Last Updated on: January 16th, 2017
Trust. Credibility. Customer satisfaction.
These are three things you want your clients/customers to have.
One way you can achieve this is through testimonials, which can be very powerful (and will help you to achieve more sales)!
In this article, I’m going to cover everything you need to know about client testimonials, including
- why they are so important
- how to obtain them if you run an already established business
- how to obtain them if you run a new business
- the anatomy of a good testimonial
- the different types of testimonials that exist
- where you can use testimonials, and
- how to make the best of the testimonials you’ve been given.
As a bonus, I’ll also mention a few things about how others can help you earn money through referrals, which are different but yet at the same time similar to a testimonial, depending on how you look at them! 😉
NOTE: This topic became of particular interest to me recently, because I was doing some work on my website. I created a new SERVICES OFFERED page, which now divides the four services I offer into four different pages. I also removed the testimonials from each section and gave them their own page!
Why Testimonials are Important
Client testimonials act as social proof – proof that you are who you claim to be, proof that you are trustworthy and honest, and proof that you can deliver what your client/customer wants.
The following three quotes speak to the power of testimonials:
“Testimonials are one of the most effective ways to legitimize your service claims and convince clients to hire you.” ~Hongkiat.com
“Customer testimonials are an essential part of social proof. They let us connect with those that are similar to us (in a similar niche) or those whom we aspire to be (big brands).” ~ Steve Young, Unbounce
“There is much more credibility in the words of other unbiased people than in your own words of self-promotion.” ~ Kim Harrison, Cutting Edge PR
How to Obtain Client Testimonials for Your Established Business
The obvious solution is to simply ask your clients for one, which you can do when you are finished working with them. If they are long-standing clients, you can ask for one once you know they are satisfied with your service.
For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you’ll probably remember that I used to guest blog on a site called Dear Blogger, owned by Greg Narayan.
After working with Greg for about three months, I asked him for a testimonial and headshot image I could use on my website. Naturally, he gave me one. 😉
From Greg Narayan, founder of Dear Blogger:
Creating content online is a lonely business. Not with Lorraine. She brought me out of a classic “blogger’s slump” and took my business to a whole new level. We’re currently working on some big things for bloggers…
I’m not sure what it is — her understanding of audiences, her ability to make a C post an A, or her honesty where others wouldn’t dare — but she is amazing. I recommend you set up a Skype with Lorraine today.
Other ways to obtain testimonials include these three, which I have to credit to Derek Gehl, from Entrepreneur.com:
One easy way to collect testimonials is to include a link on your site with a form that allows your customers to give you their vote of confidence: “Tell us how this product changed your life!” or “Click here to let us know what you think!” Put this link next to some testimonials that you’ve already gathered to give customers an example of the kind of feedback you’re looking for.
A more effective method is to create an autoresponder that contacts your buyers after they’ve purchased your product to ask how they’re enjoying the product, as well as giving them a chance to offer feedback on their experience with your business.
And, of course, anytime you receive a great letter or e-mail from a customer, ask them if you can use their comments on your website to recommend your product to others. If they were happy enough to let you know, they’re bound to want to spread the word.
One thing to remember, however, is to ALWAYS ask permission to use a client testimonial on your website.
How To Obtain Client Testimonials for a New Business
If you are just starting out and your business is new, don’t fret! You can still obtain testimonials about the product(s) and/or service(s) your business offers!
- You can give your product/service away for free to a select group of people in exchange for a testimonial. As your customers are using your product/service, ask for feedback. When they say something really positive, suggest that they include that feedback in their testimonial.
- Ask to use a snippet of an email conversation. Often, people will say something in an email that you can use as a testimonial. Select a line or two and ask if you can use it as a quote.
- When someone says something nice about you or your business on social media, you can take a screenshot of their comment to use as an endorsement. You can go a step further and let them know of your plans to use it as a testimonial. Most people won’t mind, and some of them may even offer to write you a better one! Be sure to make note of the date and any other pertinent information about their comment if it is not evident in the screenshot.
“The key word with testimonials is “ask.” Keep asking and you will get a lot of testimonials. Ask for testimonials at every opportunity, and quote the best ones. In this way you don’t have to promote yourself; you can let the other person promote you.” ~Kim Harrison, Consultant, Author and Principal of Cutting Edge PR
The Anatomy of a Good Testimonial
Good testimonials put the reader in the shoes of your client. They also offer a relevant message, and are filled with benefits.
Good testimonials come from real people (not figments of your imagination!) and are authentic and informative, not vague.
Good testimonials are generally accompanied by pictures or headshots of the people giving them.
Good testimonials are enclosed in quotations.
Good testimonials provide the date on which they were given.
Good testimonials should also address a problem, then provide a solution.
“Good testimonials don’t just capture the end result. They capture the struggles and objections at the beginning, too.” ~Alex Turnbull, CEO & Founder of Groove
“A good testimonial substantiates your claims. If you say your product can do something, your testimonials should back up your promises, complete with actual facts and figures.” ~Derek Gehl, Entrepreneur.com
Not every testimonial you receive will meet these criteria, but that’s okay. As long as they meet most of them, they will be viewed by others as a testament to your products/services, and abilities.
Types of Testimonials
There are several different types of testimonials, including:
- Video testimonials
- Photo testimonials
- Written Testimonials
Written testimonials are the most popular ones.
Where Use Testimonials
Testimonials should be used as an essential part of your marketing plan.
You can use testimonials in a variety of places:
- on your website
- in emails
- in your newsletters
- in brochures and/or flyers
- on sales pages
- in newspaper and/or magazine advertisements
- in postcards
- in videos
- in podcasts, and
- anywhere else you do marketing for your business
“Once you’ve got some testimonials to share with your visitors, you need to make sure you’re putting them to the best possible use on your site. Always make sure that you:
- Include your best testimonials front and center on your homepage, like in your sidebars, or even above your headline.
- Place some testimonials right in the middle of your homepage sales copy to keep your readers focused on your credibility as you outline the features and benefits of your product.
- Set up a whole page dedicated to your glowing testimonials, as well as including snippets of their comments throughout your site. Be sure to put a link to your testimonial page next to each of those snippets.
- Include testimonials on each and every page of your website. No matter where your visitors click, you want them to find a positive customer review of your product or service.” ~Derek Gehl, Entrepreneur.com
“It’s best to sprinkle testimonials all over your site.” ~Danny Zadoff, Capterra B2B Marketing Blog
How to Make the Most of Your Client Testimonials
1. Don’t be afraid of long testimonials, but use shorter quotes if you can.
Ten pithy testimonials are more powerful than three long ones. Use longer testimonials as case studies or success stories to harness their power.
2. Tailor Your Testimonials to Your Audience
This is fairly self-explanatory.
Because I offer a variety of services, including writing and editing, I wouldn’t show a testimonial about my editing skills to the clients who hire me to write for them… and vice versa! Instead, I would refer potential clients who want me to write for them to a page that includes testimonials about my writing abilities.
3. Select testimonials that provide specific information.
If I wanted to highlight the fact that I have “an eagle eye,” I would refer potential editing clients to all of the testimonials I’ve received which mention my eagle eye or my attention to detail, such as the ones I from authors Melissa Bowersock and Karen Dodd, as evidenced in the following screenshot, taken from the recommendations I received on BookVetter:
4. Don’t edit the testimonials you are given.
Keep them genuine, even if they contain grammatical errors. If there is something that absolutely must be changed, ask the provider to make the changes. Don’t make them yourself!
If you and the person giving you a testimonial both have accounts on LinkedIn, it is a good idea to ask for a testimonial in the form of a recommendation. Once the testimonial (recommendation) is given, LinkedIn allows you to request a change (or changes), if there is something unsatisfactory with the first one provided to you.
Be cautious, however, if you decide to request a change, and be specific about what you’d like changed. If the change is minor, most people won’t mind making it, but if you ask for too much, you risk irritating the provider… and you certainly don’t want that!
Proof of the Power of Testimonials
Although I have received many testimonials from a variety of people, there is one particular person who I have helped immensely, have formed a very close relationship with, and who sings praises about me all the time.
First I edited a blog post for his amusement ride brokering site.
Then I did some website work for him.
Then I edited his e-book, Leading You Out Of The Darkness Into The Light: A Blind Man’s Inspirational Guide to Success.
Then I helped him turn it into a print book.
When I edited his blog post, he sent me an email that said:
you rock! you turned a good post into something really special. I have never had a post that is 7 ways or 9 things before. the additions you made are perfect.
When I was finished editing his book, Max emailed me and said:
hi lorraine; i just read through the book and i am thoroughly impressed with the work you have done on it. you managed to weave the idea of walking a path and taking steps throughout the document. you reworked the sections to where they make more sense and are more organized. there is a word or two here or there that i might not have used but there are a lot more places where the phrase you used was better than what i had.
Naturally, these are excerpts from our private discussions and I have Max’s permission to use them. 😉
Although Max paid me for my services, he was also very grateful for the help I gave him.
Max’s Praise Knows No Bounds
Max has mentioned my name many times across the web, from blog posts to comments to the many recommendations on Facebook, namely the ones given in Pat Flynn’s group, Pat’s First Kindle Book (From Start to Finish).
Take a look at the many nice things he has said about me:
Here is another one he gave me, the very next day:
The following month, Max gave me another one:
The next month, Max mentioned me again, too:
What is really awesome is that one of these people, Dave Chesson, chose me as his editor. What’s even more awesome is that Dave ended up recommending me to another person!
As you can see, eventually, word gets around.
As a result of these recommendations, I ended up with two new editing projects, which proves that testimonials are powerful and can definitely lead to more sales/clients/customers. 🙂 They did in my case!
Testimonials and Referrals
Offering an incentive to others can help you increase your sales. This is the basis of affiliate marketing, and is used worldwide. Practically every blogger I know earns money through referrals made to others! I even have an a few affiliate links of my own. By promoting others’ products, both parties make money, which is better than each party earning nothing at all!
I earn money whenever someone purchases Gina Horkey’s course, 30 Days or Less to Freelancing Writing Success.
I also earn money by helping Adrienne Smith sell her course on how to build a blog community.
I earn money through AdSense. I earn money from my web host, Abivia. I earn money through donations. I earn money by selling my books. And I earn money through selling my services and products to others.
(Yeah, I’ve come a long way since buying my laptop in January of 2013!) 😉
To grow my editing business, I gave away free editing each month for about four months. I set up a page that explained how people could win. I linked to that page at the beginning and end of every blog post I wrote. (I have since removed them all links, as the offer no longer stands).
I don’t give away services for free anymore. I’m an established business, and I know what my time is now worth. However, I still keep my rates competitive and fair. Because I’m now more business-oriented, my income is steadily increasing each month. 🙂
But don’t despair. Keep reading for a special offer!
BONUS: Refer a Friend and Get a Discount?
Everyone likes to save money, right?
I thought so. 😉
When you offer discount incentives to your clients, you can not only earn more money but help your clients save money.
An example of a discount incentive is: Refer a friend and save 10% off your next order!
Another example is: For the month of ____, each person who you refer to me and subsequently becomes a client will earn you a 15% discount off your next order!
From these two examples, I think you get the point. 😉
In the spirit of helping you save some money, I’d like to offer you the following discount:
If you hire me for any one of the four services I offer in the month of May 2015, I will give you a whopping 20% discount off the total price!
(I know that this has nothing to do with the whole “refer a friend” concept, but I think it’s a great incentive nonetheless! And if you know of a few people who can benefit from my services, all you have to do is share this post with them and they will still receive a discount. I’m sure they would appreciate you for that!) 😉
What are your thoughts on testimonials?
I’d love to hear them.
Do you use testimonials on your website? Why or why not?
If you don’t use them already, are you going to start?
Do you think testimonials help others?
Share your responses to these questions in the comments!
And don’t forget to share this post on your favourite social media networks. 😉
Testimonial Keyboard image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Refer a Friend Keyboard image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net