Throughout the long history of marketing, one form of promotion has always stood head and shoulders above everything else. It’s kind of the Holy Grail of Marketing, and we call it Word-of-Mouth marketing.
One of the reasons it’s so effective is that prospective customers tend to trust other people (who experience the same fears, frustrations and challenges as they do) more than they trust the business trying to sell them something.
That’s why so many companies use personal testimonials in their marketing materials, including on their websites. But just having a comment from a customer (even a satisfied customer) doesn’t always get the job done. You’ve probably read really awkward testimonials on websites that leave you wondering either what was just said or why it’s there in the first place.
Here are two of tips for getting testimonials that are punchy, relevant, informative and effective.
Edit the Comments You Receive
Sometimes marketers are hesitant to change the words their clients use. They don’t want to be disingenuous. They don’t want clients to feel manipulated. But not everyone is good at expressing him or herself on paper (or online). If you receive a quote or a testimonial that sounds awkward, re-work it to make it clear. Cut out unnecessary verbiage. Correct improper grammar. You’ll want to make sure you’re not changing the intent of what someone said; the idea is just to make it easier to understand. And if you’re concerned about your client’s reaction, show them the correction (and maybe explain why you made certain changes) before you make it public.
Write the Testimonial Yourself
Often clients know if they aren’t particularly good at communicating. Some simply don’t have the time to think about and write something for you (even if they’re really happy clients). One way to get around that is to ask them up front if you can draft a statement that reflects their feelings or experience and show it to them. You might say something like, “Would you mind having your name attached to this statement?” or “Does this accurately represent how you feel about your experience with us?” This enables you to focus on key messages that you know are important (and that your client might not think to mention). It also removes the burden from someone who would like to help but simply doesn’t have the time or the skills to do so.
Word of mouth continues to be incredibly powerful, even in the digital age. Just make sure the words coming from your clients are clear, concise and on-message before you post them.