We’ve all been there. You need to have some work done on your home, and you want the job done well and for a price that will not break the budget. So, you start asking your friends about which company to call and before long, you’ve heard about several contractors-some of which received rave reviews and other comments warning of those companies to avoid. As long as there is commerce, this will be the case.
Consequently, it is vital that you do all that you can to promote your business in a positive manner. In the end, what your clients, customers and even your competition has to say about you and how you do business can make, or break, you. Pleased customers result in referrals and repeat business; unhappy customers mean your competitor’s business will improve, and nobody wants to lose money to the competition!
When it comes to building your business through word of mouth marketing with tools like social media and client testimonials, keep in mind the words of King Solomon, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” (Prov. 25:11) King Solomon’s wisdom was renowned – both then and now. And although this verse is not typically used to reference client testimonials, it is no less true in this application. After all, having well-presented and informative client testimonials is a great way to let others know who you are and what you do.
Of course, there is more to positive client testimonials than just asking your customer base to write something about your company. You want those testimonials to be effective. Here are 9 ways to have client testimonials that boost your business:
- Choose clients to write for you. Most people are happy to take a few minutes to tell others when they have received great service. However, in selecting customers to provide client testimonials be sure that they are people who have been with you for a reasonable amount of time, as they will better understand what your company is about.
- Ask these clients to address a specific aspect of your work. Rather than getting dozens of testimonials talking about how great your product is but very little about your service or personnel, ask some of them to talk about your products, others to talk about your customer service, and perhaps others to address how your products have helped them. Also, ask that their testimonials be specific. Vagueness in a testimonial indicates that the person does not truly understand who you are or what it is you do.
- Keep the testimonials interesting! Remember, not all testimonials have to be in written form. Consider having someone record an interview – either a video or sound byte-to post on your site. Today’s technology makes it easy to get impromptu customer reviews. If you are talking to a pleased client, ask them if you could record them via your cell phone. Another unique testimonial format would be to create a report card where clients can grade you on services, products, PR, etcetera. If you want a more widely acknowledged form of client testimonial, sign up for RatePoint. (Page Progressive can help with that!)
- Keep it short! Testimonials do not have to be long persuasive paragraphs or ten minute recordings. Three or four well-written sentences or a quality two to three minute recording is enough.
- Follow the Rules. Depending on the nature of your business there may be specific guidelines that you need to follow for client testimonials. In addition, be sure you follow any applicable FTC regulations. Also, in the interest of protecting your reputation, be sure that if you use paid testimonials from 3rd party companies/actors that you state that information on your site.
- Make sure that the testimonial is believable. Many consumers adhere to the adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
- Freebies- Give away samples of new products or discounts on new services. Most people do not want to be the guinea pig so getting to try something free goes a long way towards building customer loyalty and obtaining great reviews.
- Whenever possible, include a picture of the client who gave you the review. Of course, keep in mind that some people are camera-shy and would prefer to not be “seen.” Also, after including a client testimonial, take the time to send a personal note or make a phone call thanking the person for their input and support. Good manners go a long way!
- Look for ways to turn negatives into positives. For instance, do you charge more for a particular service than your competitor does? Then ask a client to explain why they still choose you for the job. They might write/say something like, “Company A’s rates may be higher than another companies, but their service and quality of work is exceptional.”
Once you have your client testimonials, there are several ways you can use them to your advantage. These options include, but are not limited to:
- Posting them on your Linked In or Facebook page
- Using them in sales letters/e-mailshots
- Including them in your printed materials
- Placing them in your e-mail signature. if possible, have a series of client testimonials that you can change out on a regular basis
However, you should not put all the testimonials in one place/on a single page. Rather, spread out the testimonials throughout your website so that they can be more effective.
Positive client reviews are the lifeblood of any business. Don’t be afraid to ask customers for their input. Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to promote who you are and what your company does. And while golden apples and silver pictures may not land in your lap, positive testimonials will result in a healthier business and more clients.