How to Give and Get Exceptional Testimonials, Part Two

Did you realize that making it a habit to give testimonials regularly can pay off in some powerful ways?

Giving a testimonial is a service to others, but it serves you, too.

In the previous episode, Pamela Wilson shared the six “magical” questions you can ask to get convincing testimonials.

She concludes the testimonials series by reviewing what makes the act of giving testimonials so remarkable, and why you might want to make this a consistent practice.

In this episode, Pamela talks about:

  • Four surprising ways you’ll benefit from giving testimonials
  • How giving testimonials strengthens your writing chops
  • Why a well-written testimonial also serves as PR for you and your business
  • How to write value-packed testimonials that companies can’t wait to use


The Show Notes


How to Give and Get Exceptional Testimonials, Part Two

Jerod Morris: Hey, Jerod Morris here. If you know anything about Rainmaker Digital and Copyblogger, you may know that we produce incredible live events. Some would say that we produce incredible live events as an excuse to throw great parties, but that’s another story. We’ve got another one coming up this October in Denver. It’s called Digital Commerce Summit, and it is entirely focused on giving you the smartest ways to create and sell digital products and services. You can find out more at Rainmaker.FM/summit. That’s Rainmaker.FM/summit. We’ll be talking about Digital Commerce Summit in more detail as it gets closer, but for now, I’d like to let a few attendees from our past events speak for us.

Attendee 1: For me, it’s just hearing from the experts. This is my first industry event, so it was awesome to learn new stuff and also get confirmation that we’re not doing it completely wrong where I work.

Attendee 2: The best part of the conference, for me, is being able to mingle with people and realize that you have connections with everyone here. It feels like LinkedIn live. I also love the parties after each day, being able to talk to the speakers, talk to other people who are here for the first time, people who have been here before.

Attendee 3: I think the best part of the conference, for me, is understanding how I can service my customers a little more easily and seeing all the different facets and components of various enterprises then helps me pick the best tools.

Jerod Morris: Hey, we agree. One of the biggest reasons we host the conference every year is so that we can learn how to service our customers — people like you — more easily. Here are just a few more words from folks who have come to our past live events.

Attendee 4: It’s really fun. I think it’s a great mix of beginner information and advanced information. I’m really learning a lot and having a lot of fun.

Attendee 5: The conference is great, especially because it’s a single-track conference where you don’t get distracted by, “Which session should I go to? Am I missing something?”

Attendee 6: The training and everything — the speakers have been awesome — but I think the coolest aspect, for me, has been connecting with those people who are putting it on and then other attendees.

Jerod Morris: That’s it for now. There’s a lot more to come on Digital Commerce Summit. I really hope to see you there in October. Again, to get all the details and the very best deal on tickets, head over to Rainmaker.FM/summit. That’s Rainmaker.FM/summit.

Pamela Wilson: Welcome back to Copyblogger FM, the content marketing podcast. Copyblogger FM is about emerging content marketing trends, interesting disasters, enduring best practices, along with the occasional rant. This is Pamela Wilson, and I’m the Executive Vice-President of Educational Content at Rainmaker Digital. I’m sitting in for Sonia Simone this month, and I’m happy to be with you. I manage the Copyblogger blog along with our Editor in Chief, Stephanie Flaxman, and I manage the educational products we offer on My Copyblogger, which include our Authority Advanced Content Marketing Training Program and our Copyblogger Content Marketer Certification Program.

Today’s episode is the second part of a two-part series about testimonials. In the last episode we talked about why testimonials are so important, and we talked about different ways that you can use to get testimonials for your own business. We covered the reason that I believe testimonials are like social proof in action. The main reason is that consumers are bombarded with choices nowadays. We’re all bombarded with choices. And when we know the products that our peers have tried and we know what their experiences have been, it helps us when it comes time to make a buying decision. Testimonials can help to make this happen. They can help to build that trust that makes a prospect who might be a little bit wary go ahead and trust a business and make the buying decision.

They’re important especially for online businesses. If you haven’t listened to that last episode that I did on testimonials, you might want to listen to that one next. I shared what I called “the six magical questions” that you can use to get testimonials that have a story arc that makes them especially compelling. Today, though, we’re going to cover four powerful reasons why giving testimonials is good for you. This is an aspect of testimonials that I have not heard many people talk about. I really believe that it’s important to make it a habit to give testimonials on a regular basis.

Four Surprising Ways You’ll Benefit From Giving Testimonials

Today, what I’m going to be covering is what you will gain by giving a testimonial to another business. This part might surprise you a little bit. There are several pretty compelling reasons to do this. I have to give you a warning. Some of these reasons might be considered a little bit woo woo. I don’t have scientific evidence to prove these reasons, but what I do have is 52 years of life experience. These are things that I have seen play out in my own life time and time again. Let’s say we don’t have scientific evidence, but we have some serious empirical evidence, and that’s what I’m going to be talking about today. All right. With that disclaimer out of the way, I want to start in on the first of these four reasons to give testimonials.

Reason number one is that it compels you to keep your eyes open for an exceptional experience. I think that when you set out to look for positive things in life there’s a much better chance that you’re actually going to find them. If you go through life looking for people who are doing great things or doing things exceptionally well, guess what? You’re going to see them all over. When you do, ask them if they’d like you to write a testimonial for them. I promise you they will never forget you, and you’ll reap a lot of benefits from doing that. I’m going to talk about those in the next three reasons.

How Giving Testimonials Strengthens Your Writing Chops

Reason number two is to make it a habit to give testimonials: writing a testimonial is like an exercise in copyrighting. Chances are, if you write a really good testimonial, the recipient is going to use your testimonial over and over. They’ll put it on their sales page. They’ll put it in their email marketing. You’ll see that testimonial trotted out any place that they need social proof to build trust in their product or their service. And every time they use it, it’s going to have your name next to it. The pressure is on a little bit to write something that’s really great, because it will be used over and over and it’s going to be attributed to you.

The whole thing becomes a writing exercise for you. It’s an opportunity to write something very carefully, to weigh your words, and construct something that’s going to be very meaningful and compelling with the words that you use. If you think about it like that — if you think about writing a testimonial like an exercise in copyrighting — you’re going to discover that writing testimonials on a regular basis is a great way to hone your writing chops. It’s a great way to get good practice. Again, this is another case of you getting a benefit from something that you’re giving.

Why a Well-Written Testimonial Also Serves As PR for You and Your Business

Reason number three to make it a habit to give testimonials — reason number three is giving a testimonial becomes a little bit of public relations for your business. Like I said earlier, great testimonials get reused and recycled all the time. As an example, in the last episode I talked about how we save our testimonials in a Google document. I have this Google document that has testimonials for our Authority Advanced Content Marketing Training Program, and people have been very generous with those testimonials. It’s a really good program, so that’s one of the reasons.

We did get permission to use all of them, but certain testimonials in that document are so well-written that I end up recycling them and reusing them all over the place. I put them on Copyblogger. They go onto our sales pages. I drop them into sales emails. And every time I use those testimonials, that person’s name and their business name gets a little boost of PR. It’s a little boost in recognition that helps that person’s business to stay at the top of people’s minds. This can work for you too. When you write really great testimonials, smart marketers are going to reuse them, and you will benefit from that little boost in name recognition that happens every time someone sees your testimonial.

Reason number four to make it a habit to give testimonials — and I know this is going to be the most woo woo reason of all — reason number four is that it is good karma. I know this sounds crazy, but my 52 years have taught me this, so I want you to benefit from it. The thing is, helping others tends to come back to you. Maybe not directly from the people that you helped, but it will come back from somewhere. I recommend that you incorporate this habit. It’s going to make you feel great because you’ll be helping a fellow businessperson. You’ll be benefiting in several ways. I have a good feeling it’s going to come back to you in a positive way one way or another.

How to Write Value-Packed Testimonials That Companies Can’t Wait to Use

Let’s go over how to write the kind of testimonials that a company is really going to value and they’re going to want to repeat it and recycle it and reuse it all the time. We talked about it a little bit in the last episode, which was all about gathering testimonials. But in this episode I want to apply the same ideas to writing testimonials. What you want to try to avoid here is a testimonial that’s hard to believe or what I would call a “one-note wonder.” What I mean by that is you don’t want a testimonial that’s emotionally flat, that only expresses one emotion, even if that emotion is positive.

The thing is, emotionally flat testimonials just do not sound believable. They sound like this: “I bought product X and now I’m so happy,” or, “I used service Y and I feel so much better,” or, “I experienced product Z and I loved it.” They’re just hard to relate to because the person who’s looking for product X or service Y or product Z — that person is not in that after state. They’re in the before state. They want the transformation, but they haven’t experienced the transformation yet. To help them see themselves in the after state, you need to share the before state.

This is where this concept of a story arc comes into play. We talked about this in the last episode. You want to create some kind of a story arc so your testimonials sound more believable. To do that, we want to go over the questions that we reviewed in the last episode. I will add them to the show notes, but basically, this is what you want to talk about.

First off, your testimonial needs to talk about the obstacle that might have prevented you from buying. This is important because it’s the entry point. It’s where you’re saying, “I was just like you before I tried this product or service.” Then you want to move on to the results that you experienced. “This is my status before and this is my status afterward.” You want to highlight specific features and benefits. And you also want to very explicitly say whether or not you recommend the product or service.

If you’re writing a testimonial, we can safely assume that you’re recommending the product or service, but it is important to end your testimonial with a clear endorsement. It can be just one sentence. All you have to say is, “I highly recommend this product,” or “Anyone who wants to accomplish this thing should get this product.” Just one sentence so that if there’s any doubt in someone’s mind who’s reading the testimonial, you are basically taking all the doubts away and saying, “I recommend this.”

All right. That is it for our two-part testimonial series. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you got a lot out of it. I want to thank you for listening to this episode. Sonia Simone is going to be back with you next week. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to host this podcast for a few weeks. You can always find me on Twitter where I am @PamelaIWilson. Of course, you can find me on Copyblogger about once a week. Look for my posts on the blog. Check out the show notes for this episode on Copyblogger FM for more information and for links to additional resources all about testimonials.

Since these last two episodes have talked about testimonials, how about leaving your testimonial for this podcast? It’s an opportunity to practice your writing and to practice giving testimonials. You can do that by leaving a review on @iTunes. Just let us know what you think about Copyblogger FM and we’ll look forward to seeing that. Thank you always for your time and attention. Now go forth and be excellent.