Testimonials are a great inbound marketing tool to have in your toolkit for a variety of reasons, not least of which are that they help provide social proof for your customers and that they help you hear what you’re doing well (and sometimes what you’re doing not-so-well). Having testimonials on your website and other marketing materials can be a great boon for hooking the interest of potential new customers, but if you’re going to do it, you need to make sure you’re doing it the right way. Below, we’ve compiled a few tips on using testimonials ethically and effectively as part of your marketing mix.

Tips for Using Testimonials as an Inbound Marketing Tool

  • Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’ve got a happy customer, ask them to give you a little blurb about how happy they are – it’s that simple. While not everyone will agree to it, many will be more than happy to give you a few words to use, and that’s really all you need. You’ll be most likely to get a good testimonial right after you’ve completed a successful project or order for the customer or client, and you can also offer a small freebie or some other kind of incentive to make them more interested in taking the time to provide you with the testimonial. Bonus points if you can get a photo to go along with it, as people like to see faces and it lends even more credibility to the statement if you can show there is indeed a real person behind it. Just make sure you have permission from the speaker to use their words and/or likeness in your marketing materials. And with that said…
  • Use only real testimonials. Many businesses make up testimonials and while most of them never get caught doing it, it’s not a risk that you really want to take. Hyping up your business with fake hype from fake customers is a good way to do some damage to your credibility.
  • Spread them around. You don’t want to crowd any one page of your website or the majority of a direct mail postcard with testimonials from customers or anything (though a “See What Customers Are Saying” type page full of testimonials is entirely appropriate), but there’s nothing wrong with spreading them around evenly, either. If you’re running a site using WordPress, consider using a plugin to display a different random testimonial in the sidebar each time the page is loaded.

Testimonials work well as an inbound marketing tool, and really are a great way to add a little extra something to your promotional materials. When you’re looking to add them to your marketing mix, keep these tips in mind to make sure you’re using them both ethically and effectively.

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