Testimonials are a vital way to support claims in your marketing. But there are a wide variety of ways to structure testimonials that go beyond the classic customer quote
Of the many methods to structure a marketing piece that includes testimonials, my favorite is The Motivating Sequence. Direct marketers have used it for decades, but you can also apply it in many types of B2B marketing content.
This is how the Motivating Sequence is organized:
1) Get attention – with a headline or title emphasizing valuable information or similar benefit
2) Problem – What is the challenge the prospect is facing?
3) Solution – Position your product as relieving the prospect’s problem
4) Benefits – The advantages your product offers
5) Proof – support your benefits with credible third-party information (see below)
6) Call to action – What’s the next step the prospect should take?
Proof is a Must
Number 5 of the Motivating Sequence is what makes it especially appropriate for our age of skepticism. Testimonials from satisfied customers have long been the choice for this section. But you can boost the impact of customer acclaim by including…
- Specifics. Back up each product benefit with a customer testimonial specifically supporting that benefit. For long testimonials you may want to include a headline to encapsulate the strongest benefit described in the text.
- Use the customer’s full name, title and company under the testimonial
- Include a photo of the customer.
But you don’t have to stop with testimonials. Here are several other ways to prove the credibility of your product:
- Show the problem before the solution was found. Then show after your product solved the problem. (This is especially effective in video.)
- Are you the leader in your industry? Include this fact, but use customer testimonials that support your leader position rather than engaging in idle boasting.
- Mention years of experience in the industry you serve as well as awards, media coverage and positive reviews.
- Got jargon? If you’re selling products to a business sector that has its own jargon, use it in your content as a way to show your industry knowledge.
- Show similarity to prospect: Provide evidence that you’re part of the prospect’s world. For example, here’s an excerpt from a product brochure I wrote for Thermo Fisher Scientific, whose target market is technical personnel:
Scientific is Part of Our Name for Good Reason
We are also scientists and engineers and have 50 years of experience in producing solutions as well as creating scientific instruments and equipmentThe next time you’re unsure how to structure a content marketing project, try the Motivating Sequence. By including strong proof elements, it’s an excellent format to both inform and persuade your target audience.
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