How to get powerful (and believable) testimonials

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Testimonials let you show off the good side of your business.

I’ve never seen an iffy testimonial published and I expect you haven’t either and that leads some people to think that testimonials are pointless.

I absolutely disagree.

Testimonials show some proof that you’ve solved real problems for real customers. And that’s what makes you more credible to prospective customers.

A little bit of proof goes a long, long way.

But how do you get those amazingly powerful quotes? Here are some tips to get testimonials that make your prospects go “WOW, I gotta get me some of that.”

1. Listen to your customers and if they say something nice, ask them if you can use that in your marketing. I bet they say yes.

2. Ask your customers for a testimonial when they are feeling great about what you’ve delivered.

3. Give your customers some tips on what to include in the testimonial. We all love to hear how awesome we are to work with but the most useful testimonials delve a bit deeper. Don’t be afraid of giving your customers an outline of what to write like:

  • What was the challenge that led you to look for a copywriter?
  • How did you help them overcome their specific problem?
  • Did they generate any profit as a result?
  • What did they particularly like about the final copy?
  • What about your service delivery surprised them?
  • How did they find the experience of working with you?
  • Would they recommend you to their friends or colleagues?
  • If they could suggest one change to the service, it would be…..?

4. Edit your testimonials. That doesn’t mean rewriting them completely but you may need to make them more succinct. Pick out the best parts to create a shorter, more powerful testimonial.

5. Include as much detail as possible about the author of the quote.

“Belinda Weaver, Owner of Copywrite Matters, August 2011” is so much more believable than “Business Owner, 2011”.

A testimonial is a story and it’s stories that help us connect. By guiding your customers a little more you can you get the makings of a really powerful story. A story in which you are the hero.

Do you ask for testimonials from your customers? When you read testimonials and case studies, do you believe them?


6 Responses

  1. Interesting to see you mention about editing… I tend to post mine up as they were written as I feel it looks more genuine to see a testimonial with a typo rather than they’re all polished.  Would be interested in what others think…

    1. It is definitely a fine line between keeping the authenticity and picking out the best parts to create a more powerful testimonial. If I get a testimonial that’s quite short I publish it as is but if it goes over two or three sentences (which can make it five or six lines) I often “trim the fat”, picking out the sentiments that I want to really stand out to other people.

      If you do that, I highly recommend running it by the author to make sure they are happy with the edited version!

  2. Hey,

    I’m a huge fan of testimonials and credit them for the volume of enquiries I receive and the fact that I now have an actual waiting list!

    I don’t edit, but instead put them up as is (typos and all). I do however ask the reviewer to include the elements you mention above, most importantly job title and website, or even a link back to their Linkedin profile so that people can see they’re genuine customers and not just me, or my friends!

    I also try to spread the testimonials over a few different review sites. LinkedIn, Google Places and True Local, then cut and paste from there onto my website testimonial page.

    One good way of ‘editing without editing’ is to bold key phrases that really make you sound awesome!

    Finally if the testimonial is in a public arena I think it’s good to respond to it as soon as possible.

    Great post as always.

    1. HI Kate – thanks for commenting and your extra tips! That’s a great idea to let people link back to their LinkedIn profile. I do people ask if they would mind posting the review on LinkedIn because I can always copy it from there [for my website] but only they can post it on LinkedIn. I think I might start including Google Places and True Local though.

      Do you find your clients are receptive to the overhead of not only writing a review but posting it in a few places?

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