The value of testimonials

Do you request testimonials from your clients? If you don’t, you probably should.

Recommendations from satisfied customers are a very compelling way to demonstrate the good qualities of your services or products.  Asking for them may be awkward at first, but believe me, it’s worth the effort and it gets easier. Promise them something in return – if they have a web-based business, give them an inbound link by posting their testimonial along with their website address.

When to Ask

The best time to ask for a testimonial is debatable, but for me I’ve found that doing it right as the project is concluding works best – during a prelaunch training session is a good time to raise the question, and then I’ll follow up on it when I send out a final ‘thank you’ for doing business with Red Kite. And don’t forget – testimonials don’t have to be written; you can also choose to record video or audio testimonials.

I’d estimate that about 80% of clients respond quickly with a very valuable sentence or two, but some will write a few paragraphs. Some clients promise they’ll write but it takes a while for them to get around to it, and some don’t respond. Since clients that don’t respond are no less likely to use my services again than those who do, I don’t take it personally – I hope they’re so busy they just don’t have the time!

What to Do With Them, Once You Have Them

Use them on your website, in your marketing materials, even in your monthly newsletter. Getting them on your website may take a little work depending on the type of website you have. If you’re using a content management system like WordPress, you can find a plugin to make it easy.

Most of the ‘rotating quotes’-type plugins will provide a widget that you can add to any pages. You’ll add your new testimonial (often in a very easy format, like typing in Word) and then the widget will automatically rotate testimonials when a visitor comes to that page. Getting audio or video testimonials onto your site is also pretty straightforward after you do any editing that’s needed beforehand.

If you’re not using a CMS, there are other scripts and tools that you can use to the same purpose – it’ll just be a little harder to get it going and add new recommendations.

Testimonials are the voices of pleased customers – they speak on your behalf. It’s a vote of confidence for your company.

Most satisfied clients are happy to spend a few minutes to provide you with this valuable bit of content; do yourself a favor and start collecting them if you’re not already doing so, and then learn how to get them out there working for your business.