John Carlton Copywriting Tips: How To Get Testimonials


In this copywriting hotseat John Carlton shows how to dig down and turn a boring testimonial into one which will sell your prospects.

When you get testimonials, first of all you have to get aggressive about it. You can’t count on happy people writing in to tell you about it. Some will, but if you are getting a lot of mail or email from people who are happy, there’s 20 times that number who aren’t writing to you but are just as ecstatic.

So, you have to have some proactive way to contact people to send you a testimonial. I am in the habit of, whenever anyone comes up to me and says “John, thanks a lot, you did blah”, I always say, “Great, you owe me a testimonial. I expect to see it in my email tomorrow morning.”

This does not mean that that is the testimonial that I am generally going to use. That is the start of the process, often, because what they generally will write is a “rah, rah” testimonial. “You’re great, I really like it, I would recommend your stuff to anyone. Joe Blow, Cincinnati, OH”.

You have to get back to Joe Blow, and say “Joe, why are you happy? What happened?” “Oh, my God…It took 3 days to double my bottom line, right out of the box”. That is your testimonial. With most people, there has to be some kind of give and take.
So, by going back and forth, it’s fair to help the guy get the testimonial out. The testimonial has to read as well as the rest of the copy in your sales message, or it won’t get read. So, it’s OK to help him write it. Now, you don’t want it to be in exactly your voice. If it sounds as if you wrote it and just sent it off to him to sign his name to it, you may have a little cognitive dissonance there.

It is OK to have someone else’s voice there. Basically, people are looking to the testimonial as a quick, third-party endorsement, so they feel comfortable about believing what you just said. When you say it, it’s bragging. When someone else says it, it is closer to the truth.

By the way, you always want to get photos in there. Try to make it as real as possible.
Stan: We got a 15% increase. That was all I did one day…didn’t even have a tech person do it, I did it myself…was get everyone’s pictures, put them in there, same page ran for a month. Ran the numbers at the end of the month. That was all we changed. I don’t know why, but I am not the only person who saw it. The reason I did it was that someone else told me we would see a huge bump. We did it, and we did.

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