Word-of-mouth advertising is arguably the most desirable type of advertising for any business. Testimonials are essentially word-of-mouth advertising – the only difference is they are written down. A good testimonial is like a precious keepsake you proudly display on your wall – your college diploma, a photo of you shaking hands with the President or Dalai Lama, you get the picture... And the main goal of this picture is to build trust.


Testimonials, when used correctly, are crucial in not only emphasizing specific key points that a business wants others to know, but also in providing potential customers and clients a sense of security in that business, as well as its products and services. Testimonials allow the unique, unbounded chance to focus in on a business' individuality, assert their particular mission statement, and even overcome objections. However, to boost credibility and increase sales, testimonials must be believable and verifiable.

In essence, these are the 4 types of a great testimonial: Specific, Short, Sizzling and Signed. Furthermore, the most effective testimonials also possess some of the following characteristics:

  • focus,
  • emotion,
  • emphasis,
  • objectivity,
  • authenticity,
  • personality,
  • measurable benefits
  • and succinctness.

If you can convince a customer/client to supply you with a testimonial of their own, then great! You're a step ahead! But, how soon does the effort necessary to create a testimonial become a burden for your endorser? And, will the testimonial be extraordinary without at least some creative input on your part, or the part of a professional writer?

The answer: it is completely ethical to assist your willing endorsers in verbalizing their own thoughts and feelings. Generally, these helping hands are not writers themselves, and even though they'd like to give you an effectual quote, they're most likely very busy people – after all, we all are, right?

Well, here are a few tips to make securing a testimonial a little easier:

  1. Ask: There is no harm in asking. Be prepared to supply a few generative ideas to help get the ball rolling. Most people will be thrilled at the chance to simultaneously help you and save themselves time and effort. If the client can delegate the work to you, and then simply review the testimonial and sign off on it, it's a win-win situation for both parties.
  2. Interview: Call, email or video (if you're so lucky!) your client and tell them you're working on a project for your business and you need some feedback. Give them some hints as to what kind of comments you are looking for – trustworthy, dependable, affordable, innovative, thoughtful and blah, blah! Ask them to describe their experience working with you, their thoughts on your business ethics and practices, and their specific message to the world regarding you as a professional. If by phone, take notes and ask if you may quote them on whatever comments they've made that you feel fit in with what good things you're trying to promote about yourself. Then – and this is very important – ask if you can send over an email with the final quotes attached for them to approve and sign off on.
  3. Verify: After you have the testimonial recorded and approved, consider having a third party verification service add some unbiased credibility to your claims – Testimonial Shield, Authenticated Testimonials and Verified Credible are a few options.
  4. Use: Now that you have a few great testimonials, use them! Regular updates are also important to ensure your client testimonials are supporting your current marketing campaign and brand message. Depending on your method of use, you may simply add more to the list or replace old with new.

To conclude, the 2 most common types of testimonials are text and video. While both formats are effective, more power to you if you can get an endorsement on video. Video testimonials are especially great for websites because they are engaging, entertaining and easy for visitors and potential clients/customers to understand. Attaching a face to a testimonial will aid in establishing trust and integrity, as well as displaying a knack for technical flair.

P.S. The LinkedIn recommendations feature is another valuable tool in establishing credibility, so use it to your advantage and secure as many of these virtual recommendations as you can.

Have a Pawsitively Tail Waggin' Good Day!

P.P.S. This information was provided by Ruff Haus Design - Your Loyal Marketing Companion. Established in 1997, we are a special breed of full service graphic design company that works with a premier pack of clients. We bring a fresh outlook and tail-wagging enthusiasm to your marketing program. Learn more about how we can help improve your brand management and support your marketing needs at www.ruffhaus.com.