“Four Star Restaurant and Coffee Shop”
These were the words in an ad in my local newspaper today for a coffee shop that has been open less than a year and has just begun adding dinner to their coffee shop menu. Perhaps I am alone (but I don’t think so), when my thoughts were, “Said who? You?”
Last week, I received an email newsletter from another local business. There was a glowing testimonial signed simply “Anonymous cosmotologist” .
Did either of these ads do what they intended — make me trust their business because it was recommended by others? No. And the reason is simple. You can create anything or anybody on the internet, on paper, or on the airwaves. But the creation is not what makes people trust you.
Trust comes with knowing that real people or real organizations endorse you. And those real people and organizations have to have names. Even then, the endorsing person or organization should have credibility and be trusted by those you are marketing to.
Testimonials are valuable marketing tools. But, all too often, we dilute the value of them, by making them seem make up rather than real. Anybody can write a series of glowing testimonials but by using initials or anomymous as the writer, you’re wasting your time. They aren’t believable.
The same is true when you list a series of names as references or past customers. Most people will never take the time to contact these references nor will the list create credibility. I could sit down and write you a long list of refences for this blog, but think about it? How many of you will contact those references? How many of those references have ever even read this blog? How many of those references are going to be positive? How many will be negative or neutral? The same is true when you list a series of names in your brochure or on your website.
Testimonials are the most valuable marketing tools that you can use to create trust for your business IF THEY ARE REAL AND IF YOU USE THEM CORRECTLY. So, go to those people who have used your business more than once and ask them for a testimonial. Ask for permission to use their name. If they won’t let you use their name, the testimonial is worthless.
And, if you’re a new business or have been in business for a short period of time, don’t use testimonials or references. They simply aren’t believable and don’t create the trust that you are trying for. If you’re new in business, there are other ways to build trust and believability. Use those instead!