Testimonials, eh. Who needs em?
Well…lots of people do.
If you have a website for your business, and you don’t have testimonials, you are like Popeye without his spinach. You have good intentions, but you don’t have the extra strength to really get things done.
Of course, without Spinach, Popeye is still OK. He can function, he can get by. But he is no hero. Without testimonials on your website, you might survive as a business, but you probably won’t thrive…
Are Testimonials Really Necessary?
Just ask yourself – if you go on Amazon to buy something, what’s the first thing you’ll look at? Reviews.
If you are surfing the web to have some manual work done in your home – what do you look for? Recommendations.
Reviews, testimonials, recommendations – we all seek reassurance in them. We might even skip past the good ones just to see if there are any bad ones.
Other people are sources of information for us. They can tell us whether this product or service is actually any good or not. Reading their testimonials builds trust in your business.
Once trust is built, someone is far more likely to hand over their cash in exchange for your product or service. If there is no trust, there is usually no sale.
The Perfect Testimonial.
The above isn’t a great testimonial. And it is made up, so it can’t be used anywhere.
This terrible made up testimonial demonstrates what a great testimonial should be…
- Detailed and personal to the customer’s experience, explaining how they benefitted.
- From a real human being.
Detailed and Personal
“The service was great. I had the smoked haddock and it was the best I ever had.”
This is a far sight better than:
“Was a good night, cheers”.
A testimonial should show the specifics of someone’s experience, because it shows that it is real. It shows the positive elements of the experience have really stuck in someone’s mind, which then stick in the reader’s mind. Details are key. How have they been helped?
This is obvious, but this should also be said: never make up your testimonials. This is illegal, risky risky business, and it might come round to later bite you in the rear.
It is ideal to have a testimonial from “Raymond Bandwidth, CEO of Bandwidth Media”, rather than from “Mr B.”, for example.
Make it as real as possible.
A note to Raymond: if you are reading, we didn’t know you were a real person, sorry.
The Testimonial Framework
If you ever ask for testimonials, it is good to always suggest what people could mention.
How was the service? What was the outcome? How were you benefitted? These are all good questions to ask.
You could even lay out a framework for someone to add to, so they don’t have to think about what to write. Sometimes “thinking about what to write” makes people wait, delay, put-off, and eventually forget that they were going to ever write a good testimonial.
If you own a restaurant, for example, you could hand out a piece of paper with the bill at the end of the meal. It might read:
Did you enjoy the meal? Please leave us a testimonial for our website!
Please give us a mark out of ten:
How was the food? What did you have?
Can We Use Your Testimonial on Your Website? Yes/No
Permission to use someone’s words is always crucial, especially with the recent GDPR hullabaloo.
This form-method could also be a way to get valuable feedback for your service. “What could we do better?” could be another section to add.
The fearful business owner might tremble at the thought of this. “But what if they write a bad review?” they ask.
In this case, it’s fine, because you don’t have to publish it, and you will then know exactly how you can improve your business. It’s a win-win.
Of course this method is not only for restaurants. Every business could hand out a similar form, perhaps via email newsletter, as a form directly on their website, or straight after a service is provided. If people are happy with what you have done, they usually don’t mind saying so.
Remember, though – the legal system forbids giving incentives for reviews these days. “Write me a good testimonial and I’ll give you a chocolate biscuit” is no longer a legal saying. It was never a popular one anyway.
But the same goes for things like coupons and free gifts, of course. The incentives aren’t limited to just biscuits.
Location Location Location!
Forget the TV series. If you have great testimonials, make them obvious on your website.
You want people to see them clearly and early. We often give our clients’ business websites a dedicated “Testimonials” page to satisfy their customers’ need for reassurance.
If you can’t manage a dedicated page, make sure they stand out among the rest of your website’s content.
Get Those Testimonials!
If you are friendly with your customers, call them, let them know why you need testimonials and how it helps your business
Send out a testimonial request in an email newsletter, or hand out physical testimonial forms for people to fill in.
Don’t be afraid to ask!
The worst that can happen is that someone does not give you a testimonial. If that doesn’t happen, you either gain a great testimonial to promote your business, or you learn how you can improve. You have nothing to lose!