But what if you don’t have testimonials? What if you need other ways to give your credibility a boost?
Yes, testimonials are a great way to support and prove the claims in your copy. They also engage the “bandwagon” effect–the more people doing it, the more acceptable it is.
However, testimonials aren’t the only way to accomplish this. Once you understand the underlying principle that makes testimonials work (other people like it so you’ll like it too), you can find endless ways to build customer confidence.
Here are some of the most effective:
- Use indirect testimonials. List businesses using your products or services. Or list the states or countries in which you do business, the industries you serve, the percentage of Fortune 500 companies you work with, or the types of professionals who trust you.
- Show pictures of people using your product or service. An action picture can simultaneously show what you’re selling, show the kind of people who use it, and show benefits. Seeing is believing.
- Provide case histories of some of your best customers or clients. Studies show that tangible case histories can be more effective than statistics. Simply write up an account of how someone solved a problem or derived a benefit. Before and after descriptions are particularly effective.
- Mention how long you’ve been in business. “Since 2001.” This is a subtle indication of popularity. What is impressive here is relative to your business. If you’re a blogger, being in business five years makes you an old timer. If you’re running an offline business, five years makes you an infant.
- Tout the number of products sold. “More than 5,000 satisfied customers!” It always helps to keep good records. Dig through your sales statistics and see what figures you can come up with. You might have to estimate, but make it reasonable and believable. And be sure you have data to support your claim.
- Display the number of customers or clients you serve. My own claim is that I’ve worked with “over 200 clients.” McDonald’s built an empire by displaying on their signs a running count of the number of burgers they sold. It’s now in the billions.
- Warn customers about limited product. “Supplies are limited.” This shows popularity plus scarcity, another powerful human motivator. Be careful. If you cry wolf, people will eventually stop believing you.
- Say how long your product or service has been a bestseller. “America’s leader in cell phone ring tones since 1998.” This says popularity, quality, and consistency. This can often be more effective than just saying how long you’ve been around.
- Cite information on your market leadership. “The #1 pomegranate pie maker in Ohio!” Being first or tops in your market is an unbeatable claim. If you can’t be the first to start your type of business, come up something you are first at.
- Reveal the seasonal demand of your product or service. “Hurry! Easter is our busiest season!” Not only does this show public acceptance, it also overcomes inertia and can encourage early orders. A good example is the rush to buy the latest fad toy during the holidays.
- Show important or well-known people using your product or service. This invokes the “halo” effect, connecting the good feeling people have for the celebrity to your wares. Just make sure you have permission.
- Display a seal of approval. You’ve probably seen approval seals from Good Housekeeping, Consumer Reports, or other well-known organizations. If there’s an industry group your business is affiliated with, find out what it takes to get permission to use their approval notice.
- Cite favorable reviews. Third-party information is always powerful. Some products are lucky enough to get reviews spontaneously, but as a rule you must notify people of your product or service and suggest a review. Don’t be shy.
- Cite mentions in the media. Newsworthy products and services are more trusted. If you get a favorable mention, you can quote it. Otherwise, you can list media coverage. This is an argument for a good public relations effort.
- Associate your product or service with respected magazines. “As seen in Widgets Today Magazine.” List the magazines you advertise in to show public approval of your product or service.
- Associate your product or service with respected media. “As seen on TV.” Television is considered very credible. If you appear there, you have instant credibility. List the networks your advertisements have appeared on.
- And that concludes this series on testimonials. I hope you’ve found something here that will inspire you and help you sell more stuff.