How to Use Testimonials to Grow
By Pam Lontos
Which are you more likely to believe: a company representative telling you
how great their product or service is, or a recommendation from another
person about how it worked for them? If you're like most people, the words
from a fellow consumer pull more weight than even the best written ad copy.
That's why no matter what product or service you're selling, you need to use
testimonials from satisfied customers in every ad and marketing piece you
One of the main reasons why people don't buy something is that they're
fearful of making the wrong decision. So when they see that a product or
service is endorsed by someone else-someone in their same situation-that
fear is minimized. Therefore, testimonials are a great way of influencing
others to feel comfortable about buying your products or services.
Unfortunately, few business professionals actively seek out testimonials
from their customers and clients. They mistakenly wait for people to give
them testimonials, and when they do get them, they don't know how to use
them effectively. In reality, getting and using a list of strong
testimonials is easier than you think. The following tips will help you get
testimonials to increase your profits.
How to Get Them
Choose satisfied customers who represent your target demographic. The
best testimonials are written by people who are similar to your ideal
customer. Therefore, be specific about who you solicit a testimonial from.
Look over your customer files and choose the people who exemplify the best
case scenario for your product or service. Say to them, "I'd love for you to
share your experience with Product A. Would you please write a short
testimonial?" Most people will cheerfully say yes. Since you want more happy
customers just like these, let their words sell for you.
Offer to write the testimonial for them. Often, if someone declines
your request to write a testimonial, it's because they're too busy or feel
they don't have adequate writing skills. In that case, offer to write the
testimonial for them. Simply say, "I'll be glad to write the testimonial for
you. Just tell me what you'd like to say about the product. You can review
what I write and we can use it as is or you can change it." Most people will
leave the testimonial as is, happy they didn't have to take the time to
Look through your past notes and correspondence. Chances are you're
sitting on a pile of testimonials and don't even know it. Go back through
your past emails and correspondence from customers and clients. Are there a
few nice sentences in some of those messages? If so, ask the person if you
can use their words in your marketing materials. They'll often agree.
How to Write Them
Show results. Whether you write the testimonial or your customer
does, it needs to specifically show what results the person experienced from
the product or service. A testimonial that simply says what a wonderful
company you have or how nice you are is not saying anything meaningful for
the reader. A specific testimonial will speak to results, for example: "Dr.
Smith's treatment ended my 20-year battle with migraines." "Joe's
contracting remodeled my kitchen for $2,000 less than other bidders." "Jones
and Johnson CPA Firm reduced my tax liability by 30%." The more specific a
testimonial is, the stronger it sells for you. Specific testimonials take
away the fear of making the wrong decision and help people feel safe about
making the purchase.
Keep it short. Each word of the testimonial should have value.
Therefore, if someone writes you a page-long testimonial, edit out any words
that don't directly address the end result he or she received from your
service or product. This doesn't mean you change the meaning of what someone
writes; you simply edit out the parts that don't contribute to the meaning.
For example, if someone writes a page about everything your company did to
help them save 30% on their heating and cooling bills, you can condense it
to one sentence, as in "As a result of ABC Company's inspection of our home,
we saved 30% on our monthly utility bill." Often, the more words you take
out, the stronger the testimonial becomes. Also, it's easier to read and
will stand out more.
Include a name and title when possible. Rather than attribute your
testimonial to "John S., Nebraska," use the person's real name, company
name, title, and/or location whenever possible, as in "John Sanders,
salesperson at Acme Company," or "John Sanders, Omaha, Nebraska." This makes
your testimonial more believable. Most people will be happy to include their
full name and other information, because the strongest human desire is to
feel appreciated and recognized. Getting their name in print somewhere
fulfills that need and is often perceived as fun.
How to Use Them
Include a testimonial or two in your ads and marketing pieces.
Whether you're doing a print, online, radio, or TV ad, be sure to include
some testimonials. For print, it's best to have testimonials stand alone
from the text rather than try to weave them into the ad copy. For radio and
TV, either the announcer or an actor can recite the testimonial, or if your
customer is agreeable, have him or her appear in your radio or TV spot to
give the testimonial personally. Other marketing pieces that should feature
your testimonials include your web site, brochures, direct mail pieces,
postcards, billboards, newsletters, and even social media updates.
Create a book of testimonials. Each time you receive a kind letter
from a customer or client, highlight the key parts (the parts that state
benefits to the customer), put the letter in a clear plastic sleeve, and
compile it in a big binder. Keep this book or binder of testimonials in your
store or office for customers to browse through while they're waiting. Or,
if your business is online, create a page where you feature all your
testimonials. There's no limit to how many testimonials you can include in
your book or on your page.
Frame your best testimonials. If you have a store or office, frame
some of your best testimonial letters and post them on your walls. Again,
highlight the best parts so your customers can easily see the benefits. If
you don't get foot traffic (or if you go to your customers), put the best
testimonial letters in your "leave behind" kit-the package of information
you leave behind for the prospect.
The Ultimate Sales Tool The next time you're writing copy for an
advertisement or marketing piece (and struggling with what information to
include) simply go to your past testimonials. It's always better when
someone else sings your praises, so let your customer sell for you. The
sooner you start using testimonials in every marketing message you create,
the sooner you'll realize that testimonials really are the ultimate sales
About the Author:
Pam Lontos is President of Pam Lontos Consulting. Pam consults with
businesses and experts in the areas of sales, marketing and publicity. Pam
founded PR/PR Public Relations and is a past Vice president of sales for
Disney's Shamrock Broadcasting where she raised sales 500%. She is the
author of "I See Your Name Everywhere: Leverage the Power of the Media to
Grow your Fame, Wealth and Success." For more information on her consulting
services, call (407) 522-8630, email