Testimonials are one of the most powerful ways to drive new business. The reason is to do with trust: trust, or lack of it, is one of the big barriers to doing business, especially online where not only are identity-theft and other scams a real (if over-exaggerated) fear for many people, but in the vast majority of cases you never even know the name of the person you’re buying from, let alone meet them, see them, or even speak to them.
So anything you can do to increase the level of trust your website visitors have in you can only be good for your sales… and one of the most powerful ways to increase trust is to have lots of very powerful and specific testimonials about you, your products, and your services.
You see, anyone can say great things about themselves. Claims are easy to make and fake, and almost impossible to verify or refute. That’s why simply making outrageous claims on your website, even if they’re actually true, is more likely to harm sales than to help them.
But testimonials are a different thing altogether because what other people say about us is far more believable, trustworthy, and persuasive than what we say about ourselves. In fact a testimonial is very similar to a referral in that it’s a disinterested third-party recommending you for having done a great job.The chief difference is a referral tends to be from one individual to another, whereas a testimonial is from one individual to an unspecified audience.
The Most Powerful Testimonial You Will Ever Get
Is undoubtedly one recorded for you on video. Not only do you have the video to show to people, but you can also strip out the audio and save it as an MP3 and get it transcribed, so you’ve now got three testimonials in one. But it was not so long ago recording video testimonials were beyond the reach of most business owners, because not only were video cameras expensive, but the technology to host and even view them on the Internet was flaky and expensive, and sharing them with people in other ways was prohibitively expensive.
Things have moved on and nowadays even the dumbest of smartphones is able to record perfectly adequate video and getting them up onto your website is simplicity itself. Many phones and cameras come with software already set up to upload your videos to sites like YouTube and Facebook, and all you have to do is record the video, plug your phone into your computer, and then provide your login information (even better than this… you can often you can do everything straight from your phone).
How to Get a Great Testimonial
Most testimonials you see have the same problem most marketing has: they’re boring and non-specific. You’ll see things like, “Fred did a great job, very professional”.
While testimonials like this are perhaps better than nothing they’re hardly going to drive vast hordes of buyers to your business. Why? Because all of those things are just minimum requirements. Every business owner should be doing a great job and being professional, and meeting that minimum requirement is nothing to write home about.
More to the point, in the same way as the more specific and targeted marketing, the more specific and targeted your testimonials are, the more they’re going to resonate with buyers looking at the products and services to which they refer. So imagine you’re selling a widget that makes car engines last longer and burn fuel more efficiently, you’d be wanting testimonials like this: “The ACME Engine widget cut my maintenance costs by 13.7% in the first 12 months, and gave me a 19.2% better mpg, meaning I not only saved money but I also saved time and inconvenience in not having my car off the road for servicing”.
Remember, testimonials are an important part of your marketing so you should treat them as such — meaning, get them whenever you can and make them as product- and service-specific as you can. And don’t be afraid to ask for as many as you need, even if they’re from the same person. So if someone’s bought two different widgets from you, be bold and ask for two separate testimonials. Most people will be only too happy to oblige (and if you don’t ask, they’re unlikely to offer).
Use Them Everywhere
Loads of business owners collect testimonials… but not many use them; and even fewer use them to their full potential. This is a terrible waste, because they are in the 20% of things that make 80% of the difference when it comes to earning your visitors’ trust.
So test making your video testimonials front and centre of your landing pages. Video editing is easy so it’s going to be simple for you to make your own video and weave the testimonials in there to reinforce the points you’re making. Don’t hide them away somewhere in some backwater page on your website — and if you feel you must have them all grouped together out of the way, then at least make that page a proper sales page with a call to action on it. Just having the testimonials there and hoping visitors will watch them and then retain the warm and fuzzy feeling they get from them until they happen upon a page with a proper offer on it is a big mistake.
Or you can take the audio and use it in recorded telephone messages for lead generation (where you run ads to get people to call a telephone number where they first listen to a recorded message and then get the opportunity to leave their contact details in exchange for free information of some kind).
CHRIS KEY TAKEAWAYS
You can use the transcripts of the testimonials in your email marketing, again using product-specific ones to promote relevant offers.And you can even use them in your direct mail by recording them onto a DVD or even printing them into a booklet and sending them out to your prospect list along with a relevant offer.
First Published Chris Cardell