How to Use Testimonials in Your Marketing

BY Jeff Cobb


If you are a Tagoras client or have read much of my writing, you know that I’m a big advocate of testimonials. I was thrilled, therefore, to come across this video from Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner.

As it happens, I interviewed Mike about virtual conferences for Leading the Learning Revolution. He and his team are masters at creating both virtual and traditional events, and they are also masters at marketing them. Effective testimonials are a key part of that marketing, and in this brief video, Mike lays out a three-step process for getting and using testimonials. I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch it (6:08 minutes to be exact).

3 Steps for Getting and Using Testimonials

I’ve gone ahead and noted the three steps here, but it’s really Mike’s take on each of them that is valuable, so definitely don’t take this post as a substitute for the video. Also, I’ve thrown in a few tips below based on my experience with videos.

1. Ask

Sounds simple, but organizations often seem to find this step hard to do and simply don’t do enough of it. Mike goes through some specific questions and a process that is simple, but very effective. He also emphasizes capturing video testimonials whenever possible. Consider your live events, in particular, to be fertile ground for collecting testimonials.

Tagoras Tip: Don’t leave testimonials to chance. Make it someone’s specific duty to ask for testimonials, whether that means making sure survey questions are sent out or videos are shot at events.

Also, to the extent you rely on text testimonials, do not use anonymous testimonials (e.g., “Satisfied Member”) Prospects just don’t identify as closely with these testimonials. It’s not just a matter of trust – though certainly that is a factor – it’s a matter of emotional connection. Along these lines, if you use text testimonials, try to include a picture with them whenever possible. We do this on our catalog page for the LMS report, for example, as well as on out general Tagoras testimonials page. Whenever we ask for testimonials, we also ask for permission to use a picture.

2. Find the good ones

You will inevitably get some testimonials that fall flat. You’ll need to mine your surveys and videos to find the really good stuff.

Tagoras Tip: What counts as good? Focus on testimonials that have some emotion to them, that suggest real, human enthusiasm. (Yes, I’m big on emotion in testimonials.) And try to find testimonials that speak to outcomes, to how the experience has moved or possibly could move the dial for participants. For example, Mari Smith’s comment about “millions dollars of deals” in the video clip Mike shows is golden. What’s the equivalent in your world?

Also, once again, make sure that finding the good testimonials is the specific, assigned responsibility of an individual or small group at your organization.

3. Pull it all together

String together all of the great testimonials you have gotten. With video, in particular, some relatively simple editing can result in a great roll of multiple testimonials. Mike shows an example of this in the video. It’s powerful “social proof.”

Tagoras Tip: Tip: No matter what types of testimonials you use, amassing a lot of them in one place can have a powerful effect. A classic sales tool, for example, is to accumulate letters from satisfied customers into a notebook that can be carried along to sales meeting. Often a notebook like this can seal the deal.

I don’t see organizations make enough use of testimonials in marketing their products, and when they do, the testimonials are often sparse and scattershot. You should, of course, place specific testimonials alongside appropriate products, but I also recommend creating a dedicated testimonials page. I’ve already referenced the Tagoras testimonials page. We do this also for a Spanish immersion preschool where I serve on the board.

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I hope you find the above useful in your own efforts to get and use testimonials. Again, be sure to actually watch Mike’s video. I encourage you, also, to subscribe to his whole marketing video series – it is excellent.

Jeff

P.S. – See also:

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