How to Use Customer Testimonials Effectively

The first rule about marketing is that you are not actually trying to sell a product you are selling an idea to make your customers’ life better.

However the biggest challenge for any business person is to relate to their customers. You might have the greatest invention since sliced bread but if you can’t find a way to connect to people then the product is worthless.

One of the strongest advertising techniques out there is the testimonial; however if this powerful tool is used incorrectly then it could very easily destroy any credibility you might have established.

One of the hardest parts of the testimonial is sounding sincere. In this day and age people are a lot more cynical and aren’t ready to believe the first thing they hear. If you want to make a credit card sale on your website you have to establish credibility. The more credible testimonials you have the better you will be able to market your product.

Another good way to make sure you have credible testimonials is to make sure they were actually written by real people. Don’t try to fake it. Each person writes in a different style. If all your testimonials sound similar, your customers will remain sceptical.

The question is now: what is a good testimonial?

“I used this product and I loved it. I will totally tell all my friends.”

At first this might sound like a great testimonial but to a professional marketer this is less than useless. Not only does it do nothing to help promote your product but it takes up space.

Elements of a Great Testimonial

To be a good testimonial, it should describe what the product does and how it improved the person’s life. Remember, you are selling the idea of the product so anything that sells the image should be a strong focus.

“This product made sure my break was uniformly sliced and it didn’t take any time at all. In just a few minutes I was enjoying even sliced toast with my mom’s homemade jam. Life couldn’t be better.”

Okay we are taking the sliced bread example a little too far but it makes a point. If you had a solid loaf this product would now seem like a good product. So lets move away from the topic of bread.

A good testimonial should also substantiate the many benefits of your product. The more specific the testimonial is the more sincere it will sound.

“Thanks to this new paint roller, I was able to finish painting my living room in less than an hour. It was so easy to use and there was no mess to clean up after my product. Not only does the room look great but my wife thinks I am now a hero.”

It is all about making a connection

As we pointed out earlier, if you want to make sales through your website and get people to give you their credit card information then you have to have credibility.

It is important to be as specific as possible. The more information you have about the person who wrote the testimonial the more credibility the writing will have. You don’t want to publish their home address, phone number and other personal information; however, first and last name, hometown and a photo would very useful.

Now that webcams are being used more and more, having a video of someone using or talking about your product would be very useful.

How to Collect Testimonials

The last part of this project is probably the hardest. Even if your product is great it might be difficult to get people to talk about it.  We blog about business credit card rewards, yet how many of us spend the time to write testimonials and reviews online about our favourite business credit card — compared to how many of us will write and share about our favourite restaurant.  Some industries are just more receptive to testimonials than others are.

Sometimes, you have to motivate your users, by offering them something. Holding a contest and giving away a prize like an iPad or another cool gadget can help attract some comments. You could also offer a rebate for your product or service.

Getting your customers to use a form on your website is a good way to keep all the testimonials uniform and also you will be able to collect information on your customers.

Daniela Baker from CreditDonkey says the most important takeaway is to get genuine testimonials from customers who are passionate about your product.

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