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7 Ways to Properly Use Testimonials

Every business, whether its based on the Internet or whether it’s a traditional bricks and mortar type of business knows the value of having other people testify to the value of the services or products that you provide.

These people provide a steady stream of referrals which result in additional revenues. However, a disturbing trend is emerging. It’s the overuse of these testimonials on your brochures, advertisements, web pages, products and services that is de-valuing the very nature of testimonials.

For example, I was researching some books that I believe will help clarify some gaps in my knowledge. I boiled the list of books down to three which I thought outlined and addressed the gaps in my knowledge. As I thumbed my way through the first of three books, the very first thing that struck me was the sheer amount of testimonials. This book had over 30 testimonials. That’s right, thirty.

I was dumbstruck.

Instead of actually wanting me to read the book, I put it down. Why? I felt that the author didn’t use the testimonials to their best advantage. By providing such a large list of testimonials, I felt that the author was actually saying, ‘Hey, I really don’t know what I’m talking about, so I have to convince you.’

I was convinced, alright. I was convinced not to buy the book. In order for me to get a better perspective, I stood on the street and asked 50 men and 50 women if they would buy a book based on the amount of testimonials. I gave a range of 3, 7, 10 or 15 or more.

Guess what? The larger amount of testimonials (15) actually turned people off (40 men and 34 women). That’s 80% of men and 68% of women. I’m not saying that this survey was scientific; more research is required; however, since these people were random, unique and different it confirmed that I wasn’t the only one who’s thinking this way.

This brings up an important point. If you have a large amount of testimonials on your website, brochure, book, other product or service, you may actually be de-valuing your product or service.

Why?

Large amounts of testimonials seem to provide an almost amateurish atmosphere and diminish the one aspect that you require: credibility. By reducing your credibility you have, you diminish other aspects: trust, belief and willingness to buy.

This informal research demonstrates several key issues.

Here are 7 Ways To Properly Use Testimonials:

1. Keep Your Testimonials Relevant
2. Keep The Number Of Your Testimonials Lower
3. Rotate Your Testimonials
4. Understand What Your Testimonials Are For And What They’re Not
5. Don’t Fake Your Testimonials
6. Don’t Rely Solely On Your Testimonials To Sell
7. Understand That Your Testimonials Make Or Break Your Credibility

1. Keep Your Testimonials Relevant

This seems almost obvious, however, when you read testimonials, they seem to wander away from the product or service. The testimonial is actually about the person (seller) and NOT the product or service. When you have testimonials that are relevant – meaning about the product or service, then that information becomes the deciding factor. What if the person is the product? Certainly, have testimonials that reflect this.

2. Keep The Number Of Testimonials Lower

Having a large number of testimonials robs the powerful effect that testimonials give to your product or service. Keep the testimonials in the rage of 7 to 10. Experiment using the number of testimonials as long as it doesn’t go over 10. That way you maintain credibility and people actually believe what you’re selling.

3. Rotate Your Testimonials

If you consistently use the same testimonials over and over again, your potential clients will begin to wonder if those are the only client’s you’ve ever had. In fact, they’ll begin to wonder the true value of your product or service. By rotating your testimonials, it demonstrates that you have more than one client, you have had someone other that your brother, sister, cousin, wife, mother or father vouch for your product or service.

4. Understand What Your Testimonials Are For And What They’re Not

The purpose of your testimonials aren’t just there as proof that your product or service works. Your testimonials provide a platform to build trust and credibility. That’s why software manufacturer’s offer a 30-day trial. That’s why we provide rock-solid guarantees. Your testimonials work along side a rock-solid guarantee and a free trial. They enhance the effectiveness of each other. In other words you’re easing the pressure from someone having to make a decision that may cost them their job, business or lifestyle. Testimonials are not, should not be used alone and without guarantees.

5. Don’t Fake Your Testimonials

We all know the joke far too well. You see someone in a faded and distant photo saying that the product or service is great. Or my all time favorite is the photo of the blurry check and how much the author made. This is the most blatant and misguided use of using testimonials. This type of enticements only erodes the fact that you’re trying to build relationships, not have a one time buyer who is disgusted with your products or services. Don’t fake testimonials. It’ll save your credibility.

6. Don’t Rely Solely On Your Testimonials To Sell

Whenever I read a book or think about purchasing a product or service and I read their testimonials, I’m often under the impression that the author is relying solely on these testimonials to sell their product or service. It seems that the product isn’t worthwhile -without these testimonials. In fact, the way how testimonials were used actually decreases the value of the product or service to the point where I distrust anything that is made by that company. Use your testimonials to build credibility not diminish it.

7. Understand That Your Testimonials Make Or Break Your Credibility

In our effort to get prospective clients to buy from us, we can go over-board with our testimonials. Your testimonials and the sheer number of them can erode and destroy your credibility even with a rock-solid guarantee. Why? People start to wonder about the truth of your so-called testimonials. They begin to doubt whether or not you’re actually telling the truth. When you use testimonials effectively, you will see more people not necessarily buying from you; you’ll actually see more people requesting information about your product or service. Why? They don’t feel as if you’re making something out to be more than what it is and they’ll actually appreciate the fact that you might say that your product or service may not be for them. What you’re doing is developing a relationship with your prospective clients, who, once you’ve established their trust and don’t abuse it will continue to be loyal customers.

These 7 Ways To Properly Use Testimonials will help you to effectively market your product or service without risking your credibility and reputation. The great strategist, Sun Tzu in his famous book, The Art of War said, “Guard Your Reputation.” Guard your reputation, as if your business life depended on it.

Have you ever wondered how to get testimonials or even how to use testimonials to sell your products or services or to get an appointment to see a decision maker?

E-mail nicholas@marketingstrategically.com to determine your project requirements and how you can use testimonials to better position your product or service in the minds of your customer or target audience. Call or e-mail today for your no-cost, no-obligation scheduled assessment.

If you want to know how to get more customers now, successfully negotiate and win customers who want what you have to offer and are happy, excited and will enthusiastically recommend your business to their friends then Nicholas Yong can show you exactly how to do this. Nicholas has helped business owners and professionals across a wide variety of industries. See for yourself at his website

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