How To Breathe Life Into Your Testimonials

How To Breathe Life Into Your Testimonials
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An authentic, naturally delivered testimonial is a great way to bring positive word-of-mouth to your marketing mix, from your website and Facebook page to YouTube and commercials.  A rehearsed, scripted testimonial that says everything the boss wishes someone would say often comes off as phony and can damage your credibility.

Video and audio testimonials have much more impact than written testimonials.  It’s difficult to hear or see inflection or emotion in a written testimonial and I always wonder in the back of my mind who actually wrote it.  Yes, I have a built-in BS meter like most consumers and it doesn’t take much to get the needle jumping.

Keep It Real And Relevant

To get started, we turn on the video camera or microphone, pretend it’s not there and start a casual conversation with the client, talking about their family, career and whatever else comes naturally.  This may or may not be relevant, but it will help them relax.

Then, we ask more targeted questions to elicit responses that will contribute to a strong testimonial. Like effective marketing in general, our questions should focus on the client’s needs, emotions and thought process, building to the point when they get to experience the results of using the product. We might ask the following questions for a testimonial from a home buyer for a real estate office:

Tell me about your experience with ABC Realty from the first time you contacted them.  What was going through your mind throughout the process?  Did you have any concerns before you got started?  If so, how was your agent able to alleviate those concerns?  What did you like most about working with your agent?  How did you feel when you first walked through the doors of the home that you ended up buying?  What is it like living in your new home?

Go Beneath The Surface To Uncover The Most Valuable Gems

We may need to follow up and dig deeper.  For example, if the client says the best part of working with ABC Realty was the great service, which is a vague cliché, we should ask for specific examples.  Maybe they’ll say the agent always returned calls within an hour to answer questions, even at night and on weekends.  That has a lot more impact than “great service.”

Over the course of the conversation, we let the client finish every thought without interruption.  If there are a few seconds of silence, that’s okay.  Silence can be removed with editing.  We let the clients gather their thoughts and continue because they should do the majority of the talking.

Editing allows us to pick and choose what content will create the most powerful testimonial. We may only use about 30 seconds of a 5-10 minute conversation, but when you ask the right questions, it’s not uncommon for the client to say something you never thought of that could be the cornerstone of an entire marketing campaign.

For the most professional presentation and compelling content, let professionals handle the recording, interviewing, analysis and editing.  At the end of the day, you’ll have another powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.

If you’re using testimonials in your marketing, are they presented in a natural, believable way, focusing on the results of using your product and your client’s thoughts and emotions?

Scott McKelvey
Scott helps business owners enhance their brand, build relationships and increase revenue by developing marketing messages that focus on the needs of their clients. Scott writes content for all things marketing, from websites and blogs to web videos and brochures. As Creative Director for New Jersey’s largest radio stations and TargetSpot, the nation’s largest internet radio advertising network, Scott has helped local, regional and national brands maximize ROI by combining powerful messaging with strategic geographic and demographic targeting. Scott's philosophy is simple: Show your target audience how your product can solve a real problem or fill a real need in their lives and you'll build a base of loyal customers. Visit Scott's site for more about his writing philosophy and experience.
Scott McKelvey
Scott McKelvey