Think about how many decisions you make in a single day, or single hour and what influences those decisions? Your personal experiences and acquired knowledge weigh heavily in the process, along with emotional and external influences. How many times have you heard a friend or colleague say, “Have you heard about….” or “We should go and see this…..”?
It’s these kinds of influences that can weigh heavily on your decision-making process. In the real, face-to-face world this is called “word of mouth referrals”. Indirectly, the passive approach to the same technique is called a testimonial. The written word that supplies credibility, confidence, accountability and relevance to help influence your decision to either choose or discard this choice.
Why Testimonials Work
When you are making a decision on a product or a vendor, a testimonial could just be the “nudge” that finalizes the process. How many times have you thought, “Gee, if ole Charlie says it’s a good deal, it must be!” The relevant opinion of a trusted source can be a persuasive force to potential users of your product or services. And, unlike many advertisements, they cost you nothing!
Some 68 percent of consumers form an opinion by reading one to six reviews or testimonials (Search Engine Land). Considering the inherent value of a testimonial or review, it’s the best “bang for your buck” you can get. And besides, people love the recognition of being quoted and will become ambassadors of your business on their own. Win-Win.
Take a look at some of the social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn if you want to see the real power of a testimonial. Of course, one thing to keep in mind is the source of any endorsement of a product or service. Sources must be credible, honest, and believable to be effective. A current user who uses a particular product or service and how it has helped them provides the experiential element they need to sway their decision.
Well-placed testimonials on local and national directories can be a significant resource for those undecided users looking for your product or service. Industry-specific associations and resources are another consideration for professional and commercial products and resources.
How To Get A Good Testimonial
More often than not, you are going to have to ask a current customer to provide a testimonial. It’s probably going to be a bit awkward for them, so you should be prepared to have some guidelines to help frame the topic and focus of their statement. Here are a few tried and true questions to pose that should generate an effective response:
- Why did you choose the business, product or service you did?
- What did you like most about their approach or product?
- How did this product or service solve your problem?
- What are the biggest benefits you have achieved from this companies product or service?
- Would you recommend our product or service to others?
Make sure the content of the testimonial is specific and stays in the actual words of the resource. If you have to edit, do it carefully and sparingly and only to correct spelling, punctuation and vague statements. Capturing the emotion of the recommendation with its minor flaws gives it the credibility to be taken seriously.
Make sure you keep the content of the testimonial up-to-date by getting your statement while the reasons are still fresh in the user’s mind. Keep in mind perennial customers that can relate how long they have been using your products or services, too.
Finally, to get the best of both worlds, consider a video testimonial where the customer can see a live conversation relating to your products and services. They are a lot more work, but significantly more effective on social media and websites.
There is no arguing the importance of a recommendation by a user of a product or service. A testimonial serves to validate your marketing claims and convince the potential buyer to choose your product. So get out there and start asking your customers for a testimonial. You must constantly collect them, evaluate them, categorize them, and publish them. Your greatest reward will be when a new customer says, “I saw what Charlie said about your product and that did it for me.” The power of the testimonial.