Writing for the Web, Part IV
Subject Line: The Write Market Release – Issue #6
CONTENTS IN THIS ISSUE:
1. Editor’s Remarks
2. Writing For The Web Part IV
a) Using Testimonials to Build Trust
b) How To Get Free Testimonials And Use
Them To Increase Your Sales – by Bob Leduc
c) Using a Guarantee to Build Trust
3. What’s New at The Write Market
4. Free Monthly Drawing sign up today!
5. A little begging
Welcome all new subscribers!
It’s October – the leaves are starting to turn up here in the North East. People are scurrying about getting their houses decked out for Halloween and buying or making their kids costumes.
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We are continuing our tutorial on Writing For The Web – if you are new to this newsletter, please visit our site at: for previous articles in this tutorial.
This month we have three articles on building trust. Our guest article is by Bob Leduc and he includes some great tips on how to get good testimonials.
Last month, in my haste to get the newsletter out on time, a few mistakes were made.
1. I referred to “right brain (logic) v. left brain (emotion)” however it should have read “right brain (emotion) v. left brain (logic)”. Thanks to Brad Smith for clearing that up –
2. Also because we didn’t put any of the URL’s in brackets – some mail readers caused the following URL to break incorrectly: This was our guest article – so if you never got to it – be sure to go back and read it. (You may need to cut and paste the URL).
USING TESTIMONIALS TO BUILD TRUST
Testimonials are endorsements for your products or services. For a web site, they can increase the trust that people will have about your company and possibly provide the confidence necessary to buy your products.
1. Testimonials from satisfied customers are always the best. You can also pay for celebrity endorsements, however, unless that celebrity is somehow an expert on your product – it is not recommended that you pay money for this.
2. Always use real testimonials; fabricated endorsments do not have the same ring of truth that a genuine endorsement will.
3. Long testimonials – 2-3 sentences in length will inspire readers. When you use a shorter testimonial, it can look as though it’s been edited for content. For instance, “…excellent product…” or “…your services are great…” doesn’t say much. “Your product has provided me with more time to do the more important things – like talk with my customers. I now rely on webposition analyzer to figure out my ranks. I spend one hour a week doing this v. the five hours I was spending before.”
4. In the same vein, specific testimonials are going to be a better endorsement than more general ones.
5. Attribute the testimonial to a person. Include their full name, city, state, job title, company, url, and email address. There is evidence to prove that including a photo will triple believability.
6. It is recommended that you group your testimonials on one page. However, as you start gathering many of them, you can start spreading them throughout your website. Even if you decide to spread them out, be sure to keep one page of testimonials (about 6); after a person reads several testimonials in a row – it increases their trust in the product.
7. Get permission to use the testimonial. Ask for permission to use it for all types of add copy: brochures, letters, website… You want to be able to use it now and in the future.
8. Organize your effort to collect testimonials. Read all your mail carefully, pull whatever you can from your mail. If you aren’t getting testimonials through email, then be sure to ask for them. When you do this – ask for their opinion, this would be more like a critique. You want criticism and positive feedback. This will also help you to know where you can improve your services and products.
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HOW TO GET FREE TESTIMONIALS AND
USE THEM TO INCREASE YOUR SALES
Copyright 1999 Bob Leduc
One of the most valuable marketing tools for a business is the testimonials it receives from satisfied customers. Yet, many businesses never use these testimonials in their sales efforts.
Testimonials are valuable proof to prospective customers that your product or service actually delivers the benefit you claim it will. In some ways, testimonials are like referrals. A customer coming to you by referral from one of their friends or acquaintances is already pre-committed to do business with you. You don’t have to convince them that your product or service will provide the benefit they seek. Your ability to deliver is already “guaranteed” by the person giving the referral.
Testimonials from satisfied customers provide that same assurance to a potential customer coming to you without a referral. In every test I performed using the same messages with and without testimonials, those with testimonials increased sales, often by as much as 65% or more.
HOW TO GET GOOD TESTIMONIALS
Satisfied customers will occasionally call or write to you expressing their appreciation without any prompting from you. If you’ve been in business for some time you probably already have a file of these. However, if you’re new in business you may have few or none of these “spontaneous testimonials”. How can you get some… and get them fast?
Here’s a simple procedure any business can use effectively. A short time after completing a transaction, send your customer or client a personal postcard asking what they liked best about your product or service. You’ll be amazed at some of the glowing comments you’ll get. When you receive comments you want to use in your advertising, simply ask the customer to sign a release giving you permission to quote those comments in your promotional material.
The release form I use includes the full text of the customer’s comments. I request permission to use the comments “in complete or edited form” so I can shorten the text when it’s too long. I also request permission to use the customer’s name, city and state so it appears as “Ann Smith, Austin, TX” instead of “A.S., TX”. The customer’s privacy is protected by omitting the street address.
HOW TO USE TESTIMONIALS EFFECTIVELY
My online and print sales letters usually include 3 testimonials. Each one is only 2 or 3 lines plus the customer’s name, city and state.
Be sure to select testimonials stating a specific benefit gained by using your product or service. A testimonial saying, “I bought your widget and am very happy with it” won’t motivate anybody else to buy your widget. Instead, use testimonials like this actual testimonial I received from one of my customers: “Hi Bob. I purchased your manual and used one of the ideas to do a mailing which received about a 10% response rate.” That’s a powerful testimonial and I use it regularly in my promotional material. It states specifically what the customer gained by ordering my manual.
What do testimonials cost? Nothing! They’re FREE! I’ve learned by experience that some customers get offended if I offer to pay for the right to quote their comments. Therefore, I don’t offer any compensation. I simply send the release form with a pre-stamped return envelope and ask them to sign and return the form. I don’t remember the last time somebody refused my request.
If you’re not using testimonials in your promotional material, start using them today. Begin by looking in your customer files for comments you can use. Send postcards to some recent customers asking what they liked most about your product or service. Get permission to quote their comments and include them in your sales material. You’ll soon discover FREE testimonials have the amazing power to increase your sales and profits without increasing your costs.
Bob Leduc retired from a 30 year career of recruiting sales personnel and developing sales leads. He is now a Sales Consultant. Bob recently wrote a manual for small business owners titled “How to Build Your Small Business Fast With Simple Postcards” and several other publications to help small businesses grow and prosper. For more information…
Email: BobLeduc@aol.com Subject: “Postcards”.
Phone: (702) 658-1707 (After 10 AM Pacific time)
Or write: Bob Leduc, PO Box 33628, Las Vegas, NV 89133
USING A GUARANTEE TO BUILD TRUST
A guarantee or a warranty is going to prove to your customers that you stand behind your products or services. It is going to tell your customers that you believe in your products – and that if something should go wrong – you will help them out. You will give their money back – or provide them with money toward other products.
I love to shop at J.C. Penney’s – my biggest love of that store is their guarantee that I can get my money back if it doesn’t fit. I shop there for gifts for other people – if it doesn’t fit – I know they can return it with no hassles. They don’t even need a receipt. Now that’s a guarantee!
Sometimes, their products are even more expensive than other department stores – but I don’t care – I’m willing to spend the extra money – because of their return policy.
In fact, their return policy is so good – that you can wear a pair of jeans for 3 months, if they start to fray on the ends, you can return the jeans. If you are in any way dissatisfied with their product – they will refund your money.
Why take the risk?
If you have a good product, 99% of your customers will not return it. But when that 1% comes to you and asks for a refund – you’d better give it to them. You need to stand behind your guarantee. Take that customer – the dissatisfied one – give him his money back – and give him a little extra. Turn it around – make that dissatisfied customer into a satisfied customer. Instead of him telling his friends and associates, “I didn’t like their product – so I got my money back.” He’ll be saying, “You know – not only did they give me my money back – they gave me a gift certificate for a free month of internet access.”
Why take the risk? Because most people will not return the product. And if people are returning your product – you’d better take a good look at it, you’d better find out why they are returning it and make it better.
Also, people will less likely return the product if you are honest about the product’s benefits and features. Don’t lie, don’t make things up – tell it like it is. Tell them what they are really getting. If they know what they’re getting – they are not going to return it.
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WHAT’S NEW AT THE WRITE MARKET
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