Everybody knows that word of mouth advertising is the best kind of advertising. Getting someone else to talk about how great your company or organization is, generates a whole lot more credibility than if you’re out there blowing your own horn.
People respond much better to other people who are in their shoes than they to do a company that’s trying to sell them something. That’s one reason that testimonials are so effective in marketing—and why so many direct mailings use them.
But how do you get great testimonials for your direct mailing (or your online efforts)? If you’ve ever asked some of your happily satisfied customers for a testimonial of an endorsement, you know that it doesn’t always work out exactly as you hope it will. Not everyone is great at communicating what’s great or unique about your company. And sometimes, that communication difficulty ends up giving you an endorsement or testimonial that sounds less than enthusiastic—or just not very compelling.
What can you do about that? There’s a trick that some savvy businesses have long employed—but there’s really nothing “tricky” about it. It’s simply helping your customers say what they want to say, but may not be able to articulate themselves.
Interview your satisfied customer and then write the testimonial yourself. Talk to your customer and find out—in his or her own words—what made them happy about doing business with you. Don’t make things up. Simply ask questions about things that you know potential customers would want to know. Then ask your customer’s permission to capture their thoughts and use them as a testimonial. It’s even a good idea to tell customers why you’re taking this approach: You want to communicate to others—like them—what their experience was like.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind if you want to take this approach. Above all, be honest. It’s OK to change a few words for the sake of clarity, but don’t embellish to make your point, and don’t say things the customer didn’t say. As much as possible, make your testimony sound like your customer—not like a sales pitch from you. Always ask permission, and if your customer isn’t comfortable having you do this, let it go.
Satisfied customers are one of your most powerful ways if getting your message across. If your customers are willing to work with you to make sure their satisfaction is clearly communicated it’s a big win for you.