When it comes to website copywriting, there’s almost nothing better than someone else singing your praises.

When they’re presented in the right way, testimonials allow you to say what you want to say about your business or product, but through the much more believable words of someone else – one of your customers.

How to get good testimonials

Asking your clients and customers for a testimonial is often quite easy. A quick email asking them for a testimonial is flattering to most people, and they’ll be happy to oblige. The difficult part is getting them to write or say the ‘right’ things. Instead of just asking for a testimonial generically, I suggest you try this old copywriter trick: ask the right question, get the answer you want.

Ask for exactly what you want.

If you want your customer to say how much your product made their life easier, then ask them that question: how did MySuperProduct make your life easier?

If you’d like them to say how easy it is to use, ask them a question that leads to the right answer: I’d love to hear from you about how easy you find using MySuperProduct.

Try a review instead

I’ve heard many people say they don’t ‘read’ testimonials or that they believe their customers don’t read testimonials. But then, I ask them if they’ve recently read a review, and nearly everyone says ‘yes!’

A great review is practically the same as a testimonial – it’s a customer’s or client’s honest endorsement of your product or service.

If the idea of soliciting a testimonial makes your blood run cold, try asking your customer or client to review your product or service. Even better, get them to do so publicly on your Facebook page, LinkedIn page, blog, or through your on-site rating or review system.

Formats and social

Copywriting for the web is no longer one-person writing gig. There numerous opportunities beyond the classic written testimonial that are incredibly engaging for today’s savvy customers. Video testimonials many of the available social tools act as testimonials. Finding ways to add them or curate them onto your website will help give credibility and act as testimony to the value of your product or service.

Things like adding a ‘Like’ (and soon the Google +1) button to your site or product page make it really easy for your customers to both endorse your product and ‘testify’ to its value. Also showing recent Tweets (from Twitter) about your service or product and showing LinkedIn reviews are other ways to integrate testimonials from social media streams.

Next in the series: home pages Part 6 – body copy

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