Successful companies use customer testimonials and case studies as a means of telling prospects how valuable their products and services are. A compelling testimonial, if used correctly, can turn a window shopper into a loyal customer, which is why most businesses now include them in social media communications, on their landing pages, and within their advertising material.

However, email marketing is one area in which testimonials remain rather overlooked. Small businesses that use email newsletters could effectively include a selection of testimonials in order to build credibility with potential customers, increasing their consumer base and creating a reputation for great customer service along the way.

In order to properly utilise a testimonial in an email marketing campaign, it is important to ensure it is believable, natural, and –most important – legitimate.

Here are our top tips for using testimonials effectively:

If you’re uncomfortable requesting testimonials yourself, employ someone else to do it

You can always hire a copywriter or PR specialist who understands your field. It’ll be money well spent.

Use figures and statistics wherever possible to enhance credibility

What’s the point of a testimonial if you can’t evidence measurable results? You can call out results through direct quotes, specific facts, pictures, graphs, or numbers.

Avoid using industry jargon

Remember, real consumers use natural language rather than endless jargon or phrases used by professional writers. It will also help potential customers to empathise with their statements if the language used is clear and simple.

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Obtain appropriate permission before using

Show the case study to your customer before you send it off, both as a courtesy and to check the content is accurate.

Include a link to the website of the person providing the testimonial and an image, if available

A full name, business name, town, and profession presents the potential customers with a more perceivable figure, especially if the customer gives the small business permission to use a photograph alongside the quote.

Edit where appropriate

In some cases, it may transpire that testimonials are either too long or contain a number of unnecessary details, in which case a little editing may be necessary. However, it is very important to make sure the editing does not alter the view the customer wished to express in their testimonial.

Avoid the suspicious ‘DIY’ testimonial

Above all, it is vital to avoid using fake testimonials. As well as being fairly easy to spot, if a small business is found to be using this method it will damage credibility and cause existing and potential customers to lose faith in the trustworthiness of the company.

Keep your testimonials current and up-to-date and make a point of refreshing them regularly with bold, complimentary quotes. Don’t be shy — make them a highlight of your next newsletter; after all, nothing sells services better than endorsements from your own customers!

Adam Lovelock is a Co-Founder of Astonish Email, the quick and easy email marketing system built especially for small business owners. He has spent the past six years working with hundreds of small businesses, helping them build valuable relationships with their contacts through email marketing. You can email Adam at adam.lovelock@astonishemail.com or try Astonish Email for free at www.astonishemail.com.