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Testimonials and your business

In reality, getting and using a list of strong testimonials is easier than you think.


January 5, 2012
By Pam Lontos

If you’re like most people, the words from a fellow consumer have more weight than even the best ad copy.

If you’re like most people, the words from a fellow consumer have more weight than even the best ad copy.

That’s why no matter what you’re selling, you need to use testimonials from satisfied customers. Getting and using a list of strong testimonials is easier than you think.

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Look over your customer files and choose the people who exemplify the best-case scenario. Say to them, “I’d love for you to share your experience with us. Would you please write a short testimonial?” Most people will cheerfully say yes. Often, if someone declines your request it’s because they’re busy or feel they don’t have writing skills. Offer to write the testimonial for them and have them review it.

Chances are you’re sitting on a pile of testimonials and don’t even know it. Go back through your past correspondence from customers. Are there a few nice sentences in some of those messages? If so, ask the person if you can use their words in your marketing materials.

A testimonial that simply says what a wonderful company you have is not saying anything meaningful for the reader. A specific testimonial will speak to results, for example: “Joe’s Drilling put my well in for $2,000 less than other company in town.” The more specific a testimonial is, the stronger it sells for you.

Each word of the testimonial should have value. If someone writes you a page-long testimonial, edit out any words that don’t directly address the end result. This doesn’t mean you change the meaning of what someone writes; you simply edit out the parts that don’t contribute to the meaning. For example, if someone writes a page about everything your company did to help them save 30 per cent on their heating and cooling bills, you can condense it to one sentence, as in “As a result of ABC Company’s installation in our home, we saved 30 per cent on our monthly utility bill.” Often, the more words you take out, the stronger the testimonial becomes.

Rather than attribute your testimonial to “John S., Alberta,” use the person’s real name, company name, title, and/or location whenever possible. This makes your testimonial more believable.

For print ads, it’s best to have testimonials stand alone from the text rather than try to weave them into the ad copy. Other marketing pieces that should feature your testimonials include your website, brochures, direct mail pieces, postcards, billboards, newsletters, and even social media updates.

Each time you receive a kind letter from a customer, highlight the parts that state benefits to the customer and file it in a big binder. Keep the binder of testimonials in your office or wherever is best for customers to browse through. Or, create a page on your website where you feature all your testimonials. Frame some of your best testimonial letters and post them on your walls. Again, highlight the best parts so your customers can easily see the benefits.

The next time you’re writing copy for a marketing piece (and struggling with what to put) simply go to your past testimonials. It’s always better when someone else sings your praises, so let your customers sell for you.


Pam Lontos is president of Pam Lontos Consulting. Pam consults with businesses and experts in the areas of sales, marketing and publicity. Pam founded PR/PR Public Relations and is a past vice president of sales for Disney’s Shamrock Broadcasting where she raised sales 500 per cent. She is the author of I See Your Name Everywhere: Leverage the Power of the Media to Grow your Fame, Wealth and Success. For more information on her consulting services, call 407-522-8630, e-mail PamLontos@gmail.com, or visit www.PamLontos.com .