Helping Your Prospects Overcome "Buying Fears" By Using Testimonials
by Joe Farinaccio
No matter how you're marketing your business, if your claims don't have credibility, your prospects won't be won over. Testimonials can help you strengthen your sales letters and other marketing materials, making them more believable and effective.
You DO use direct marketing for your small business, right? If so, you're taking advantage of the most cost-effective means of advertising available. (Yes. I'm biased. I admit it!)
Let's talk for a minute about how you can make your sales copy and direct marketing more effective.
One of the simplest yet most powerful ways to strengthen your sales copy is to include testimonials. The purpose of having testimonials is to add "objective" credibility to your promises. And when used correctly, testimonials can do just that.
Good Testimonials Will Separate You from the Crowd
I read a great sales letter this morning. It came from a local heating/cooling service contractor in my area. His headline was perfect. His pitch was superb. His "reasons-why" advertising justified both his offer and his price.
His sales letter lacked only one thing: "proof" that he can deliver on his promises by demonstrating he has already delivered on his promises to others.
People want to know who they can trust. Testimonials will do that for you. This is even MORE important if you have a business on the web.
Buying from an unfamiliar seller on the web can be a scary thing. But once you've delivered on your promises to a satisfied customer the trust factor goes up for them exponentially. Your next sale is much easier to make.
Do What Ebay and Amazon Do in Order to Foster Trust
Both of these monster sellers provide a constant stream of customer feedback and testimonials. The testimonials cover both the sellers as individuals and the products themselves. It's all to satisfy the "proof" factor in selling. You've got to prove you can deliver the goods.
Testimonials provide you with a track record. They make the claims in your sales letter or direct mail package down-to-earth and believable.
The Most Effective Testimonials Are:
1) Believable. Good testimonials talk about real benefits experienced by real people.
2) To the point. Each one should highlight one main benefit. If your customer has mentioned 3 really good benefits in their testimonial try to break up their 1 testimony into 3 testimonies. Use an ellipsis in the copy ... like this to start and close the testimony where appropriate.
3) Natural. Keep the testimonials as unedited as possible. Clean up the spelling, of course, but for the most part keep things just as your customer has written (or spoken) them.
4) Detailed. The best testimonials aren't vague. they include details. specifics. processed data. juicy numbers. facts. etc.
5) Include the customer's name and where they live. The more information the better. "K. Smith, Pennsville, NJ" is better than "K.S. from N.J." But "Karen Smith (Owner, Styles Dress Shop), Pennsville, NJ" is best of all.
6) Placed next to relevant points in your sales letter. If you have a testimonial raving about the reliability of your product try to place it near any sales copy you have that addresses how reliable your product is. If the testimonial raves about how good your service is then place it near sales copy that compares your service performance with others.'
Final Words on Gathering Testimonials Effectively
Always ask your satisfied customers for testimonials. Create a standard form and at the top of it type in big letters, "Customer Feedback Form."
Then give them out to your customers and ask for comments.
- "Did you like our product/service?"
- "Was there anything you didn't like about it?"
- "What was it you liked BEST about doing business with me?"
- "Any additional Comments you'd like to make?"
And then, the final important question and request. "May we use your comments for promotional purposes?. please sign it and send back to me at."
There you have it. Now gather some testimonials. Use them in all your sales copy. Watch your sales rise along with your credibility.
Joe Farinaccio is a copywriter and direct marketer. In addition to writing sales letters for online clients Joe specializes in creating successful direct mail packages for small and medium sized businesses. You can learn more about how to market your successfully and sign up to receive his free monthly Ezine at http://www.sales-letters-and-marketing.com