Getting testimonials and endorsements

Whether you are selling a book or a product, testimonials and endorsements are a necessary and vital part of your marketing plan. Whether you need one endorsement to accent a particular feature of your book or product, or whether you need several endorsements to create credibility—you do NEED them.

Endorsements and testimonials (which we will call endorsements for the sake of simplicity) create the push that prospective customers need in order to become buyers. Endorsements provide credibility to your claims about the quality of your product and they affirm your expertise and product knowledge. Even if you are not professionally trained in your area of expertise, endorsements from professionals or well known individuals in your field indicate that you can provide value to the buyer. The simple fact that you have created your product gives you expert status: after all, you could not have produced your product without extensive research, commitment and passion. You become the expert.

The purpose of endorsements is to thoroughly impress your customers, causing them to believe that their lives just will not be complete without your product. Make them short and powerful, and don’t be afraid of a little humor. People need to feel good about purchasing your product.

The time to request endorsements is before your product hits the market. You want the opportunity to add endorsements to your media kit and news releases, and you want to print them on your product and in your advertisements.

Send requests for endorsements, along with a sample of your product, well before the product is available for sale. Aim for the stars when requesting endorsements—ask people who are recognizable in your field and who are as well known and widely known as possible.

Keep in mind that granting endorsements is also of great benefit to the persons providing them, so don’t be afraid to ask. Free publicity is always a bonus. When you implement your marketing plan, the persons providing your endorsements will piggy-back on your media and advertising campaign.

People must hear the name of your product at least seven times before it becomes familiar enough for them to develop trust and a need to buy. The same is true for the person lending their name to create your credibility—they also need to be in people’s faces every day. Have you noticed how often you see the name of Mark Victor Hansen, author of the Chicken Soup book series? He endorses many products and in so doing he has become a household name.

It is acceptable to provide endorsers with the list of names of other persons from whom you are requesting endorsements. Often the endorsers will be pleased to be included in good company. Conversely, they may be flattered to be included in the list of celebrities.

Be very respectful of the time of the people that you are approaching for endorsements. Value their hectic schedules and understand that you are not their utmost priority. Busy people may not have time to thoroughly investigate your product or service, or read your book from cover to cover, so do the work for them. Send them a few versions of endorsements that you would like, allowing them to merely choose one and do some minor editing. Pre-writing the endorsements greatly increases your chances of success and it allows you to emphasize the points you want to make in order to impress your potential buyers.

Write endorsements that are specific to your product and that are relevant to the expertise of the endorser. Don’t ask an author of gardening books to endorse your novel, your widget or your health food product. Keep the endorsements relevant and exciting. Writing “This is a great product” just won’t do. Your endorsements must make buyers feel good or solve a problem for them. For instance, if you are selling a healthy lifestyle book, avoid writing “I loved this book”. So what? Instead, create solutions for your customers. Try something like: “This book gives you all you need to tighten your sagging bottom and make your heart happy without fad diets and expensive gym memberships.”

Keep endorsements short and relevant, with one to three sentences being sufficient. Buyers don’t want to read an essay about your product—you have only a few seconds of their time to attract their attention and relay your message. Hit them fast and hit them good!

As your product gains in popularity, you will receive unsolicited endorsements from happy customers. Be sure to keep a file of them for future reference and for future inclusion in your marketing campaign. Marketing must continue forever, if you want to increase sales, and there is no better way to increase those sales than by the recommendations of satisfied buyers.