3 easy ways to make your testimonials more powerful

Ah, the testimonial. There are few things more powerful in the conversion process than reading comments from real people stating, “Yes, I used this product (or worked with this company) and I highly recommend them.”

Unfortunately, many sites don’t leverage testimonials like they could. Instead of thinking about strategic testimonial placement, folks will upload whatever the client gives them and call it good. But if you want your testimonials to have a real impact, here are three tips to consider:

  • Use the testimonial author’s full name. We’ve all see testimonials like, “I loved this product – R.B. Oregon.” The problem is, people’s B.S. meters start flashing when they see initials rather than a person’s first and last name. They’ll wonder if “R.B.” is a real person…or if it’s a fake testimonial penned by someone in marketing. Consider telling folks that you’ll need to print their full name in order to post their testimonial on the site. In all my years of doing business, I’ve never had anyone come back and say, “No, I’d prefer that you use my initials instead.”
  • Use “appropriate” testimonials for the target audience. Many sites have multiple target audiences – so doesn’t it make sense that the testimonials should be focused around whatever audience you’re targeting? For example, Constant Contact has separate pages for the main industries they service, and each page has a testimonial from that market (here’s an example.) That’s much more powerful than, say, a real estate agent testimonial on the “non-profit” page – or a spa owner testimonial on the “sports and recreation” page.
  • Specifics sell. It’s great when a prospect says, “Thanks. You’ve increased my business.” It’s even better when they say, “You’ve helped us increase our conversion rates by 27%, which brought in over $50,000 so far.” When you’re asking for the testimonial, ask for examples and stats – how did your work (or your product) make your client’s life better? What kind of conversion lift did they see? What specific improvements did they experience? When the testimonial provides details and tells a story, prospects will read it and think, “If this company was able to help these people, I bet they can help me too!”

Finally, what’s the best time to ask for a testimonial? After you’ve done something that rocked your client’s world. According to the psychological theory of reciprocity, people are more apt to provide a testimonial right after they’ve see results. That is, since you’ve done something fantastic for them, they are more than happy to do something nice for you. If you wait a few months, your awesome results have already faded in your client’s mind…and getting a specific testimonial (or sometimes, any testimonial) is more difficult.