The art of persuasion. When we attempt to persuade another party, we don’t stop at our initial statement. We decorate our statement with supporting points to show that it’s real, tangible and true. Our follow-up comments could mean the difference between whether the other party rejects the point under contention or accepts it as reliable.
One such means of persuasion is the testimony of a third party. But, as we will see, not all testimonials are created equal. So, let’s take a look at what makes a great testimonial and the best usages of them.
Tell a Story
Imagine you enter a store and begin browsing through merchandise. One item catches your eye. It appears to be handmade and sports a tag revealing a hefty price point. You approach the clerk and inquire about the piece. “You won’t believe the life this thing has led,” he says, and goes on to relate how the item was created during World War II by a refugee from Europe. The clerk describes what the owner had to go through to keep the piece in her possession throughout her travails, up to two weeks ago…when she passed away. How do you feel about that item now?
A story can make all the difference when we estimate the value of an item, a product or a service. Therefore, if at all possible, make sure that your website testimonials tell a story. You want something unique that won’t make the reader ask, ‘Which robot generated this quote?” The more engaging the story, the more engaged and invested the customer will be. A question-and-answer format might even be considered in this regard. But, trust us: They won’t forget it. And they won’t forget your product either.
Make It Relatable
In marketing, it is ever-so-important to know the audience to which you’re pitching a product. The more your audience understands your product and how it can be an asset, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
So, know your audience. Then, as you review a testimonial, ask yourself if it would be relatable to your customer. Is your customer from a high-tech, highly educated background? Then it’s probable that they would respond to a more articulate and communicatory testimonial. Or is your client a lover of all things Paula Dean? Y’all might find them to be more appreciative of a casually styled testimonial with a generous helping of southern hospitality.
Make It Measurable
“You never understand me, and you never take out the trash!” a husband says to his wife. “I do to!” says the wife.
Now imagine if the husband said, “You only understand me 21% of the time, and you only take out the trash 16% of the time.” (A microphone drops to the ground … crickets are heard in the distance.)
We naturally want to trust an exact number. It makes us say, “They obviously didn’t just pick it out of a hat.” So, if a testimonial is describing how much a product helped them, try to include a number that doesn’t leave the quantity in ambiguity. For example, a testimonial might mention that it “boosted our profits by 27%” or “lowered our waste by 11%.” Such numbers will not go unnoticed by the reader, and their level of trust will increase.
We are a society that can be convinced with a good visual. Imagine a CEO working on changing the course of a company with only words to share. It just would not be nearly as effective as a polished PowerPoint presentation featuring infographics in support of his many statements.
So, having visuals to accompany a testimonial can’t be underestimated. The testimonial could feature the picture of a relatable customer. Or maybe it’s a picture of work that’s been accomplished (or in the process of being accomplished). Perhaps a video of a client describing their experience with your company in glowing terms might also win a customer over. Or possibly you could showcase a company logo that adds clout to the testimonial and prestige to your product. Anyway you shape it, a visual aid will give the testimonial extra points.
Don’t Hesitate to Name Drop
If you heard that someone you admired for their culinary skills was adamant about exclusively using a particular grocer’s milk, it would (at the very least) give you reason for pause. So, don’t be afraid to mention names of well-known clients and/or companies that appreciate your product. Their testimonials could easily equal the weight of multiple unrecognizable testifiers.
One resource to consider, in this regard, is social media. If a post on Instagram or Twitter declares the importance of your product, you could embed it on your website (as opposed to just a copy and paste). If the user is well-known by the general populous, then it’s all the more reason for your customer to gain confidence in you and your product.
Make It Pretty
Clean, simple design is the way to go when attempting to communicate information these days. You don’t want a person to get so distracted by the design that the testimonial loses its punch.
As noted earlier, the testimonial should look visually relatable as well. For example, imagine you’re promoting a product to Silicon Valley-based clients. A textured background of antiqued paper and the use of ornate fonts will be far less effective on them than it would be on customers from the countryside of Alabama. The tech-based customer would likely respond better to a clean, structured, less-is-more layout.
You may also want to consider making the testimonials user-friendly. Perhaps there is a selection that enables the testimonials to be sorted in various fashions (i.e. alphabetical, chronological, etc.).
Put It Where It Counts
Some websites are satisfied with collecting all their testimonials on one isolated page, and that’s it. But testimonials could be a priceless point of persuasion on a corresponding product page or to accent another secondary page. When customer satisfaction is part of their branding, some companies even feature testimonials front and center on their main webpage in a slideshow display.
The point is to give some serious thought to where your precious testimonials are placed. It could mean the difference between reeling in a customer or releasing them back to the ocean of possibilities.
Once your testimonials look and sound engaging and are placed effectively, you still have at least one more thing to do. Encourage others to read and appreciate what’s been done. Send links to your sales force. Match a testimonial with a current or potential client and send it to them. And most importantly, share it with the person or company that crafted the testimonial in the first place.
All this attention to detail will not go unnoticed. By incorporating the best ways to use a customer testimonial, you will likely find your art of persuasion increasing by 59% or more!
Photo credit: Jarmoluk / pixabay.com