The world of testimonials is changing and with it are some incredible opportunities to strengthen your credibility in the marketplace. But the very first question I need to ask you is,
“Are you even collecting testimonials?”
Don’t panic if the answer is NO. Most of us aren’t as diligent as we can be in the collection process. The main reason I hear is that people feel they need to ask for them. While this certainly is one way, there are some other ways I find work extremely well.
1) RECAP – My favorite way to capture a strong testimonial is when someone has shared a success with me verbally. When this happens to you, ask them right then and there if you could quote them for a testimonial. When the answer is yes, take 2 minutes to type out the testimonial as you heard it. Put it into an email to the source along with any other info you require (like a result or the link to their site, etc). Ask them to confirm that this is correct and “ta da” you have your testimonial.
2) FEEDBACK FORMS – Once you have finished working with a customer, send them out a feedback form regarding the experience. Add questions, like “how would you describe this experience to a friend” or “what is the biggest result/benefit you received?” When you get some great responses, go back and ask if you can use this as a testimonial.
3) TESTIMONIAL PARTIES – I love connecting people so the idea of a testimonial party really appeals to me. I got this idea from John Jantsch with Duct Tape Marketing and can’t wait to try it out. Consider renting a videographer and asking individuals to record a structured testimonial or asking the videographer to approach attendees and capture testimonials.
4) PHONE IN TESTIMONIAL – Do you have an extra extension you can set up on your phone system, or perhaps just have individuals leave a voice mail message on your phone. Either way your message or instructions can direct them as to what type of information they need to include and then you can either transcribe or use as audio samples on your site!
Capturing Killer Testimonials
Okay, so now you know how to collect them. My next question to you is how strong are your testimonials? Those that simply say you’re great or your product is great are what I call “VANILLA” or washed out testimonials. Avoid run of the mill and aim for RESULTS and testimonials that point out what makes you different or better than others in your industry. In order to garner stronger testimonials, you need to ASK for this type of information. Consider encouraging your sources to share the following:
Why they chose you
What they were expecting
What they ended up getting
How that helped them and/or exceeded their expectations.
Why would they recommend others should work with you?
Answers to questions like this will get you some KILLER TESTIMONIALS!
Types of Testimonials
While text emails are great, these days it’s becoming a no-brainer to add audio and video testimonials as well. The technology has made this super easy. Digital Recorders and VOIP phone systems will conveniently record in MP3 or WAV formats. Inexpensive Digital Video Cameras are on the market to record your own video testimonials and services from companies like BizBoxTV have made it cost effective to get nicely produced videos as well. When your product or service is emotion based or complex, I highly encourage you to use audio and video!
Of course your testimonials should go on your website. But I hope you don’t hide them under some lame tab called testimonials! Be creative. Pepper them throughout your website, or rotate them in your header or along one side. At the very least, change the name of the tab, to “What OTHERS have to say”
Remember to also use your testimonials in promotional pieces and sales presentations. Why not add them to your email signature or even to your business card? The opportunities are endless and remember: we always gain more credibility when OTHERS say we’re great!
Cidnee Stephen is the owner of Strategies for Success – a marketing company that focuses on the needs of budget-minded small businesses and professional services. She has helped hundreds of small businesses get out of their peak and valley ruts to finally achieve that next vital level of success. Cidnee is also a sought-after speaker, writer and blogger on marketing topics that affect small businesses and B2B service based operations.
If you would like to build a system to reach those goals quicker, check out Cindee’s Speak for Leads & Expertise Program.