Building reputation for a company and confidence in its products or services has never been easy. However, in the present economy, with so many companies and products in each industry and niche, it is harder than ever to create proper differentiation and put the spotlight on a certain product. To add to the already difficult task, people have been burned in the past by advertisements which inflated the actual benefits of certain products, and have become extremely skeptical at marketing messages.
There is one infallible way, however, in which you can talk about your product, its features and benefits, and be totally believable: through testimonials. A testimonial is any kind of comment made by one of your customers after buying and trying your products, or after a period of shopping from you and getting great customer service.
Of course, even in the world of testimonials, not everything is black and white. There were instances in the recent past of certain businesses paying people to post testimonials, or even making them up on their own. For this reason, each testimonial you collect and publish has to be 100% genuine and with various proof regarding the identity of the person who made it. So, in the first part of this article we will focus on ways to collect testimonials which ring true and are believable:
1. From Social Media
A lot of people go straight to their Twitter or Instagram account to share their excitement of a new purchase and talk about how helpful, interesting or useful the item is to them. This is the best form of testimonial – one which you did not request and which is free to use in any way you want, because it was published on a public channel where anyone can see it.
2. From Your Emails
Some clients will spontaneously send a thank you email after receiving and testing your products if it is something they really wanted or needed and the product lives up to it description and list of benefits. You should always save these emails in a separate folder to use them as testimonials. Attention! You must always ask for the sender’s permission to publish their name and email address.
3. From Surveys
Setting up a survey is not only useful for getting to know your customers, their expectations from your products, or discovering a great idea for a new product from their answers. Surveys also help you gather little gems – testimonials expressed in comments related to your business in general or to a specific product. Just like in the case of social media, you are free to use these comments without asking for permission.
And now let us get to the next important step, that is, how to put these testimonials to great use. Here are a few helpful suggestions:
1. “Sprinkle” Them Throughout the Website
In the past, all websites had a separate testimonials page. But right now, it is more efficient to identify the exact place in your website where a testimonial enhances and gives more authority to the copy – such as when you are talking about your business values, the way you work with your clients, and in the presentation pages for your products or services.
2. Use Them to Smooth over Friction Points
Whenever you prepare your sales copy, there will always be a friction point – the price. This is even more obvious if you are selling premium products or services. Great testimonials which point out the major benefits of using the product are extremely useful to help potential customers make up their mind and decide that they want your product, even at a premium price.
3. Create a Good Testimonials Mix
Your testimonials should be a great mix of text and video. Video testimonials, where people can see your clients speaking about your products are the most believable and effective ones. For text testimonials, talk to the clients and try to obtain their permission to publish a photo next to their name and/or their location.
As a final thought, please remember never to take testimonials out of context, or edit them by adding other words or rephrasing them. Whatever is posted on internet can and will reach the person who made the original comment, and a misquoted testimonial may result in a severe backlash.