Why you should tart up your testimonials

Isn’t it lovely when you get a testimonial from a client? It gets me every time. I’m so happy I don’t know whether to do a little dance for joy, put the kettle on or break into a giant chocolate bar. Usually I do all three. But, wait, before you rush to put that testimonial on your website, take another look. Is it doing you justice? Is it impressive? Would YOU hire you if you read it?

Helen was brilliant. She really knows her stuff and was a joy to work with. I wouldn’t hesitate to hire her again. Highly recommended.’**

Are you rushing to hire me? Didn’t think so! And I don’t blame you.

Perhaps you saw the words ‘brilliant’ and ‘joy’ and felt hopeful that I might be what you’re looking for. But then you re-read the testimonial and thought ‘Eh? Hang on a minute… what does that actually mean? Jeez – what a load of old tosh.’

If you’re in the tosh trap, here’s how to get out of it…

Axe the adjectives

Helen is a brilliant copywriter and she writes amazing blogs.’

Are you put off by such gushing comments? I am! Do they come across as authentic? Does this sound like something you’ve asked your mum to write? OMG – did you write it yourself? Apart from the fact that it sounds suspect, a testimonial like this doesn’t help someone make a decision about hiring you because there’s zero detail.

Let’s try again…

I commissioned Helen to rewrite our web content. The attention to detail, patience and involvement from Helen was fantastic and her knowledge of our business by the end of the process was staggering.’

Here, ‘fantastic’ isn’t just an empty word. It qualifies how impressed the client was with the way I dealt with the project and how much I put into it. If you’ve previously worked with a copywriter who didn’t give you 100%, this is the sort of testimonial that might just catch your eye.

Remember your key words

Testimonials on a website are a great opportunity to pop a few more keywords in for SEO.

I’ve used Helen for three years now.’

I’ve used Helen for copywriting for three years now.’

Simple, eh? If your testimonial doesn’t come with a keyword, you can easily sneak one in (honestly, your client won’t mind).

And you can add in keywords to show not just what you do (in my case, copywriting) but the type of things your prospects might be searching for, too.

Helen sorted my Linked In profile.’

 ‘I commissioned Helen to rewrite our web content.’

Helen did the copywriting for my company brochure.’

Be specific

Helen was great to work with.’

Really? Why? Did she turn around your project really quickly to meet a tight deadline? Did she have a clear process? Keep you updated? Send you Hobnobs? Tell me!

Helen takes time to understand exactly what you’re trying to encapsulate and to ensure that she understands everything about your business in order to bring out the best points.’

Now that gives you a bit more to go on, doesn’t it?

Make sure you have a mix of testimonials on your website. If they all cover the same ground, they lose impact and people will stop reading. Pick a range of testimonials that highlight different elements – your customer service, your attention to detail, your ability to follow a brief… all the things that your prospect would want evidence of.

Big up your USP

There are lots of copywriters out there (damn them!) and lots of us are doing the same thing (double damn!). But we’re all doing it in our own unique way. So use your testimonials to flag up your USP.

I love helping businesses to pimp up their personality with content that’s fresh, sassy and surprising – so I’m all over testimonials that get that across. Like these… 

The newsletter is funny and bold – I love it.

Helen breathes life into your words – as well as a bit of humour and fun.’

With Helen, it was like my words on a clear day – put together in a way that was conversational and different from our competitors.

Be brave with your testimonials. I know that words like ‘humour’ and ‘funny’ could scare the bejesus out of some people (although not mediators and IFAs, it would seem) but what the heck? Use your testimonials to help you stand out and target the clients you really want to work with.

Show results

Business folk call it ROI. I call it a bloody good job well done. Either way, the Holy Grail of testimonials is when your client tells the world about the difference you’ve made to their business.

Helen’s web content immediately resulted in three new wedding bookings as well as increased hirings for our venue in general.’

The fact that I’ve had more quote requests via my website in the past few months than the previous seven years is testimonial in itself.’

Your clients won’t necessarily see immediate results so you might have to go back to them a few months down the line to get a testimonial. If they’re too busy to write one, remind them that a glowing testimonial for you is an endorsement of the success of their business too.

Follow this checklist

Testimonials may only be a small part of your web content, but don’t underestimate their impact. Don’t just chuck them on willy-nilly, go through this checklist first:-

  • remove adjectives (unless there’s qualifying content with it)
  • add in keywords – your job title, type of project etc
  • be specific about how you helped
  • highlight any ROI
  • promote your USP
  • check for spelling mistakes, typos and grammar
  • make it short and sweet (your testimonial shouldn’t compete with your main content)
  • watch out for repetition
  • vary every testimonial

And think quality, not quantity. Would your prospects rather read 50 testimonials that said the same old tosh? Or ten smoking hot testimonials that nailed your services every time.

* Want a copywriter to create your web content? Well, hello, I’m here

PHOTO: Siami Tan/Unsplash