Everyone loves a good testimonial…but is your business really capitalizing on all the benefits and power of testimonials? Do you know where to place them in your website or social media? And how do you even get them?
From my experience, most business owners consider the testimonial as a bonus—awesome, but no required. But have you ever considered how a testimonial demonstrates social proof, credibility, expertise, and customer service? That’s a lot of bang for such a tiny buck.
When it comes to businesses, both large and small, a lot depends on word of mouth. If all your testimonials say “you suck,” then chances are any new customers looking at your company are going to keep looking elsewhere, no matter how incredible your products actually are.
Why? Because people will almost always believe other people before they will believe the business owner. We’re biased. Of course we love our businesses! But a client or customer will assume that another client or customer has no ulterior motive in supplying their review. Testimonials will always win.
- Social Proof: Have you ever tried a restaurant because your sister said it was good? Probably. That’s Social Proof. Someone else vouched for the business, so you feel more comfortable trying it.
- Credibility: Are you more likely to buy the Amazon product with 1,000 reviews, or the one with no reviews? Yeah…thought so.
- Expertise and Problem Solving: Before and After pics are great at showing how you and your business solved a problem by being the best of the best.
- Customer Service and Likability: We all love a feel-good story. Great testimonials can supply a human connection that’s usually lacking in traditional marketing and advertising you would do on your own.
How do you use a testimonial?
If you take away nothing else from this article, take away this:
A testimonial is good to no one, if no one ever sees it.
Yes, a great testimonial will give you, the owner, all the warm and fuzzies, but aside from the ego-boost, it will do little else if you don’t share it.
Disclaimer: I have had many clients who didn’t want to share their testimonials with the world (as the owner of a few fitness studios, I had lots of Before/After photos, but very few clients who actually wanted those posted around the internet). Be sure you have explicit permission to use a testimonial, especially if it contains personal information. I always ask if I can use it, and if I can use their name and a picture. Sometimes they say yes, sometimes, no, but I always respect their answer.
Assuming you have full permission to use testimonials, where do you use them? Honestly, everywhere, anywhere, all the time!
- One your website homepage
- As a Social Media post
- On a service or product page
- On your sales page
- In an email newsletter
- On a Funding page
- In a video (video testimonials are amazing!)
- On an event poster
- On a brochure
- On a dedicated Testimonial page
- On a blog post 👇
What makes a good testimonial?
Not all testimonials are created equal. You’ll want a mix of long and short, as well as situation specific (i.e. some that talk about customer service, some that talk about specific products or services, etc.).
Here are some of my best practice tips for testimonials:
- Get them right away. If a client is in front of you raving about a product or staff interaction, ask them (yes, straight-up ask) if they would write a testimonial. Usually, the answer is yes!
- Get pictures and videos. Not every client will want their face out there, but ask them to send you a picture…or ask if you can take their picture for the testimonial (you have a phone)…or better yet, ask if they would be ok with you videoing a testimonial. Seeing someone’s face helps the client connect and visualize with what you’re selling.
- Make sure they are legitimate. People can sniff out a fake a mile away, so make sure the testimonials coming in are 100% truthful and accurate.
- Correct grammar. When appropriate, correct any grammatical mistakes on a testimonial. If a client misuses “you’re,” be nice and give them the benefit of the doubt.
- Ask. Make a list of your clients, colleagues, contractors, etc., and ASK THEM FOR A TESTIMONIAL! People are busy, they have a lot to do, and they aren’t thinking about you and your business. If there is something specific you want them to talk about (that time we did that thing that place), then ask them specifically to speak on that. There’s no shame in a little prompting.
What do you do if you are just starting a business?
Hooray! You’ve just started a new business! Does that mean you won’t have testimonials for six months? No! I’m willing to bet that you didn’t wake up yesterday, decide to sell snowboards, and then started your business today.
You worked hard, maybe for years, learning about your industry, working for other people, seeing a problem, and finding a solution. You have experience and people can vouch for you.
Maybe they can’t attest to your ACTUAL, current business, but they can rave about your knowledge, or explain how you helped them with a problem, or talk about your passion. There is no one subject that a testimonial HAS to cover.
So, if you feel like your business is too new to get reviews, think instead about who has actually worked WITH you and get them to speak out about your customer service, etc.
Don’t underestimate the power of testimonials! Go, right now, and ask for one!
Hey, can I get a testimonial? 😉