Just How Effective Are Video and Written Testimonials?

by Michelle Salater on November 25, 2011


Most of us understand the power testimonials can have, even if we don’t realize it. Think in terms of restaurant or theater reviews: one bad write-up can be the death of an eatery or a fledgling performance. On the other hand, a rave review can spur lines around the corner and sold-out shows.

You can apply that same power to your marketing copy by including testimonials from your clients. Here’s a look at how and why testimonials can work for you.

Testimonials Build Credibility in Marketing Copy

Establishing an authentic voice and demonstrating expertise in your subject matter goes a long way toward building your credibility, but testimonials add the kick of having a neutral third party confirm your claims.

To harness the power of an outsider singing your praises, simply ask your clients if they’d be willing to write or record a testimonial for your marketing materials. Be clear about how you plan to use the testimonial, and be specific about what you’re asking for . . .

  • Identify the format. If you’d like to use a video or audio testimonial, make sure your client is comfortable with those media. The same goes if you’d like a headshot to go with a written testimonial.
  • Identify the length. Make sure your clients don’t feel as if they have to write a book about you. Setting a word or time limit makes the request for testimonials seem less daunting.
  • Ask for specifics. Concrete, specific details work best in testimonials. Numbers, statistics, percentages, and specific anecdotes are all excellent fodder.

Testimonials Say What You Cannot

In addition to lending the power of outsider support to your marketing claims, testimonials can help clients overcome any potential hesitations they may have about hiring you. For example, a client who is worried whether the financial commitment is worthwhile may be reassured by a testimonial from someone who experienced similar misgivings—but overcame them.

Testimonials can also address client-specific before and after scenarios that usually don’t fit neatly into other types of marketing copy. Again, learning the details of another customer’s experience with you might help potential customers qualify themselves as well suited to your services.

Testimonials Let Someone Else “Talk”

When using testimonials in your marketing materials, remember that you’re giving your clients a chance to speak on your behalf. Resist the urge to edit their testimonials too much—those that have language quirks, minor grammatical errors, or colloquial expressions appear authentic rather than sloppy.

After all, if all your testimonials sound like they came from the same pen (or keyboard), they might actually undermine your credibility by appearing fake.

Click here to see an appropriate format for showcasing testimonials.

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