How and why you should use testimonials in your business

Backstage: Debut Marketing Blog

How and why you should use testimonials in your business

Have you ever met someone for the first time and been told a story that was so far-fetched that you didn’t know whether to believe it or not? And it wasn’t until someone came along and validated their story that you thought, “Yeah ok, it must be true…”?

It’s no different in your marketing materials. You can say whatever you like, but the words will only ever come from you, and not everyone will buy into what you are saying, until they see supporting evidence.

A testimonial from someone who has used your services, is often the supporting evidence that a prospective customer is looking for, before they take the leap of faith and use your services.

Did you know that 90% of people trust recommendations from people they know, and that 70% of people trust the opinions of strangers posted online? (Neilsen, 2009) By this I mean, what people say in forums, on review sites like TripAdvisor, and even comments on Facebook. So, if 70% of people are willing to believe people’s opinions online, it’s safe to assume they will believe a testimonial written about your business.

So, how do you get testimonials for your business? You ask for them.

How to ask for a testimonial

When you ask for a testimonial, not only does it give you feedback, it also gets the customer thinking about what they loved about your service or product, which may actually encourage them to tell this to others.

Here are 4 ways to ask for a testimonial:

  1. When someone is praising you, why not strike while the iron is hot and ask them if they would consider putting their praises in writing and ask them for a written testimonial.
  2. At the end of the job, when you are confirming that everything is completed and the client is happy with the work done, this a a great opportunity to ask for a testimonial.
  3. Issuing a feedback form to new clients is a great way to instigate a testimonial. Not only will you get feedback from your customers, you will also show them that you are committed to making your service the best it can be. Why not ask for comments or a testimonial at the end of the feedback form?
  4. You can also request a testimonial for a specific purpose. For example, you might send out a newsletter in which you feature recent work, or recent customers. In the lead up to your next newsletter, ask specific customers if they would be willing to provide a testimonial for your newsletter. This gives you a reason to ask for a testimonial, a timeframe for them to provide it to you, and in this case it also gives the customer the opportunity to get some exposure for their own business.

How to write a testimonial

If you are ever asked to write a testimonial for someone, it is important to be as specific as possible. A good testimonial will answer these five questions:

  1. What problem were you having, to require the services of a professional?
  2. Why did you choose to use the services of this company?
  3. How did this person/business solve your problem/help you achieve your goals?
  4. What impressed you most about this company?
  5. Who would you recommend this company to?

So, next time you write a testimonial, use these questions to structure your testimonial.

These questions can also be useful if you ever find yourself writing a testimonial on behalf of a customer. We all know how valuable time is. It is common for a customer to agree to provide you with a testimonial when asked, on the proviso that you write it for them. So…

What if someone asks you to write it for them?

It’s simple. All you need to do is ask the person the questions above, and draft a testimonial using their answers. Then send it to them and ask them to make any changes they like and approve it.

How to use testimonials

Testimonials give you credibility and act as supporting evidence to your marketing messages, so use them wherever and whenever you can. Common places you might use testimonials are:

  • Website,
  • Newsletter,
  • Brochures,
  • Proposals,
  • You could even print them out for yourself to look over when you are having a bad day.

Do you have any other tips on how and a why businesses should use testimonials? Or, do you have a story about how a testimonial has helped your business? Please share. :) Leave a comment below.

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