Customer testimonials have always been a long time go to in the advertising copywriter’s arsenal for generating response. It’s a well known fact that winning a customer’s business the FIRST time is always the hardest. That’s why customer testimonials are a powerful advertising tool for any business.
Allowing your customers to share their positive experience with your product or business has MANY benefits. Of course, the obvious benefits is to help build trust with people you haven’t done business with yet – however, there’s another benefit to collecting customer testimonials. Studies have shown that when an actual customer provides a testimonial for your product or service, they end up not only “selling” prospective customers on your product or service – they sell themselves as well.
Customer testimonials are a literal powerhouse marketing tool – what’s not to love?
Well, what’s not to love about customer testimonials is how they have been used and abused over the past few years.
Unscrupulous marketers have known that testimonials build trust – and as a result have gone to great lengths to create “fake” testimonials. In one case, an unscrupulous marketer actually created a “faux” blog – complete with fake testimonials in the comments section of the web site created to look like a blog. Read more about this in “Blogs and the art of deception.”
Real blogs along with other social media applications are making it easy for average people to share their experiences. However, if you’re a business owner – don’t wait for your customers to begin raving about your products and services – ask them to do so. Remember – when your customers create testimonials – they not only sell others on your products and services – they also end up selling themselves.
The FTC has published the final guides governing endorsements and testimonials. In general – the guidelines have been updated from the last revision in 1980 and now, advertisers are not allowed to feature “exceptional” results and get by with a bit of fine print or a quick scroll telling consumers that they shouldn’t expect similar results. There’s also new guidelines governing celebrity endorsements. Happily – Ed MacMahon has passed – otherwise he might be held liable for the claims he made on behalf of advertisers.
The FTC rewrite is to address the misuse of testimonials because testimonials are a powerful tool. Do you have customers? Are they happy with your products or services? Then recruit them to tell their story. Feature those stories in your advertising and on your web site. It’s one of the most frequently overlooked marketing tools by small business owners.