We are looking for recommendations for everything we do. We're so suspicious we need customer testimonials. Even if the testimonials themselves are suspect, we are still looking for customer testimonials.
Now that we're buying so much more on the internet, we want to validate our choices. Have other people purchased this product, was it useful, and can I trust the seller - are thoughts running throughout minds.
At the beginning of the pandemic, when people were buying toilet paper like they were told it's the first line of defense against COVID-19, I went online looking for some. Just in case. We never ran out or had to ask friends for toilet paper. But I did find some on eBay selling for a cut-throat price. Yes, it was high, but hey, we're in a pandemic, and we have to make sacrifices.
I looked for testimonials and didn't find any, but I plowed ahead anyway. Yes, I ordered it. And to my surprise, it never came. It took me 30-days to get my money back from PayPal, but I did.
While not all testimonials are real, they provide a small sense of security that you've made an okay choice. Yelp was thrashed for allowing people to post false testimonials. Amazon checks to see if you actually purchased the item before you can leave a review.
The Webster dictionary defines it as a character reference, a statement testifying to benefits received, an expression of appreciation, or a letter of recommendation.
In business, it's used to establish your authority in the world. It tells people that others have used or purchased from you and were satisfied or even delighted.
Customer testimonials are often displayed on websites to confirm you've had customers. Business testimonials are often displayed on your website with logos from other customers, again proving that you have done business with the big guys. And there are the logos from the media, the 'as seen on' to further cement your status.
When you use customer testimonials on your website, you're telling the world you can trust me. Because all these people, businesses, and media outlets did.
What to Do If You Don't Have Any
But what do you do if you don't have any customer testimonials to display on your website. Because your customers want to remain anonymous. Yes, some clients don't want to be associated with you in public, but they love working with you.
If you're a ghostwriter, you may not have testimonials. If you're a Public Relations fixer, you can't share your clients with the world.
Medical doctors don't display testimonials on their websites. The same is true for attorneys. So, it's not unusual for a site to not have them.
Not to worry, testimonials come in many shapes and forms.
Here's a list of testimonials that you can use.
- Quotes - these can be from clients and other thought leaders in your field - giving them create for the statement.
- Social media posts - refer to a client without naming them if you need to, or add them to your story.
- Case studies - everyone likes to know the behind the scene's success of others. A case study or white paper gives your readers the practical application of using your services.
- Video testimonials - hearing and seeing your customer is powerful. One of the most successful uses of testimonials and the reason you see them in ads.
- Interviews - provide the specifics of how you are serving your customers as long as you ask the right questions.
- High profile testimonials- this is where you'll find people doing backflips trying to get the endorsement from a well-known person. Even if it's paid, you still feel like it's real.
- Press reviews-having a positive experience with the press is excellent. The saying there's no such thing as bad press may even work if you know how to spin it.
- Peer reviews-finding people like yourself to provide favorable feedback is terrific.
Templates for Testimonials
The format for testimonials is straightforward.
- You ask the client/customer what was the problem you were facing when you came to me.
- What was it that made you purchase the product/service?
- How did you feel after you used it?
Very simply, in your template, you want your customer to tell others what their problem was because they might have the same thing. It also gives you the information you need for your marketing materials to fine-tune them.
The deciding factor, the big why did you buy question, is the golden nugget. Once you know this, you can build a campaign around it.
And finally, how did you feel afterward. Refreshed, renewed, relieved, or just over-the-moon fantastic.
Ask them for a good picture of themselves or copy one from their website or LinkedIn profile… with their permission, of course.
How to write a testimonial
Now the shoe is on the other foot, and you have to write a testimonial for someone else. Rinse and repeat. Think about your problem, why you had to fix it a.s.a.p. How they did it. And how wonderful you are now feeling or doing.
Now that you know the formula make sure you return the favor to the next person with a meaningful comment.
When your testimonial is - they are wonderful, or I loved working with Linda - while it's nice it just isn't specific enough.
If you're working with a super busy person, you could draft a testimonial and send it to your client. Ask them if this feels like their experience, and you are done.
I often send my clients to a webpage that I've created that asks them three simple questions. I put the answers together for my testimonial. You may find this works for you too.
No matter how you do it, keep it simple for your client. They're busy.
As a thank-you for their testimonial, you can send them a small gift or offer them another consulting session for follow up. In most cases, if you have had a good working relationship, they will be happy to sing your praises. After all, you've helped them.
Testimonials don't need their own page on your website. They're like sprinkles to scatter all over your website. To highlight a topic, a piece of content, sales pages, landing pages, thank-you page, about us, or add authority. You see where this is going right.
They don't need to be grouped together on a 'Testimonials' page. Don't bore your readers with all of your testimonials on one page. They aren't going there.
The Next Steps
Think about the best testimonials for your website. Look around for the best placement to add value, never to be ignored. If some of your testimonials are a little weak, use them as quotes in a blog, contact me, or about us page. Use the most notable quotes on your home page and sales pages.
Collect testimonials from peers when you're working together. Ask them how you helped them and the transformation they experienced. Start a collection to be used as needed in marketing collateral and social media.
In summary: Testimonials are fun. They play a big part in your business because people are looking for them. Always give more. Consider your messaging. If you'd like to chat about your next project, reach out at Linda@shinyobjectmarketing.com
Linda James Bennett; day 22 of 365 writing an article every day. Making you a shiny object in the world.