Testimonials from happy clients who can evidence the awesome results or outcome that you generated from them, regardless of what you offer, is easily the best form of marketing.
Websites, SEO, pay per click ads, social media, events, webinars — everything else is still 100% useful to generate leads, prospects & customers to any business.
But testimonials make the job that much easier.
Any business can put a load of money behind ads and spam the world claiming they’re amazing. And they will get some customers from that.
But more people will buy and much sooner, if they had more confidence in you and some evidence that you will deliver what you claim.
That’s where Testimonials come into play. Having testimonials in place means you can also prove that you do what you say in all of your marketing — and the more detail on the kind of results the clients get only adds to that.
Sure, they’ll also be a small number who will always doubt the legitimacy of the testimonials, and with good reason. Sadly fake reviews and testimonials are still a problem. Integrity gets pushed aside to focus on making more money in some businesses, which is sad. But I digress.
Getting testimonials will work wonders for your business and shortly I’ll talk about how to capture them. But what about startups and entrepreneurs who haven’t obtained their first client yet?
In that case, I recommend something I do and have done myself in my own brand ‘The Marketeer’ that I’m slowly growing.
You don’t need paying clients to get testimonials — just offer to do work for several clients 100% free. In exchange, they agree at the time to provide you with a glowing reference and testimonial.
Now I know what you’re thinking — Startups need money, they can’t afford to do work for free. Well quite frankly, they can’t afford not to. Testimonials are SO valuable, and are worth way more than hours of work you’re doing instead for free. Testimonials last forever too, so any money you may ‘miss’ out on doing work for free is easily repaid in the years of service that testimonial does for you. It has an amazing ROI Startups should not miss out on.
So agree to do some work for free — get the testimonials — and use them!
Startups will start getting paying clients in no time. Oh, and of course when you’re doing the work for free, don’t hold back. Give it your all, and over deliver every single time.
Back to today’s topic — how to capture the testimonials. It’s one thing to get clients (paying or otherwise), but it’s another to get a testimonial out of them. Usually, if you over deliver, give amazing value and give an outstanding client experience, clients will become raving fans and would happily give testimonials — some may even offer you them before you even have chance to ask!
But others will be hesitant — and that’s only natural and it’s really OK. The biggest objection you’ll face is how you get the testimonial — some will be shy with certain ways of getting testimonials. I know I would, and many of you reading will be the same too!
Luckily there are 5 different ways of capturing testimonials, and they’ll be at least 1 to suit any and all clients. Let’s dive in and take a look;
Video is arguably the most powerful form of testimonial as it shows the genuine client expressing their thoughts & feelings on the service & experienced received. The key here is seeing the clients emotion as they explain how their lives and some aspect of their live has been changed thanks to you.
Of the 5, video is unfortunately the hardest testimonial to receive. Not only does the client have to be comfortable on camera, they also have to be easily accessible for your team to go come and film them. If you run events for your clients as a bonus or as part of the service you offer, that is a great way of recording them!
One way of getting around the accessibility issue is asking clients to film themselves at home — and it doesn’t matter if the quality is not too high. If anything it adds to it’s authenticity.
As for any hesitation and shyness which many clients understandably have, there isn’t a lot you can do. You can try to reassure them, put together a script or fixed questions to make it as easy as possible.
Or just offer them one of the other 4 alternatives…
Written is the most common form of testimonial as it’s the easier to obtain — there is no accessibility issue or hesitation and shyness. It’s just easy to do, and can be done in many ways — email, a letter, a feedback form, a card etc.
Plus many written testimonials are unplanned — it could be an email a client sends thanking your team for the awesome job they’re doing.
If the written testimonial has been handwritten on a letter, card, form etc — then don’t just write the words up onto a document and put it on your website.
Scan or take a good photo of the writing — this will add to how genuine it is, plus it further reinforces how good of a job you’ve done for the client if they’ve gone to the trouble of writing and sending a letter or card.
3. Written – Facebook, Google etc.
Thirdly is again written but on Facebook, other social medias, Google or review websites.
These are just as genuine as other written testimonials, but with the added bonus that you don’t need to do a lot of work to get the testimonial out in the public because it already is.
And they’re that bit easier than other written testimonials too — so asking for a client to do one will be that bit more successful.
Now onto two less common but still effective testimonial types;
4. 1:1 Conversation
Of the 5, this is the least planned. This testimonial is literally as part of a conversation you team has with a client, they compliment, thank them etc for their service.
These are easy to miss, but if a team member has been trained they need to ask the client if the business can quote them on that — they will either say no (no reason why they would) or agree to either send you a written testimonial instead or let you write your own version and send to them for approval.
Opportunities to grab this kind of testimonial are usually obvious, when a client is very happy during or near the end of their journey with you.
If there is doubt over how happy a client is, or if there is the slightest sign they are displeased at all or are just in a bad place right now — train your team to not push for any kind of testimonial or quote.
This is the least common of the 5 but still has it’s place. Audio testimonials can be obtained at the same situations as you get video, but is more ideal for hesitant and shy clients.
Audio by itself it harder to publicise so it’s recommended to put the audio onto a video which has subtitles and other relevant images/video — just not of the client!
An important note to make however is to ALWAYS receive permission from any client if you’re going to use their testimonial, regardless of which of the 5 types you will be using. Also, don’t try to approach clients who you served years ago for a testimonial unless you’re still working with them.
Before we end, one other tip — the second biggest objection to giving testimonials is any risk of the clients information being available to the public. Reassure them and simply change their names or don’t even use a name in testimonials. That doesn’t make them any less legitimate.
P.S. Stay tuned for a future post where I’m going to be going over the 3 steps that need to be included in all testimonials to ensure they’re the best and most effective they possibly can be.