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Customer testimonials are a great way to boost sales and credibility. They demonstrate your company's proven track record of meeting or exceeding customer expectations and can help prospective customers feel more comfortable doing business with you. The most effective customer testimonials are more than reprinted words; they convey a sense of excellence and proven results.
Here are four tips you can employ to benefit from customer testimonials:
Testimonials should never be fabricated. While it's difficult to estimate the number of real versus fake testimonials, it could be speculated that the vast majority of testimonials are indeed fabrications. Copywriters understand the power of customer testimonials and will often write their own if you don't have testimonials readily available; however, the best copywriters know that the best testimonials are truthful. Fabricated testimonials can give themselves away because they are too glowing; the reviews are ingenuous; or they lack a concrete reference (such as a website URL, company name, credentials, etc.)
Use actual customer testimonials verbatim, only changing typos or word placement errors that do not change meaning. Don't forget to include customer photos, links to their websites and their credentials for more impact.
When you ask your customers for testimonials, ask them to state what specific results you helped them achieve or what specific aspects of your company they fell in love with. Saying that "Company XYZ increased our conversions by more than 200 percent in just six months" is much better than "We have more conversions now that we consulted with Company XYZ," for example. If you don't have hard numbers, you can espouse the virtues of your customer service, pricing, product/service quality and other unique features and benefits your customers appreciate.
Don't rely on two or three testimonials to carry you through — always ask new customers for testimonials after successful transactions while your valuable service is fresh in their minds. If prospects only see two or three testimonials for an extended period of time, they'll assume that you only have two or three satisfied customers. Refresh your testimonials or add to your testimonial list — and choose a few to feature in each marketing piece.
This also helps you diversify your testimonials to showcase the multiple benefits of working with you and to demonstrate that you have several types of customers. Your customers will want to know that they're in good company.
Even if you have boatloads of happy customers, testimonials can be difficult to get. Many people hesitate to permanently attach their endorsements to a company or product, no matter how good it is. Once you're able to compile several authentic customer testimonials, don't waste them — use them on all of your marketing materials. Websites, e-mails, brochures, postcards and even the back of business cards are great places to highlight how you've helped others achieve success.
You can even develop an entire direct-mail campaign around your testimonials. A direct-mail postcard could read "Increase Your Conversions by 10 Percent or More ... but don't take our word for it — ask our happy customers!", for example, and could include a border of customer photos, credentials, URLs and their testimonials.
Customer testimonials are powerful motivators because they offer a third-person review of your company, offering excitement and insurance to your prospects. Honest testimonials have the most impact, so start compiling your customer testimonials to help you tell the world how great you are!