it's written for music CD artists, but worth a read.
"Which is your best CD?"
Ever get that question? My band has five CDs that we sell at shows, and I get that question all the time. People rely on the suggestions of others to determine what they are going to buy. They trust the opinions of others to help them make decisions. So having great testimonials to sell your CDs is essential.
The trouble is most fans email you something like this: "You rock! -Joe." They don't explain how your music affected them or why they came to that conclusion, and you don't bother to ask.
But if you want great testimonials, you have to ask for them. You can't be passive and wait for those one in a thousand great testimonials to come in. Instead, educate your fans.
That's one of the secrets to the success of the Brobdingnagian Bards. We have a lot of fans who are passionate about our music. Steven Hahn is so gung-ho about our music that he called a television station to tell them about a gig we had. And a camera crew showed up!
That kind of enthusiasm is contagious. But it's also been taught. You see, we educate our fans on how to help us.
That's also what you have to do when gathering testimonials. Educate your fans how to write them. Guide them step-by-step. Ask questions that will get you your desired response. They know they love your music. Now you have to get that into a format that will help you sell more CDs.
To write a testimonial, you need to know what makes a killer testimonial?
1. Great testimonials focus on benefits.
How did your music affect them? Have them tell a story about the drive home as they were headbanging in the car when a cop pulled up next to them on a motorcycle and gave them a disapproving glance.
2. Great testimonials are visual.
Could you see that cop in the statement above? That's the type of short story that will make your fans feel like they're back at the club nervously shaking your hand when they meet you.
3. Great testimonials evoke a feeling.
They should touch an emotion inside, whether it's joy, sadness, anger, tranquility, energy, excitement, nervousness, or whatever. That feeling should come across in the testimonial to connect with other fans.
4. Great testimonials create a positive atmosphere.
Not only will you sell more CDs, but your fans will also get a better feeling about your band. You want something that will connect to people, adding energy, excitement and goodwill to all around you.
Here are a few guidelines for creating testimonials that will make people take notice.
1. Keep it short. Cut the quote down to three sentences that really shine. You want it to grab them quickly, not something that is difficult to read.
2. Be specific. Fans can go on and on that "you rock" or "you're awesome," but those phrases don't personalize it. Instead, have them describe what is awesome about you or your CD. "The way you sang, 'The Bridge' on your CD 'Soul of a Harper' gave me goosebumps."
3. Keep it positive. If a quote is written with a negative connotation like, "I can't believe how cool you are!" Ask them if you can rewrite it in a more positive manner, like "I love how cool you are!" It will energize your site all the more.
4. Include a name. The most-powerful quotes include your fan's name, city and state (sometimes job or career can also been effective). Get permission to use as much information about the person as they are willing to give.
5. Clarify the situation. Get the five W's from your fan: who, what, where, when, why, and how. Weave that info into the testimonial. It will add personality to the testimonial and let the reader know there's a person behind it.
Of course, if fans don't really want to share more than "you rock," accept it happily. Sometimes even something that simple can be effective. If you're fans are writing from the heart, that enthusiasm will bubble over to their friends and your word-of-mouth will continue to spread.