Word-of-mouth is the number one source of growth for community chartered credit unions and banks. If the best kind of reference comes by word of mouth, then you can bet that a good testimonial works magic. We tell credit unions and community banks this often during marketing assessments.

But sometimes, you read several testimonials only to find that they all say the same thing. And they sound very watered down. You might walk away with more questions than answers.

 

A good testimonial is compelling. It stands out from the rest. And it draws someone in. Just because you’re quoting someone doesn’t mean you can’t control what testimonials appear on your site. A good testimonial needs the right information.

 

A shoutout

This one sounds simplistic, but it’s easy to miss since you’re usually quoting someone for a testimonial. A testimonial without a shoutout to your brand name, even if it’s on your website, doesn’t do you any good. You can thank a little thing we call Search Engine Optimization for that.

 

Your brand name will ensure favorable SEO results in most cases. So use it! This is no different from that timeless lesson we’re all taught in school — put your name on all your work before handing it in.

 

A sliver

You have customers that say nothing but great things about you. That’s often good material for a testimonial. But don’t oversell yourself. A long, drawn out testimonial makes you look desperate. It’s likely to get snubbed by anyone reading it.

 

Testimonials should be short. They should be a sliver of the bigger narrative. Buyers shopping through testimonials are usually in the ‘research’ phase so give them what they need. The information should be valuable, and it should be quick.

 

A story

Your website showcases the best you have to offer. And that’s good. But it’s all written and narrated by you. You’re like the salesperson on the car lot at this stage. Of course you’re showcasing the latest and greatest…and that makes some buyers skeptical.

 

If you’re good enough to talk about, someone else will do it for you. A good testimonial offers perspective; a story. When your company is being shopped, you are a salesperson. And the best way a buyer avoids buyer’s remorse is to hear it from another buyer.

 

And remember, a great story can still be brief.

 

A sign

A good testimonial should offer a sign of what’s to come. We often measure success by return, especially in the financial world. Big whigs love numbers. ‘Our loan portfolio grew by X!’

 

If you can point to some metric involving ROI, even if it’s someone else’s testimonial, that goes a long way in your closing arguments to your leadership team. And that’s what someone is looking for in a testimonial.

 

A solution

You don’t sell a product or a service; you sell a solution. A good testimonial should reflect that. It should reference a pain point, and it should state your solution.

 

Like an aspirin, you are a solution to someone’s throbbing headache. Relief from that headache brings a breath of fresh air. It allows someone to refocus, regain or even reset. And that solution is worth every penny.

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