When working with clients, one of my best sources for copy – and by that I mean headlines, subheads, “big ideas,” and benefits / transformations that really matter – is TESTIMONIALS.

What happy customers say about a product or service or person is more often than not FAR more compelling and persuasive than anything I can dish up.

Here’s a dozen quick notes on using testimonials:

1) You NEVER just make them up. They need to be real.

2) The more info about the person giving the testimonial, the more credible it becomes. First name, last name, address – all good if you can get them.

3) Having a picture of the person giving that testimonial adds value.

4) Having actual Video of that person giving their testimonial – solid gold!

5) If you have audio, plus a picture, that’s not bad either.

6) You can transcribe videos / audios and add that text as well. (Check out www.temi.com for affordable automated transcription of audio.)

7) When someone gives you a paragraph or couple of paragraphs, you don’t have to use everything. You can just take the most powerful phrase or sentence – these can be especially good as a headline or subhead.

8) Bold, underline, all CAPS, that sort of thing to highlight key points is also good as it makes the testimonial visually interesting.

9) Always find a way to set apart testimonials from the rest of the copy. You want them to stand out – either inside a box, indented, bold/italic, just something.

10) The very best place to put a testimonial is exactly in the spot where the person’s words neatly dispel a potential objection. For example, if you refer to your high quality customer service at some point in your copy, that would be a great place to put a testimonial where someone discusses how easy it was to work with you to iron out a small issue that arose or to answer a question.

11) Customer comments on review sites can be helpful for copy as well – you don’t even have to use the testimonial directly, you can just surf the comments and see what people love about the product / service and rewrite those positive feelings into your copy. I’ve done this with products sold on Amazon and they made the writing so much easier and faster.

12) You always want to make sure testimonials are used in a way that holds firm and true to the essential meaning of what the person said. Don’t take stuff out of context to make it sound better than they actually meant – that’s bogus and you shouldn’t do it.

Write faster. Write better. Right now.

– Jack