October 2010
Copywriting Curiosities

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Just completed the copy for the Networks Etc website.

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Dear Robyn,

The other day, I received a lovely testimonial from a client, Lise Stahl Brown of Networks Etc. Here's what she said (commence horn tooting):

"Robyn developed the written content for the launch of our website. We're a technology company that works with small businesses - we wanted to communicate our technical expertise without engaging in 'geek-speak.' Robyn artfully blended the authenticity and approachability we wanted to convey with a professional tone. We finally have a solid website that can grow as we do."

As I sent it off to my Wonderful Web Dude for posting on my site, I got to thinking about all the different ways I should be using testimonials like this one. Because the truth is (as I'm sure it is for many of you), I'm fortunate to receive cheerful comments from clients (either in writing or verbally), but I often fail to leverage these testimonials to their fullest potential.

So here at 13 ways that you can use testimonials. You don't necessarily need to implement every single one of these ideas (although the right business very well could). But be sure you're using your testimonials thoughtfully (as Project Runway's Tim Gunn would say).

Oh, and be sure to follow this simple strategy for soliciting testimonials:
  • Ask (be clear how you're going to use it and ask if you can use the person's relevant info, like name and company).
  • Receive (always in writing -- keep these permissions on file).
  • Show gratitude. A heartfelt thank you is always appreciated. And pay it forward by offering to write a testimonial for someone else who does a great job for you.
13 Ways to Use Testimonials

1. On your website. Here are some ideas:
  • Home page
  • As scrolling text (scrolling testimonials) on the header graphic of your website
  • On specific service or industry pages
  • In a "Testimonials" or "Happy Customers" section
2. On the back of your business card. Don't waste this valuable space -- use it!

3. On press/speaking materials.

4. On a "Testimonials" or "Review" section on Facebook. Here's a link to a great app you should add to your FB page.

5. As the inspiration for a blog post or newsletter topic. Pick an idea or theme from one of your testimonials and write a blog post around it. For example, in the testimonial Lise gave me above, she mentions my ability to turn "geek speak" into approachable copy. Well, "5 Tips for De-Geeking Copy" would make a fun blog post or newsletter article.

6. On email signatures. Call it "Happy Customer Quote" or "Fan Mail" and put it after your signature and use a new one every month. Opt for short, punchy, even funny ones, or testimonials that are super, super specific and talk about the type of business you want to get more of. Different people in your company can use different testimonials specific to their jobs and talents.

7. On LinkedIn. This involves an extra step of asking your client, provided you're connected to him or her, to write the testimonial on LinkedIn. But most people are happy to do so.

8. On invoices.

9. In newsletters (electronic or print).
They make great sidebar items.

10. In brochures.They work well as call-outs in the body copy, especially if they're reinforcing a particular message.

11. On packaging.

12. On auto responder emails. For example, think of the welcome letter people receive when they subscribe to your newsletter through
Constant Contact (or some other email vendor like Mail Chimp).

13. In advertising. Again, used as a call out, it can help reinforce the message.

What other ways do you use testimonials? I'd love to hear about them.

See you next month.

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