How to Help Your Clients Write Great Testimonials, Part 1

Humans are herd animals. We care what other people think—and we care even more about what other people do (as many studies of conformity have shown). 

As marketing psychologist Robert Cialdini explains in his groundbreaking book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, “We will use the actions of others to decide on proper behavior for ourselves, especially when we view those others as similar to ourselves.” 

That’s why “social proof” is such an important persuasion technique when it comes to marketing. Social proof explains the concept behind Amazon’s star ratings. It’s why Facebook shows you what your friends just “liked.” And, yes, social proof is why testimonials (happy clients recommending you) are more effective than advertising (you recommending yourself).

This leads to the first element in the Hanover TRUST Formula for soliciting great testimonials: targeting. The best, most persuasive customer recommendations are:

  • Targeted
  • Relatable
  • Understandable
  • Specific
  • True

T is for Targeted

Make sure the customers you approach for testimonials are similar to the kind of clients you want to attract. 

Yes, you may have customers from all walks of life. But if your ideal target audience is married, thirty-something stay-at-home mothers of 3-year-olds, it may be counterproductive to solicit testimonials from childless, single male CEOs in their fifties.

Target your ideal clients when asking for testimonials.

Target your ideal clients when asking for testimonials.

That’s why it’s important to share as many demographic details as you can about the person giving the testimonial, in addition to their full name. The more details you share, the more opportunities the reader has to identify with the person testifying on your behalf. Here are some types of information that may be relevant and persuasive to your reader:

  • Occupation or Job Title
  • Employer
  • Location
  • Age
  • Marital Status

But that’s just the beginning. The details you share may also depend on your target audience. For example, if you’re marketing your tattoo parlor, it’s helpful for your satisfied customer to show off his ink in a photo next to the testimonial. If you’re promoting a health club, you may want your happy client to share how much weight she lost, or how many dress sizes she has slimmed down. If you’re soliciting testimonials for an import car repair shop, it may make sense for your customer to state what make and model you worked on. 

Coming in Part 2: how to solicit testimonials your ideal prospects can relate to.

 

 

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