Establishing Credibility and Trust with Testimonials
Sample Guide from “The Real World Marketer”
A simple yet very powerful way to strengthen your sales copy is to provide testimonials, comments that people make after using your products or services.
By providing proof, positive feedback from buyers that your products or services are quality and worthy of purchasing, these comments help other consumers decide to buy if in doubt at all about you and the items you are selling.
Effective testimonials add an objective credibility and trust to your promises. They work because customer comments are more credible than your words. When you make a statement about your business, your words are viewed as claims. But when your client says them, their words are viewed as truth.
Testimonials provide you with a track record. They make the claims in your sales copy believable. They provide assurance and security and help a business stand out in the crowded marketplace.
They offer proof you can deliver the goods. People want to know who they can trust. Testimonials will do that for you. This is particularly important if you have an online business where buying from an unfamiliar seller on the web can be a daunting.
When used correctly, testimonials are capable of boosting your response dramatically and help build the prospect’s perception of believability, stability, honesty, and value in your product or service. Prospects gain confidence in you when they see testimonials, especially from people to whom they can relate to.
The major benefits of testimonials are:
Establish credibility: Testimonials improve the credibility of your business. They are much more powerful than advertisements since they are basically unpaid third party endorsements of your company.
Build trust and alleviate target market doubts: Testimonials build trust and diminish the doubts of the target market. With the current prevalence of scammers and con artists out there, many consumers are justifiably concerned. Credible testimonials provide security and comfort to customers and more receptivity towards a product or service.
Assurance of quality: Testimonials provide assurance to potential customers the quality of the product or service. The fact that they took time out to provide testimonials reflects their levels of satisfaction towards the product or service.
Competitive advantage: Testimonials provide a competitive advantage for the product or service. There are many products and services in the marketplace and one of the ways to stand out from the rest is the use of credible testimonials.
Testimonials should typically incorporate the following characteristics:
Believable: Good testimonials talk about real benefits experienced by real people.
Specific: Use testimonials that talk about specific benefits or address a question that may help persuade potential buyers. Whenever possible, include details, data, numbers, facts, etc. Avoid vague testimonials like I was very satisfied with you product or customer service.
Natural: Keep the testimonials as unedited as possible. Clean up spelling as needed, but for the most part keep things just as your customer has written them (or verbally conveyed).
Overcome Objections: Use testimonials that bring up objections, where customers admit being skeptical can be very powerful.
Properly Placed: Ensure the testimonial subject matter is to the point and in context and relevant to the information around it and addresses questions your customers are asking at various stages of the buying process. Examples:
- If you have a testimonial espousing the reliability of your product place it near any sales copy you have that addresses how reliable your product is.
- If you have one praising how good your service is and then place it near sales copy that compares your service performance with competitors.
Basically there are two types of testimonials, the solicited and the unsolicited.
Unsolicited testimonials come to you without any effort on your part. The client takes the initiative and contacts you directly with their testimonial. It may come via email, telephone, person-to-person conversations or the mail.
Solicited testimonials are the result of a conscious effort by you to pursue them. Generally all you have to do is just ask. In my experience satisfied clients are more than willing to write testimonials.
Be proactive in soliciting testimonials from your satisfied clients and customers. This should be incorporated into your business process and part of your strategic marketing efforts
You can employ a variety of tools to solicit your testimonials, including direct solicitation of a client, comment cards, customer satisfaction surveys, and “feedback” or “contact us” sections on your website.
You may also wish to give clients an incentive to give you testimonials and offer them something of value in return for their time and effort. In exchange for the testimonial you can offer a discount, a gift or prize, or provide them with a free article or report or other information or some other incentive.
In every case, always ask for permission to use the person’s name and/or company with their testimonial. A full name with complete attributes is the most credible. A photo of the person providing the testimonial makes for even stronger impact if they are agreeable.
If you are marketing online, you can add further impact (and credibility) by delivering testimonials via audio or video.