informal reviews of something – people give their opinion of a product or
service and often include words of thanks or detail how the good or service was
of use to them.
They can be a very
useful business tool, especially as they don’t cost money to get or
What’s so good
about using testimonials?
As a business
owner, you believe in your product or service and know all of its features. Your
website and advertising materials can list of all of these features and even
your personal guarantee, but that doesn’t mean everyone will be
After all, some
sales and business people would say anything to get a sale wouldn’t they? Why
should potential customers trust that you are telling the complete
On the other hand,
if a previous customer refers them to you, they already have reason to trust you
and your product or service. Word of mouth advertising is highly effective but
not always reliable nor widespread.
testimonials from satisfied customers gives a different perspective to potential
customers. As they don’t have a financial investment in future sales, they have
no reason to lie so have instant credibility. Their words are also coming from a
customer perspective so the benefits they mention will attract other
In short, using
testimonials can increase your sales without much effort on your
words about your business provides information to customers in a non threatening
way; listing all the advantages yourself is probably closer to bragging than any
third party testimonial.
Think about buying
a new book. The title and cover catch your interest but you’re not sure if you
want to buy this particular book. You read the blurb on the back and the short
reviews from major papers or famous authors. The reviews are good and give you
an idea of the book’s style so you make a decision.
Those reviews on
the back of the book were simply testimonials. Did you consider the author was
bragging by having them on the back cover? Or was it a useful way of learning
about the book?
As long as you
don’t include too many testimonials or hype them up, testimonials will not come
across as you bragging or showing off; they will be a legitimate way of
reassuring potential customers about your business.
Where to find
be lucky and happy customers will spontaneously tell you how great your business
is. The rest of the time, you’ll need to be proactive about
It isn’t hard to
get testimonials and most people won’t mind doing one if they were happy with
what you provided.
You can make it
easy for customers by having a feedback form on your website, in product
packaging or in newsletters.
just ask! If a customer is happy, ask if they’d say so in writing so you can use
that as a testimonial.
It is best to let
customers know you are using their words publicly as a testimonial, and include
their business name if appropriate as this gives something back to them as
You may also find
some unexpected testimonials on various web communities or review sites. Unless
the reviews are explicitly available for use, ask the person(s) involved before
using these testimonials publicly.
One you have
collected and used a few testimonials, you may find new customers are more
likely to volunteer their opinions as they can see you use them
Tash Hughes is the
owner of Word Constructions and assists
businesses in preparing all written documentation and web site content. Tash
also writes articles for magazines, newsletter and websites.
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