‘Do it Themselves’ Advertising – Using testimonials in marketing

In a previous post entitled “ESP – What do your clients really want to know? I talked about finding out what your customers what to know, and in my research, I made a not so startling discovery.  They want to know that others liked your work too.  I remember “back in the day” of working for Andres Wines, we followed a sales program put together by Harry J Freidman, called Suggestive Retail Selling.  One of the things that we were taught (remember – this was back in the early ’80s) was to compliment the customer on their tie, their hair, anything.  This tactic was used to open the sale and get them in a good mood because someone liked what they had.  Now these days, false compliments and in-authentic selling will get a door slammed in your face, and for good reason.  Remember – in this series we are exploring how to eliminate the “old ways” of interruptive and used car salesperson marketing, and learning to market with meaning.  But that does not mean that some of the principles behind old Harry’s ideas were not sound.   People DO like to know you have approved of their choices.  They want to know what others who have made the same choice they are considering think as well;  hence the need for testimonials in marketing.


When you are selling a service, whether speaking, coaching or even marketing – the customer is buying based on the perception you present.  Or in other words, the picture you have painted of yourself and your results.  That is why video testimonials are so powerful.  An unscrupulous person can write their own testimonials – but it is harder to get those on video. Video testimonials are the most believable, and the most impactful. There are a few ‘rules’ that make sense to follow when collecting video testimonials:

When you have the opportunity to set up a video camera at an event, create your video testimonials in marketing as case studies.

Potential customers want to know you have the solutions to their problems.   It can be tempting to make the testimonial all about you – but that defeats the purpose.  Think of these testimonials as documented video evidence that you delivered what you said you would deliver.  Ask specific questions that help your audience members talk about the outcome of your talk, their desire to implement the steps you outlined, or whatever you want the audience to DO after your talk.  Remember, good speakers don’t just leave the audience with a good feeling – they leave them with a purpose and a desire to grow.

Now never let it be said I always follow “the rules”.  I strongly believe the occasionally gushy audience member testimonial about “how your message changed their lives” speaks volumes on your ability to impact a room, and can be a deciding factor for a meeting planner.

A sample of a good case study testimonial would flow like this:

  • This was my issue/ problem
  • This how you solved it
  • Now I feel …
  • I learned …
  • And because of this, I saw X result  (this one you may not be able to gather on the spot because it will take time for implementation, but it REALLY  adds impact)
  • Name of person giving testimonial – and location

Of course, your business and your topics are unique and you may have some other ideas – but this is a good place to start.

I just uploaded a couple of video testimonials to my website – check out how I structured them here

Don’t make them too short or too long.

If your testimonials in marketing are too short, they won’t include enough information. If they’re over four or five minutes, people will lost interest. So keep them two to four minutes long.

Summarize the case study and other main points in the text.

There are a few reasons for this rule.  Search engines don’t yet search through video to discover what it’s about.   You are losing valuable SEO goodness if you are not spelling it out for them.  And occasionally your site will be viewed on a device unable to support video, or by someone with (heaven forbid) a dial up connection – or by a meeting planner with only 10 minutes to spend short listing candidates.  By offering the best of both worlds you double your chances of the testimonials having their desired effect.

And remember – testimonials don’t just belong on a single page on your website.  They should be on every page if possible, on your newsletter, on your LinkedIn profile, your blog, and anywhere else you can think of.  Don’t forget to put the video on YouTube – but we do not recommend YouTube links on a website.  A better platform for showing your videos is through a service like Vimeo where you do not have to worry about what YouTube decides to play after your video…    😉

Bottom line for testimonials – don’t forget to include the product information on the video and in the text.  You never know where these things will show up (shared on a fan’s Facebook page for instance) and if the person sharing does not provide a link to your site – you should!

About Lauren Pibworth

Lauren Pibworth is an internet marketing strategist specializing in growing the business of professional speakers. Lauren and her team of graphic designers, web developers and online product and course development and launch specialists work with speakers who want to diversify their revenue streams and move 'beyond the keynote' through smarter marketing solutions, delivered with care.

Lauren (an amateur sommelier) and her husband enjoy fine Ontario wines, great food and travel to exotic, warm destinations where they spend the majority of their time underwater - scuba diving.

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