Why many customer testimonials are worthless

This post by Brenda Do, www.BLCopywriting.com

Posted in Advertising, E-Commerce, Marketing

Why many customer testimonials are worthless

A lot of us think if a customer says something nice about you, you should use their testimonial in your marketing, right?

Not quite.

I’ve seen lots of “nice” testimonials actually lower a company’s credibility. Or at the very least, increase a prospect’s skepticism. That’s because…

Testimonials are like Twinkies

Ok, stick with me here and it’ll soon make sense.

As a food source, Twinkies are what I call hole pluggers. You’ve got a hungry part of your tummy, the Twinkie helps you feel better by filling that hole for a bit, but it doesn’t provide the nutrition needed for you to thrive. So Twinkies don’t add any value to your health.

Likewise, sweet/nice testimonials do the same thing for your business. They fill an empty spot on your website or brochure, but they don’t add any value to your overall sales.

To understand this better, how many times have you read wimpy testimonials like these?

I found XYZ very helpful and informative. I highly recommend XYZ to anyone.
XYZ is so nice to work with. They always answer my questions quickly. They’re great!
XYZ is very professional and delivered on time. They exceeded my expectations.

Ok, be honest here…do any of those testimonials make you want to stop what you’re doing and give them a call?

That’s because those testimonials are so generic and fluffy, they don’t tell your prospect anything helpful.

Just like you, your prospects are wisely skeptical. Before they commit time to talking with you, they want to feel there’s a high chance you’ll be able to help them. Assuming your website and sales material are all written well, your testimonials’ job is to push your hesitant prospects over the edge, so they get off that fence and contact you.

In order to do that, your testimonials must do two things:

1. Enhance your credibility

2. Positively address their objections/concerns

Fluff won’t do that for you.

How to know which testimonials help or hurt your sale

A quality testimonial addresses common objections or concerns your prospects have rolling around in their heads. When people see them, it puts them at ease and encourages them to call.

To illustrate, let’s say you’re a back surgeon. You know your prospects are in desperate pain, but they’re still hesitant to go to you for several reasons. This includes: cost of the surgery, success rate, how long they’ll be off work, etc.

Ideally, you want to get quality testimonials where each addresses one of those concerns.

For instance, let’s say many prospects worry they can’t afford the surgery. When they go through your website, they see this testimonial:

“I love Dr. Jones. She’s really good and her staff made me feel comfortable answering my questions and helping me feel relaxed.”

Nice…but that’s probably not going to encourage a cost-conscious prospect to call you. But what if that same prospect saw this on your site?…

“Thanks so much for working out a payment plan that fit my tight budget. I’m feeling so good, I’m working full-time again. And it’s such a relief not to be weighed down by medical bills. Thank you so much for helping me make this difficult time easier than I imagined.”

If you’re worried about affording the surgery, which testimonial will convince you to call Dr. Jones?

Yep, the second one. Because it addressed your objection/concern/worry.

The easiest way to get the right testimonials

Here’s how you figure out what kind of testimonials you want your customers to write:

1. List the objections/concerns
List all of the objections, fears, or concerns prospects have about buying from you, or calling you to find out more. List everything you can think of. Narrow it down to 3-5 of the biggest and most common concerns. These are the ones to focus on in step 2.

2. Send a testimonial template
To get more testimonials, and make sure they’re talking about what you need, send them an email template. Ask topic-specific, open-ended questions about their experience with you. It’s a lot easier and faster for your busy customers to answer questions than come up with a paragraph on their own.

NOTE: Be sure the email includes a brief waiver allowing you to use their answers in your marketing material.

Bonus tip: time the concern

For added impact, here’s another tip from the brain trust at MarketingExperiments.com: place testimonials in relevant parts of your marketing material. For instance, if you sell online and want to lower the number of people who abandon their carts, then place a testimonial about the easy checkout right where people start the checkout process.

Want to see the testimonial request template I use personally? Just ask and I’ll forward it to you right away: brenda@blcopywriting.com.


Brenda Do is a freelance, direct-response copywriter in Reno, NV and President of BL Copywriting, LLC. Contact her at: www.BLCopywriting.com or brenda@blcopywriting.com





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