Most people want some reassurance that the product or service they are about to spend money on is actually worth it. It is not hard to figure out why this is the case. Testimonials provide a strong incentive to convert web site visitors into customers.
There is also a psychological factor involved called “conformity to group norms“. This basically means that people don’t want to be left out of the group. When they see something that other people are involved in, the tendency is to want to join them to benefit from it also.
The question becomes, “Are there more effective ways than others to get testimonials?” The answer is yes.
The Chicken or The Egg
Which comes first: the testimonials or the website sales letter? The answer may surprise you. Most people would immediately say that they need to have their product available online before they can start asking for testimonials. This is not necessarily the case.
Getting Testimonials Before You Launch
You want to get your website off to a running start right? Then focus on getting testimonials before you launch. Its pretty easy to do.
The best way to do it quickly is to find willing volunteers to evaluate your product or service. Let say for a moment that your website will be selling a digital product such as an eBook. The odds are pretty good that you have already found a wealth of informative spots on the internet related to your product. There is a forum or discussion board that relates to just about anything imaginable online. Visit the forums and focus on contacting those people that frequently post there. You can approach them with an offer of them getting a free copy of your product in return for some feedback. I suggest the frequent posters because you are more likely to actually get a response from them once they get your product. They have already proven that they want to help out because they do so in the forum. If you leave it open to everyone in the forum, you are likely to get more freebie seekers who may never get back to you.
Once you have contacted the people, tell them that if they do enjoy the product, then a testimonial would be great. If they wished to give constructive feedback, that would be appreciated too. It is also important not to stress the fact that you are expecting a testimonial from them. This takes some pressure off of them, so that they’re not being forced to write something that isn’t genuine. It can also make a fantastic feedback tool for you because you can work on any issues that they may point out. Your testimonials will tend to be better because of them. About the only thing worse than having no testimonials is having ones that are not genuine or even worse, made up.
Your Network Of Associates
Another great source of potential testimonials is your network of friends or associates online. These are people that you may have had email exchanges with in the past. You need to assess each person on a case-by-case basis to figure out how appropriate it is to ask them. If you know someone is in the middle of a huge project or who probably has no interest in your product, then you don’t want to bother them. Most people would probably be willing to help as long as you didn’t ask in very short notice.
Going After Big Name Testimonials
A big name on a testimonial can certainly help increase the power of the testimonial, usually. I’m not sure about you, but I see some of the same names on dozens of websites pretty much giving the same testimonials. This isn’t real convincing! As a matter of fact, some of the testimonials are pretty obvious that they did not even review the product thoroughly. Instead they offer a generic plug. Why would someone bother even posting that?
On the other hand, it may be well your time to get a testimonial from a “big name” that is well respected in your subject matter. You can contact them via email with a direct link to the product for them to review. Don’t get all offended if they are unable to help out as they probably get approached quite a bit for it.
What Makes A Good Testimonial?
You finally hear back from someone with a testimonial. You read it and discover it’s pretty weak. Maybe something like “Its great! Buy it!! – Henry”
A testimonial like that kind of stinks! Don’t just leave it up to them to figure out what would make a good testimonial. Most people probably don’t give a lot of thought into what it is you are actually trying to accomplish with the testimonial. It’s not their fault!
The best way to get a good testimonial is to give some suggestions ahead of time. You could mention a few things that they might want to comment about such as:
- Were there any specific ways it might have helped you?
- Do you think it can help you make or save money (or time)? If so, how?
- Anything that surprised you about the quality of the product?
- Is it okay to use your name and web address (if available)?
These questions are encouraging them to think about the benefits of your product and why people should get it. This can help make the testimonials more interesting and relevant for visitors coming to your site. You are much more likely to be happy with the results.