In a recent post, Tooting Your Horn Without Sounding Off-Key, I touched on the value of client testimonials and some of the ways you can collect them from clients. Compiling testimonials is only half of the process, though. Once you have them, you need to use them, and use them effectively.
Here are some ways to get and use testimonials from your clients.
The key to getting testimonials is asking for them. In my experience, clients who are happy with the service you provide are usually more than willing to provide a testimonial for you, but you need to initiate the request.
Some formats for requesting testimonials include:
- Letters of recommendation – This is a very formal process, usually used when applying for membership in a certain professional organization, as a speaker for a conference, or another structured activity.
- E-mail testimonials – How many times have you received an e-mail from a client, telling you how happy they are with your work? This can be one of the easiest testimonial formats to gather. Just ask the client for permission to use their compliments first.
- Audio or video testimonials – Potential clients love to see and hear real people talking about their experience in their own words. This can be an extremely effective format if your clients are willing to record their testimonials.
- Form-based testimonials – Providing a standard testimonial form to clients is one way to facilitate testimonials, request specific information and make it easier for clients to provide feedback.
- LinkedIn recommendations – Asking for recommendations through a third-party service such as LinkedIn is an easy way to give clients a chance to provide their feedback (after you’ve reviewed it) in a public forum.
It’s also important to ask your clients if you can use their contact information, or at least their name and website URL, when you display their testimonial. A testimonial with a clear credit can have a lot more impact than a recommendation that isn’t attributed to anyone identifiable.
There are a number of ways to use your testimonials once you have collected them from clients. Here are a few ideas:
- Website – Create a testimonials page on your website or strategically place them throughout your site. If you have audio and video testimonials, you can also use a service that will help you integrate the media files right on your site. Two services for this are AudioAcrobat and Bubble Testimonial.
- E-mail signatures/marketing – Consider including a short testimonial at the bottom of your e-mail signature, or using them throughout any e-mail marketing mailings you do.
- Proposals – Create a testimonial sheet that you include at the end of your proposals.
- Marketing materials – If you frequently send out brochures or other printed materials, sprinkle your marketing pieces with testimonials to encourage potential clients to choose you.
- Personal motivation – We all have challenging days when we need a boost. Create a motivation wall in your office that includes testimonials so you’re reminded that tomorrow is another day.
How do you ask clients for testimonials and what do you do with them?
Image credit: Ivan Prole