As a freelance copywriter, I love it when I get to use real customer testimonials in the copy I write for one of my clients.

No matter how much experience I may have as a freelance copywriter and no matter how much effort I put into honing my craft, a real customer’s words of praise will always out-sell anything I write.

When a freelance copywriter has a few really good testimonials to work with, the job is to write good copy which highlights these customer comments and uses them to support key selling points.

So how do you get customers to give you glowing testimonials?

Well you certainly can’t wait for the rare customer to pick up pen and paper and write out a thank you note. Yes, they will arrive in your mailbox every now and then, but there is a better way.

Here are a few tips on how to prime the pump so you never run out of good, strong customer compliments that you can use in your advertisements, direct mail and on your web site:

  1. Call your customers. Call them just after they have made a purchase, after they’ve been doing business with you for a while, after they needed service or after you haven’t heard from them in a while. On one hand, your call is a good will call or after the sale call to see how satisfied they are, how helpful your people were or if they have any suggestions for you to improve the way you do business.

  2. Listen to the customer feedback. While you are hoping to generate customer testimonials, keep your eye on the ball and use this opportunity to really listen to what your customers have to say. If they have complaints, treat them as opportunities to wow them with your extra-mile service. But if they have good things to say, jot down some notes while they talk. You may need to reword their comments slightly (people ramble, fail to talk in complete sentences or wander off the subject sometimes). But don’t reword their statements to the point that you put words in their mouths.

  3. Thank them for their kind words, and ask if you can quote them on some of your company literature. In most cases they will say yes.

  4. Read back their comments as you have reworded them (slightly) and ask, “does that sum up what you were saying?” If they agree, go with it; but if not, keep working with them until you have their own words in a form of a strong testimonial. But be very careful that you don’t go too far and try to make them say more than they actually intended.

  5. Send them a copy of the quote.To make sure they know you have quoted them correctly, mail or email thank you notes for their compliments and include a copy of the wording they agreed to.

  6. Make it easy for them to put the testimonial on letterhead.In some cases you might request that they copy the testimonial onto their letterhead for you to use in that form. In other cases you will simply quote them as part of your advertisement, direct mailer or a separate section on your web site called “Customer Feedback.”

There are more reasons to take these steps than just to enhance you advertising copy. After you have completed these six steps, you have done more than obtain testimonials. You will also have thanked the customer after the sale (an all too rare courtesy in business these days), you will have learned about any problems and given yourself a chance to fix them, and you will have obtained real feedback that can’t help but improve the way you do business.

As I said before, the words of actual, satisfied customers are far more compelling than anything I, or any other freelance copywriter, could ever write, so get your customers' praise in writing and watch your marketing materials take you to the next level.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown


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