If you’ve ever wondered “How much is too much editing?” when it comes to your testimonials, then you’re in the right place! This is the third and final part of the series on testimonials.
In part one, I shared my process for effectively collecting testimonials, and in part two we dive into how and where to use your testimonials to get the maximum use out of them.
What’s A-Okay and what’s totally a bad move? Read on!
1. OK: Editing any typos or grammatical issues.
If your client misspelled a word or used incorrect grammar, it’s okay to fix it. This one is a simple YES! These things need to be edited to ensure your website and marketing is professional. (Plus, I’d imagine the client would want you to fix their mistake!)
2. OK: Reworking the testimonial if it’s confusing.
Be super careful here not to change the intent of the author, but if something the client said needs a little more explanation to make sense, fix it.
For example, if you asked my question from part one of “What is your favorite part of your new website?” and the client answered “the about us page, it showcases my team and our values so incredibly well.” It’s alright for you to change this to “Our favorite part of the new website is the about us page because it showcases my team and our values so incredibly well.” See? This is fine because I did not change the meaning. I just made it make sense without the question in place.
3. OK: Bolding, Italicizing, Underlining, etc.
When you style your website or marketing materials, it’s an awesome idea to make parts of the testimonial stand out by bolding, italicizing or underlining certain sections. This is not changing the meaning of the review, so it’s fine.
4. OK: Shortening the testimonial.
Getting long testimonials is a good thing, but displaying short testimonials is a GREAT THING. It’s totally fine to cut out parts of the testimonial to make it shorter for your website or marketing use. But, make sure that by deleting something you aren’t changing the meaning. Head back to part one to learn how to ask the right questions to get the best responses!
5. OK: Reordering sentences in the testimonial.
I will keep on stressing DO NOT change the meaning of what the person is trying to say. But, if there’s a sentence you’d like to put first, or if you’re mashing two different paragraphs together, it’s totally cool to move things around a little.
6. OK: Changing pronouns to names.
Let’s say you have a lengthy testimonial from a client. You want to take just one sentence and use it on your sales page. The sentence reads: “She made working together so easy and fun.” When using this as a pull quote, I could change this to “Elizabeth made working together so easy and fun.” It’s alright to do this, as long as you are not changing the meaning of what the testimonial originally said.
7. NOT OK: Adding/editing in a way that changes the meaning.
I keep stressing this but do not do anything that will change the meaning of the testimonial. You’re a smart cookie and you know deep down when switching something around changes the intent. If a testimonial needs to be edited a ton for you to want to use it, then it’s not a good testimonial! Ditch it.
8. NOT OK: “Enhancing” the testimonial
In most cases, you should never add in any words (unless you’re making changes like in #2 or #5). Changing “Elizabeth was fun to work with.” to “Elizabeth was AMAZING and fun to work with” is NOT okay. By doing that enhancement, I am embellishing what the client said, which changes the meaning.
As I discussed in part one, it’s smart (but not required) to ask permission to tweak the review! I have my clients mark yes or no to the question “If appropriate, I may also need to make minor edits to your reviews above such as deleting a sentence to make it shorter, changing "she" to "Elizabeth,” correcting grammar or misspellings , etc. Do I have your permission to do this?”
I think it’s acceptable to make tiny edits without permission, but I believe it’s a good practice to ask first. Making the asking part of the initial request for a review makes everything simpler, so make sure you’re asking if it’s okay to edit on the front end!
So, there you have it – a big ole guide to testimonials. If you missed part one or two, click below to read:
How to Get AMAZING Testimonials for Your Business:
Tell me in the comments, what’s the best testimonial you’ve ever received?