Content creation often brings to mind blog posts, videos, and podcasts. Naturally, those are all important types of content, but when planning content for your website, it’s important to think of the big picture, which includes the various pages on your site. One such page is your testimonials page, and your services or products pages that may also include testimonials.
Anyone who has followed me for awhile knows that I “preach” that content is a great way to build credibility and trust, and I absolutely believe that. However, great content is only part of the formula when it comes to building your reputation. Recommendations from others, be it a personal recommendation from a client, or testimonials on a website, can also go a long way toward gaining the trust of potential clients and customers.
“The Testimonial Put Me Over the Top”
After finishing a project for a brand new client I asked, “How did you hear about me?” She responded, “I noticed you from a guest post you did: http://www.amyporterfield.com/2012/10/google-calendar-editorial-calendar/ a friend posted it on Facebook, and I liked that you were thorough and professional. When I went to your site, the Pat Flynn testimonial put me over the top. I’m a big fan of his, and I know he has his stuff together, and wouldn’t just recommend anyone.”
Notice how the thing that first got her attention was that my blog post was “thorough and professional,” which underscores the importance of good quality content. But the thing that put her over the top was the testimonial. This is a great example of how content such as blog posts, combined with testimonials can build trust and lead to sales.
How to Get Testimonials From Your Clients and Customers
Getting testimonials is not as hard as you might think. Here are a few things that I’ve found help tremendously.
1. Provide services and products that are “testimonial worthy.”
Let’s face it, if your services or products stink, people aren’t going to want to provide testimonials for you. So the first step in gaining testimonials is to always, at the bare minimum, do what you promise, or even better, go the extra mile and exceed the expectations of your clients and customers. If you find that you’re embarrassed to ask for a testimonial, it could be that you’re not confident in the quality of what your business provides, and if that’s the case, that’s the first thing you need to fix. This brings me to my next point:
2. Ask for the testimonial.
While some people may voluntarily provide a testimonial without prompting, most will not — even if they are very happy with your products or services. However, I have found that in most cases, even very busy people will provide a testimonial, when asked — assuming that they are happy with the work you did for them or the products they purchased from you.
Tip: Ask for a testimonial right away, as soon as you complete a project. This is often the time when people feel the most positive about you, particularly if you’ve hit the ball out of the park on the project. I’ve found it helpful to send a thank you email to let a client know that I appreciated the opportunity to do the work for them, and then let them know that it would mean a lot to me if they would provide a testimonial.
3. Make it easy for the person to write the testimonial.
I believe there are two main reasons why people may not provide a testimonial for you, even if they are happy with you. First, a lot of people get stuck, and just don’t know what to say. This is especially true if they haven’t written testimonials before, or if they don’t like to write. Second, people are busy, and may have good intentions, but never quite get around to writing the testimonial for you.
I’ve found a solution that has, up to this point, worked 100% of the time for me; I provide a short series questions for the person to answer, with the offer to write the testimonial for them, once they provide the answers. This has worked great for me, because people often respond immediately after receiving the email from me, because it is so easy and takes them only a few minutes. The questions I ask are:
- List 3 things you liked about the product or service
- Would you recommend this product or service to others? Why?
- Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I also ask for a photo, and what website they’d like me to link to.
How to Verify That Testimonials On Your Site Are Legit
There can be skepticism regarding testimonials on a website. After all, a business owner could write anything and put it on a website. But there are a few ways to give people peace of mind regarding the validity of the testimonials. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Include both a first and last name. You may not be able to do this if the service or product you provide would embarrass people in some way, but for most businesses, this shouldn’t be a problem.
- Include a photo of the person. If you’re unable to obtain a photo of the person, the logo will do, but unless the company is really well known, it’s not as ideal, since photos feel more personal.
- Include a link to the website.
Also, since it is now easy for people to check your business out online, whenever possible, have the same testimonies posted places that you don’t control, such as LinkedIn. I didn’t do this at the beginning, but after the testimonial has been written, I now send a request for a recommendation via LinkedIn. Since the testimonial has already been written, it takes just a few minutes for the person to help me out in this way, and assuming they are on LinkedIn, most are happy to do so.
Do you generally ask for testimonials? What things have you found helpful when it comes to increasing the number of people willing to provide testimonials? Any ideas for improving the quality of the testimonials?