Testimonials & case studies: essential direct response toolkit

| November 11, 2009

Breathe life into your marketing with customer feedback

You can tell your target market how great you are ’til you’re blue in the face.  But if you want them to make that essential leap of faith, taking you up on your offer, you need strong medicine: introducing customer testimonials and case studies.

If your customers love you, boast about it

Why are testimonials and case studies so powerful?

  • they’re the independent views of people who have tried your service or product and liked it, proof that you do what you say
  • they show that real people trust you, which is especially important for online businesses with no ‘real world’ presence
  • they humanise your offer and brand, again especially helpful if you’re an online business
  • they help position your organisation as an authority in it’s field
  • we love to read about others’ experiences, so customer feedback is seldom ignored. If people read nothing else, they’ll read your case studies and testimonials
  • visually they help break up your text into bite-sized pieces…
  • … and they highlight / condense your sales propositions for impatient, time-poor readers

Short can be just as sweet

A testimonial doesn’t need to be long – three or four sentences is great. But they do need to tell a story:

“I was having a dreadful day! The final straw was finding out that our hamster supplier had let us down on a huge order we’d made for the International Hamsterfest. But Hamstapacking Direct sorted us out, delivering a million top quality uber-furry hamsters to our doorstep the next day, no fuss. My heroes!”.

And snappy one-liners grab readers’ attention:

“Hairy Dave at Billybob Teeth & Co. is the most helpful comedy teeth supplier I’ve ever met!”. Or, “Not only did Aural Angels deliver bang on time, they even fitted my new earpiece for free!”

4 tips for creating brilliant testimonials

Sadly it is often difficult to get customers to write you a testimonial. Even if they do, it’s often awful. Here’s a copywriter’s tip or four:

  1. get a good copywriter to write the testimonial for you then ask your customer to approve it. They’re usually more than happy to – it saves them a job
  2. if your customer writes you a testimonial but it’s badly written, get a copywriter to edit it and ask your customer to approve the edited version. Customers are usually grateful because very few non-writers are confident in their copywriting skills
  3. an alternative… if you get a verbal testimonial ask ‘Can I quote you on that’ and write it down. Then use it
    verbatim for a heightened ring of truth
  4. for extra oomph, attribute testimonials and boost their credibility

Detailed Case Studies are great material for information pages, encouraging website visitors to stick around and read. A one-paragraph case study will bring a web page to life, lend authority to a direct marketing campaign or vitality to a press release.

As with testimonials, it’s almost always a good idea to get a good copywriter write up each case study for you. Then ask your customer to approve it: as long as you don’t exaggerate or fib they’ll probably jump at the chance.

It’s crowded out there. The media noise is deafening and competition for attention is fierce. Adding case studies and testimonials to your marketing toolkit can help you rise above your competitors.

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Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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