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November 1, 2007

How to Effectively Use Testimonials Online & Offline

I’m always amazed when I come across a sales letter, usually online, and there are NO testimonials. They’re powerful response and conversion boosters and are so easy to implement. You’re only hurting your own marketing efforts, and leaving cash on the table, if you’re not using them.

If you have them, .make sure you’re using them the right way to maximize response. You have a lot more flexibility and available power with online copy. Simply because of more available formats.

The most powerful testimonials are video testimonials, and it’s easy to see why. They engage more senses and stimulation. People can see and hear it and videos add much more credibility especially if no editing has been done. It’s coming straight from the horses mouth.

The second most powerful testimonials are audio followed by standard text.

Today you’ll learn how to use text-format testimonials to give your conversions a big boost.

Try to get as much specific, relevant, and detailed testimonials as possible. This is much more compelling and stronger than general statements. Highly detailed comments are perceived as more believable. You’re giving readers something they can wrap their heads around when you use numbers, data, and specifics.

Some marketers may choose to extract ‘only the juice’ from testimonials and this is a huge mistake. A little bit of customer rambling, spelling mistakes, or poor grammar only adds to the credibility factor.

Use longer testimonials rather than shorter ones. This is related to the previous point about heavy editing. Don’t do something like this:

  • :”great product!”
  • “loved it!”
  • “provocative, a real winner”

I think you get the idea here. When you cut and chop a testimonial it creates the impression that you’re leaving something out for a reason and that creates suspicion which is something you don’t want to do.

This next one is a bit of a no-brainer. But I’ll say it anyway…

Always use real testimonials instead of fake ones. I’m telling you, there’s something about comments made from other people that’s very difficult to emulate. People will sense it and see right through you. And you’ll be cutting your own business throat. More importantly fake testimonials are lies. It’ll find its way back to you, eventually, and it won’t be good. So don’t do it.

The visual use of your testimonials will have an effect on your readers. But there is some flexibility here. You can group them all together as a block of testimonials. Or you can scatter them throughout your copy. Then again, you can combine the two.

All three approaches can be effective. But the second and third call for more skill on the copywriter to blend them in for greatest impact.

One thing, leading with testimonials can be dangerous to your conversions.

When someone is fresh on your page, starts to read and the first thing seen is a testimonial…you’re risking losing that reader. Here’s why; People are skeptical, especially on the web. Lots of people are skeptical about testimonials and if their real, or not. One thing you want to avoid is building on that pre-existing skepticism.

The best thing to do is offer one or more testimonials after you’ve established some kind of relationship with the reader. If you’ve done a good job of that, then they’re more relaxed and open to your testimonial.

Testimonial identity and location.

Always, always get first and last names, and specific geographical location.
John Smith, Los Angeles CA.or California.

Please avoid being minimal here. Don’t do:
J.S. California

Not having ANY name or location is so worthless you might as well not have a testimonial to begin with. I’m serious! You’ll only be inviting people to leave your site. They’ll think, “Uh huh…sure.”

To spice things up a little you can blend names and locations with a comment:
John Smith, from Los Angeles California sent us his unsolicited praise for …blah.

These are all very basic and easy things you can do for powerful testimonials. Even though that’s true, I still see online businesses violate these common sense guidelines every day.

Don’t be one of them!

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