Ryan T. Howell, Ph.D. explains the psychology behind emotional associations during the buying process on his article on Psychology Today. He says that brand associations grow out of consumer experiences with a brand and that those experiences with a brand are linked to our memory in an unconscious way. When we as consumers recall a brand, not only are the features and benefits, but also our feelings associated with a brand. You can use customers’ feelings about YOUR brand to boost sales by properly implementing testimonials into your marketing strategy.
What makes testimonials so effective?
Think about it. When you read or hear a testimonial – what do you think? “Wow, I want it too!”. Google+ is using the +1 button to help brands capitalise on a form of testimonial, or recommendation. When you see that “3 friends recommended” some website – you’re bound to click on it, right? Exactly. However, testimonials don’t always have to be from friends we know. They say that strangers are friends we have not yet met, after all.
Here are the factors that make testimonials your #1 sales tool:
Testimonials sell “softly”. The savvy consumer doesn’t respond to hard sales.
Testimonials build trust. When people recommend your products and services, they are telling other people that your brand can be trusted, based on their positive experience.
Testimonials convert tough buyers. The right testimonial at the right time can establish your brand as the perfect solution to a common problem.
Collecting Good Testimonials For Your New Business
The early days of business can be tough, unless you’ve run your business as a part time venture for some time and already have some testimonials. But never, ever write fake testimonials, as that can harm your business more than no testimonials at all.
Did you know there are good and bad testimonials? I don’t mean complaints, I mean BAD testimonials. What’s a bad testimonial, you ask?
“Hi Yasmine. Thank you for your course, I enjoyed it.”
That’s bad and you’ll see why when I show you an example of a good testimonial:
“Hi Yasmine. Thank you for your course. Your session on leadership inspired me to be a better leader and I used your advice to double my turn-over in just 3 months.”
This, my friend, is a GOOD testimonial. Why?
Because it tells people exactly what to expect when they come to my workshops. It tells them that they will learn new leadership skills, and it tells them that by implementing the teachings, they can increase their profits. In other words, it provides details that will have a real impact on people reading it.
A good testimonial:
- substantiates your marketing claims.
- endorses the key benefits of your offering.
- tells readers what your product will do for them.
- is easy for readers to relate to.
- is comparative to other products or brands.
- is credible – accompanied by a real name, and perhaps a photo.
Your testimonials should set your product apart from that of your competitors.
Here’s how you can gather good testimonials from existing clients:
- Dedicate a web page to testimonials.
- Ask your best clients for testimonials.
- Make a video of client testimonials.
- Create a survey which encourages people to say how they feel about your business.
How to Use Testimonials in Marketing
While different types of testimonials work for different purposes, a video testimonial is often the most effective, as it allows your audience to emotionally connect directly with another person.
Testimonials can be used in adverts on television, radio or on your website, and it’s up to you where you want to use it. With a smart phone and small video cameras, it’s easy to get a quick testimonial from a client.
If you’re going to use written testimonials, it’s important to include a name and a picture. You can ask clients to send in a picture via email. A photo can help the words to seem more alive.
Here are some more places in which you can use testimonials:
- During sales pitches
- On your print flyers or brochures
- In your media kit
When collecting and sharing testimonials, remember to speak to your audience. Use testimonials from people who are similar to your target audience, which means they will easily connect to your product.
Gently offer your clients some testimonial writing guidelines, by advising them on what you’d like to know. Ask them to write:
- why they decided to buy your product / service
- what their reservations were when they bought
- how they have felt since they bought the product / service
- what benefits they are experiencing as a result
- who they would recommend your product or service to
Finally, remember to never use fake testimonials, as it is dishonest. If, after some time in business you still don’t have a single testimonial, it’s probably a good indication that you should re-evaluate your method of operation.
Do you have any feedback about how testimonials have benefited your business? We’d love to hear more about it!