Image by: World Bank Photo Collection
By Michael Sterling
Testimonials have been around since the invention of radio. Back in the old days of 1950s black and white television, commercials weren’t the creatively-written scripts we see today. They were testimonials of people holding the product in their hands and pitching the viewer for a sale. Those days are over now.
One thing these old advertisements did right though was to speak directly to the audience. Sometimes getting straight to the heart of the sale, without curving around edges like most commercials do, can be the best motive in convincing your customer to buy a product. The art of it is making it seem genuine.
The Importance Of Testimonials
Whether people care to admit it or not, if there are comments/testimonials regarding a service they’re thinking of purchasing , they will read them. Does it affect the sale? For a lot of them no, but at the same time, having resources in front of them will always get their attention in some form.
Customers want to hear about other people’s experiences. It makes them feel more involved in their purchase, which is why you as a business owner, should take this into account.
Highlighting The Details
In general, the most successful testimonials aren’t the ones that compliment with just one sentence, like “This product was awesome! Saved my life!” This doesn’t convince anybody. Think of the questions Why? How? What? Why was it a good product, How did it help, and What was the outcome?
Generally, most customers that right testimonials on the cuff, will not hit these questions, which is why it might be a good idea to help them out. Details are key in convincing customers. Think about the benefits, it’s compact, if your business includes good customer service, shipping times, durability, etc.
Don’t let your customers dwell on the functions of a service, these things are obvious and you can list them on the website anyway.
Help them out be asking these questions for them. I’ve seen plenty of businesses benefit from testimonial templates in which ask you three to four key points, like overall satisfaction, individual benefits, and your favorite part about the product. These kind of testimonials, separated from the on-the-cuff ones, will always be good to have in your que.
It’s not uncommon for businesses to offer incentives in return for customer’s testimonials, i.e. a one time 10% off coupon or free consultation. These can drastically change your testimonial rate, but you must be true to your word. If you say you’re going to give them a discount, give them a discount.
Think of specials that benefit them if they recruit a buddy, like you on Facebook, use your other products, etc. These kinds of things benefit both of you, and if the testimonials don’t convince them, the incentives will.
Integrate and Involve
By integrating your testimonial pages with social media websites like Facebook, not only do you increase traffic to your product, but it allows for more customer-on-customer communication and employee interaction. One such example is Costa Rican Vacations, as studied by MarketingSherpa.com.
Before integrating their testimonials on Facebook, Costa Rican Vacations’ referrals and repeats of customers had been running at around 6%; afterwards, they’re number doubled to 12%. They have well over 200 Facebook testimonials and according to their case study, 15% of their entire clientele who fill out their company survey, also leave a Facebook testimonial.
There is incredible power by using social media for your customer testimonials. It is the best way in 2013 for everyone to connect to each other. Whether your number of clients are small or large, it allows all of them to have a voice and feel involved with the process.
Another great perk when integrating your company through social media is that it creates more opportunities for you to hire freelancers. Facebook is world-wide, which means you don’t need to have a single system for your customer service data. Anyone can do it from home, and it is proven to be the most cost-effective strategy.