How to write testimonials

Testimonials! Yes there are several ways of how we can build trust with our customers, which I will be writing about soon in another blog post, but for now of the best ways to build trust is through using well crafted testimonials.

Why?

Humans are social creatures, we trust what others say, and someone's recommendation or warning will very heavily weigh on what their opinion is of the subject. We want a tried and tested solution to the problem that we are having.

Testimonials can provide this recommendation, but there is an art to craft a testimonial that actually works.

Our first instinct when choosing a testimonial normally would be to find the person who sings your praises the most about how wonderful you are and your product is, but what is this actually telling those who are visiting your website?

Your goal from a testimonial is to alleviate your customers concerns and questions that they may be having about your product or service.

So how do we do that?

Address their concern!

Consider these two, totally made up, testimonials:

“Alex and Jess are so wonderful, they designed me a beautiful website and they are so nice to work with”

“I had a few concerns about whether spending money on a website redesign would be just a waste of time and money, and I wouldn’t see a noticeable change in my sales, but Jess and Alex were able to craft a website that has seen a considerable increase in the amount of sales I have received.”

While the first testimonial makes me feel good and it shows how nice we are to work with, it doesn’t alleviate any concerns that my customers may have.

But, my customers are likely concerned about the ROI if having a website built, so having a testimonial that specifically addresses that concern will make it feel like we are speaking to them directly, and we are validating their concerns.

But how do I get testimonials like that?

We get it, more often than not the times that we ask for a testimonial will receive one like the first example written above.

Here’s a little trick, when asking for a testimonial, give them a few questions to answer, such as:

What concern did you have before purchasing?

Did our product overcome this concern? If so, how? If not what could we do to improve?

What problem did purchasing this product overcome?

What were the results?

The beauty of this is you are both getting feedback on how you can improve your product, as well as getting a testimonial that you can use. What we like to do next is ask our client/customer if we can put the responses together to place on our website, and then give it to them for approval. By doing this, we are curating their answers into a testimonial that appeals to our customers, while not making something up.

Listen for testimonials

No doubt, if you are in communication with your customers then the seeds of a testimonial happen every single day, whether that will be a small DM on social media, a grateful email message, or even in person!

The tip here is to be aware of these moments and save them, whether that will be a screenshot of the email or message saved in a folder on your computer, or physically written down if they have said this to you in person.

Follow up

Make sure you immediately follow up with the person giving you this positive feedback, ask them some questions like the ones mentioned above, and then ask if you can use a few of their words as a testimonial.

By making a practice of being aware and following up on positive feedback, you will soon have a large bank of high-quality testimonials for you to use when and where it is appropriate.

Writing tips

Keep it short!

Peoples attention spans are generally quite short, so using long rambling testimonials are unlikely to be read by visitors on your site. So keep it short, all you need is a few sentences that are straight to the point and provide value.

The first few words of the testimonial are the ones that will get read the most, so make sure the first words drive the value of the testimonial.

Keep it authentic!

Customers speak in a way that you never will when talking about your own product or business. And when others read it, it is obvious to see what is ‘marketing speak’ and what is a genuine authentic testimonial.

Customers can be candid, and sometimes even blunt, using phrases that you would never say. So when a customer gives you a testimonial, use their words, don’t try to re-write it completely, just edit the length!

Extra tip

If you can, and are feeling brave enough, ask your client if they are happy to provide you with a video for your testimonial. Why?

Remember earlier when I said that we humans are social creatures? Well by having a video we get to see that person physically say the words, this then increases the trust in how genuine your customers testimonial is.

If you are not ready to ask for a video, then ask for a headshot, as by putting a photo of the individual next to their testimonial can have a similar effect. If we put a  face to the words written then we are less likely to feel as if you have just made up these testimonials to coerce your customers into making a purchase!

Alex McLean

Co-founder of E-commerce Artisans. Experienced in web development. Passionate about books, DIY and gardening. You may find him hugging a tree every now and again.

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