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Toronto-based boutique agency specializing in web design and development, identity and print design.
May 4

6 tips for using testimonials

When you’re looking to hire a contractor, choose a new dishwasher, or get the kids into a great day care what’s the first thing you do? Ask your friends.

Your customers make their decisions in the same way. They’re looking for a product or service other people trust. And if they’re not getting recommendations directly from people they know, quotes from your existing customers are the next best thing: testimonials can sell your stuff in a way no slick marketing copy ever could.

But not every testimonial is created equal. Here are 6 strategies to get customer quotes working for you.

1. Ask for them. Satisfied clients are probably more than happy to sing your praises. But if you don’t ask, they’re not likely to think of doing it themselves.

2. Make it easy. People are busy. Do whatever it takes to get the info out of them painlessly. You can ask for a quote via email, but your best bet may be to schedule an interview and ask leading questions like “what’s the greatest benefit of working with company x” and “give me an example of something they’ve done to wow you.”

3. Ask for specific info. “Company x is great and I love them” may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but it’ll leave your potential customers cold. They want details. They want benefits. “Company x helped us grow our profits by 30% last year” is far more compelling. But make sure each testimonial you use highlights a different benefit – you don’t want them all to be saying the same thing.

4. Use people your audience can relate to. They want to hear from someone who is like them. If you sell to seniors, ask if you can include their age along with their quote. If you deal with moms, include how many kids they have and request a photo. Same thing applies to CEOs, real estate agents, coffee lovers, you name it.

5. Keep collecting quotes. Don’t just rely on two or three – make it part of your sales process to ask for feedback, and don’t forget to request permission to use it in your marketing materials.

6. Don’t make your testimonials sound like marketing copy. Absolutely, edit them for length and flow. Having a quote that’s riddled with grammatical errors or excessive wordiness won’t appeal to the reader. But don’t edit it to the point that it sounds like the rest of your copy. The point of a testimonial is that it sounds candid and unbiased, in a voice that’s not sales-y.

7. Use them everywhere. Pepper them throughout your website, highlight them in your print materials. Add video testimonials to your site and your YouTube channel. It’s basically free advertising. Leverage it wherever you can.

Testimonials are a great way to enlist your customers as your sales team. It’s easy, won’t cost you anything, and it builds trust in your brand – and profitability for you.