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How to Make the Most of Customer Testimonials

Feb 11, 2008
Displaying customer testimonials on your website or in your print collateral can be a great tool for building confidence among prospective buyers resulting in an increase in sales. Customer testimonials have been used for hundreds of years and are still a primary motivator for moving individuals further along the purchase decision process.

Although customer testimonials have remained commonplace, their format and medium have changed. Today, with the advent of social networks and emerging technologies, testimonials take the form of blog entries, forum posts, quotes, audio testimonials, videos, and more.

When providing testimonials for your product or service, there are a number of fundamental practices you should consider. Presenting your testimonials in the correct manner can optimize your results. Follow these helpful tips when applying testimonials on your website or in your communications.

1. The medium is the message. Depending on your target audience, the medium you choose to display your testimonials can make or break their effectiveness. For example, if you're trying to reach today's generation, video may be the most popular technique. With the advent of YouTube and sites that allow users to upload video, the medium has taken on a life of its own.

If you're promoting your products to teenagers or those in their early twenties, consider testimonials from peers in video format. Hearing key messages from someone in their own cohort using the correct medium, is much more powerful than a generic message from a so called expert.

2. Provide detailed information of the individual leaving the testimonial. Not only do individuals like to hear from others, but they want to know that the testimonial is from a real person who's just like them. When posting or providing a testimonial, make sure to include the individuals name and some demographic information. This adds to the legitimacy of the testimonial and helps people resonate with their comments.

3. Categorize your testimonials. Having a long list of testimonials that don't appear to have any particular order is difficult for browsers to navigate. When you are providing your listing, regardless of the format you're using, make it easy for browsers to select the testimonial that would be most relevant to their needs.

Successful websites categorize their testimonials. For example, they can be categorized by type such as 'customer service', 'price', or 'quality'. Other classification schemes may include user types such as 'student', 'entry-level', or 'professional'. When categorizing your testimonials, consider how your audience is segmented and choose a logical format.

4. Vary your testimonial formats. Experiment with different types of testimonial formats. In addition to basic web posts, you should try adding audio or video and measure the views. By offering multiple formats you are appealing to different styles and therefore maximizing exposure.

5. Update your testimonials on a regular basis. Don't let your testimonials get stale. Whether you provide a date that the testimonial was submitted, or not, you should strive to add testimonials on a regular basis. Individuals who come back to your website or revisit your promotional materials can benefit from finding new content.

Testimonials are a powerful tool for promoting your products or services. When considering testimonials for your website or marketing materials, be sure to think about your audience and provide a compelling display of customer feedback. Consumers want to hear from others like them. Learn to leverage testimonials and watch your sales start to climb.
About the Author
Michael Fleischner is an Internet marketing expert with more than 12 years of marketing experience. He has appeared on major media including the TODAY Show, Bloomberg Radio, and more. Visit the Marketing Blog for more marketing tips and learn how to improve search engine rankings.
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