, NONE of them mentioned anything about how much money they saved by outsourcing instead of keeping it in-house. Remember, if you’re going to use a testimonial, it has to support the claim you’re making AND it needs to contain specifics, not value claims.