Whatever business you are in, one of the best assets you can build is a databank of testimonials from satisfied clients and customers. But exactly how do you get those rave reviews that you can use to attract more clients? Here are my 6 top tips for collecting and using effective testimonials.
1. Deliver a great product or service
I know it’s stating the obvious, but the first step in getting testimonials is to have satisfied customers and clients. That means you need to make sure you have delivered on your promises and at least met, if not exceeded, your customers’ expectations. Don’t try to collect any testimonials until you have met this criteria!
The big secret of getting testimonials is no big secret at all. You’ve simply got to ask. If you’ve been in business for any length of time at all, you probably already have satisfied customers who would be more than willing to give you an endorsement, if only you ASK them. I understand that you might be self-conscious about asking, so why not send a note or email along these lines.
‘Can I ask a quick favour? I’m in the process of updating my marketing materials and want to include examples of people I have worked with and how I’ve helped them. I would love to include you. Would you be willing to jot a couple of lines about how my (service/product) helped you? I’m planning to get this completed in the next two weeks, so if you could reply by (deadline) it would really help. Thanks in anticipation!’
There, now that wasn’t so difficult was it? Try it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the responses you get!
3. Use full contact details
Have you ever seen those testimonials that are signed by someone like ‘J.V, Leicester’. Do you believe them? I don’t. They scream ‘made up!’ Testimonials simply aren’t worthwhile unless accompanied by full contact details: name, company, location, age, profession. Include as much relevant info as you need to prove that the testimonial was provided by a real person.
4. Use examples of your target audience
If you’re targeting single 20 somethings, then it doesn’t make sense to include a testimonial from a 50 year old married woman. The unspoken question many of your prospects have in their head is ‘Will this work for me?’, so they want to see case studies and examples from people who started out in a similar situation. Adapt your testimonials to make them relevant to your target audience e.g. if you are targeting working mothers include information like, ‘Sarah Smith, mother of 3’.
5. Make your testimonials more believable with photos, voice and/or video
We’ve all seen the ‘testimonials’ on TV that are actually paid actors, so it’s not surprising that many of your prospects are jaded and skeptical. You can make your testimonials more believable by using proof in the shape of photos, actual voice recordings of the testimonials and even video testimonials if you can get them. Audio Generator includes a feature for easily collecting voice testimonials from your customers. They provide you with a phone number, the client calls to record their message, then you get a simple code for uploading the audio to your website.
6. Have a system for soliciting testimonials
I know you’ve already got too much on your ‘to do’ list, and the last thing I want to do is create more work for you. The key to getting anything done in marketing is to put a system in place that automates the process. For example, send a form letter or email a specific number of days after the service, treatment or goods have been received verifying that your client is happy and asking them to provide you with their comments.
Some of the best testimonials I got for my first e-book came from a standard email I sent to every customer 14 days after they ordered the product. I just set the email up on my auto-responder so I didn’t have to think about it. It generated a steady stream of testimonials with no further action required on my part.
The bottom line is that adding testimonials is one of the most effective changes you can make to your marketing materials, so make sure you start collecting and using testimonials, starting today!
Source: Doyle, B (2007) How To Get Testimonials [Online] http://www.salesopedia.com/content/view/1285/10479/ [accessed 29/01/08]