Written by Top Draw guest contributor Linda Daley.
Some people put a lot of credence in testimonials. That might not be you but don’t discount their importance. Testimonials boost your reputation by:
- positioning you as an expert
- answering unasked questions your prospects might have about the experience of working with you or your company
- providing social proof
Both giving and receiving testimonials is good for you and your business. If you make managing them part of your regular processes, they will take a key place in your content strategy.
Requesting Customer Testimonials
Testimonials are marketing gold. When you need them for a specific marketing purpose, avoid the mad scramble to start gathering them by having them organized and readily at hand.
Here are two activities you can undertake:
- Put a process in place to collect testimonials as part of your sales process. For example, when I send an invoice to a new client, I request a testimonial at the same time. Using an online app, like LinkedIn, makes it easy. When you receive testimonials, keep them all in one place. Copy them into a text document and keep them in a folder. Or immediately post them to your website and make that your collection point.
- Launch a project to collect testimonials from previous clients. Compile a list of your current and past clients. Identify the ones that you would like to have testimonials from. Don’t just include your ‘high ticket’ customers. Chose the ones you most enjoyed working with, the size of company that you prefer, the culture you felt comfortable with, and so on.
Testimonials are more effective when they’re specific. Make it as easy as possible for your customer to provide a good one.
- Give prompts. Here is an example from my own business: “You might choose to write about how a newsletter helps your business, what it was like to work with us, or how you feel about the final results.”
- Generate a list of questions that your customers can respond to. When formulating your questions, think measurable results. Don’t use questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no.
Create a customer testimonial database. This might be a dedicated page on your website. Aside from being evidence of your success, this can also be a resource, saving you time when you need testimonials for specific purposes, like product promotions or speaking gigs.
Use your business testimonials everywhere. Put at least one testimonial on every page of your website. Use them as headlines, in sidebars and footers. Use them in brochures, emails, and online profiles.Testimonials of varying lengths are great because you can put them to different uses. Brief testimonials are great for headers and headlines. More lengthy testimonials can describe something that you then don’t have to describe yourself.
Don’t be shy about asking customers for testimonials. If you have done a good job, your customers will be more than willing to sing your praises.
Giving Customer Testimonials
Providing a good testimonial helps your reputation, as well as the person you are providing one for. You know how important they are but perhaps writing a testimonial is not easy for you. So, you procrastinate. Here are some tips to get that off your to-do list.
- Jot down 3-4 descriptive words or phrases that immediately come to mind about the business, the product or service, the consultant, the buying process, and such. When you start writing and are stuck for a word, refer to this list. (Examples: reliable, honest, practical, creative, solid)
- Get clear on the benefit. Before you start to write, consider your responses to these questions:
- What was your problem?
- What was the solution and how was it unique?
- What particularly stood out about the buying experience?
- Start with feelings. Think about how you felt and tell them how they will feel. Use comparisons, such as “It made me feel like I was walking on air.”
- Think about your buying decision. What information caused you to buy? If you include that information in your testimonial, it might flip the switch for others.
- Be specific. Don’t try to mention everything about your buying experience. Avoid broad generalizations by describing one part of the experience that was outstanding.
- Get personal. Write it from you, a person, not from your business.
- Make it evergreen. While your experience is recent, will the wording still make sense to someone reading it a year from now?
- Up your game by including a punchy phrase that can stand alone. These are gold because they can be used as standalone marketing messages.
Keep in mind you are really writing the testimonial for potential customers of the other business. In the process, you’ll make the recipient feel pretty good, too.
Make Immediate Progress
- Request a testimonial from someone you’ve neglected to ask.
- Give a testimonial to someone you’ve neglected to endorse.
Email marketing specialist Linda Daley of Daley Progress Inc. helps busy small business owners build relationships and their reputation through their newsletters. Read her articles on the Work Better, Not Harder blog.