What is a good testimonial?

A good testimonial is very powerful, but so many so-called testimonials are more like therapy than feedback! You know the kind of thing – ‘It was lovely working with you, you were so helpful and we really enjoyed the experience.’ This kind of feedback is great to have personally, but it doesn’t help you to promote what you do.

The biggest challenge for most business owners is that, whilst people are usually happy to agree to write a testimonial, they don’t really know what to write. They want to tell you that it was a good experience for them, but forget to add that golden nugget that really makes others sit up and take notice – the results they got.

Some people will say ‘Yes, of course, you write something and I’ll sign it’. This is a really last resort for two reasons. Firstly, all your testimonials will end up with a similar style – yours! Secondly, most of us suffer from an overdose of modesty and write a less enthusiastic testimonial than our happy client would probably do left to themselves.

So what are we trying to achieve? A good testimonial identifies the product or service that was received and the outcomes that were delivered as result.

The challenges include people who haven’t measured the outcomes or use words like ‘better’, ‘more’, ‘increased’, or ‘improved’. When I’m in a grumpy mood I might ask ‘Better than what?’ If you don’t have a starting point then it’s difficult to track progress.

My favourite testimonials are the one that says ‘… the length of time people stay on the site has gone up (50% for one site, 130% for another)’; and the one that says ‘The new flyer pulled four times as many responses’, and ‘Our leads usually drop by about 50% at this time of year, but as a result of your letter they haven’t dropped at all’.

What you’re looking for is that gold nugget that will have other people saying ‘I want that!’

If your client doesn’t want to write it him or herself – ask them the question ‘What were the results you got from the service/product we provided?’ and write down the answer for them to approve.
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Using testimonials effectively

When you get good feedback be careful how you use it. A whole page of testimonials doesn’t really work – most people stop reading after the first couple. Ideally you should spread them about, one on each page of your website or one in each section of your brochure.

Make sure you don’t just publish the whole testimonial regardless of what the content says – what you need is the ‘nugget’ the most powerful bit that will persuade people to try your services.

So not:

    Thank you for all the work you did on our project, it was a real pleasure working with your team and they were very helpful, polite and courteous at all times, we almost felt as though they were full time employees! We will definitely recommend your services to other people and we were thrilled to find that, as a result of all your efforts, our production has increased in efficiency by 17% – which has made a big difference to our output and, of course, to our profit line too. Please feel free to share this testimonial.

Firstly, this is much too long and people will lose interest before they get to the critical bit. If you use this you will need to edit it so that it says:

    As a result of the work your team has done on our project, our production has increased in efficiency by 17% – which has made a big difference to our output and, of course, to our profit line too.

If your testimonials don’t have that ‘what changed as a result’ bit included, go back to the writer, thank them, and ask them if they got any measurable results and ask permission to quote those too.
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Sign up and get your free reports, tips and information that will help you get your message across in writing.

You can also find us at Lesleywriter or call us on +44 (0) 1245 473296

Have you optimised your website for lazy users?

Usability is about how easy your site is for people to get around, find what they want, get from a to b with the least effort.

Typical web users are lazy – and impatient! That means you and me too. I’m not trying to be insulting, but think about it:

When you’re waiting for a website to download, how many seconds is it before you start tapping your fingers in impatience and sighing a lot? What’s your opinion of that website’s usability?

When you’re faced with a website that you don’t get to work the first time you try something, how much effort are you prepared to put in to work out how the website owner wants you to behave? Do you think they’ve considered usability?

No, I didn’t think so!

So, what about your own website – how does it measure up for usability?

How much effort do people have to put into understand what the website will deliver?

How fast do they get your message?

Is the headline right where they’re looking?

Is the menu where they expect it to be?

Is the column width comfortable for reading?

Are the paragraphs short and easy to read?

Does it deliver the message that they want (not the one you think they should have)?

When you ask them to take action, how easy do you make it for them to do so? E.g. is the phone number right next to the ‘call us’ instruction? Is the explore our services now a link or do they have to scroll back up to the menu?

Usability affects every aspect of a website from the look, to the position, to the message and information on offer. Check yours out; poor usability sends your visitors running for an easier to use website – and they don’t come back!
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You can also find us at Lesleywriter or call us on +44 (0) 1245 473296

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