Testimonials – why you should use them

You should never look a gift horse in the mouth – especially if the horse has something good to say.

When it comes to marketing your business, no-one says it better than a happy customer. Client testimonials, which are ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ are pure gold. Disclaimer: When they’re done well.

(The opposite also applies. When client testimonials suck, they can suck the life out of your brand.)

A testimonial is the online equivalent of ‘word of mouth’, making it a valuable social media marketing tool. Which is why Instagram launched branded content ads last week (read more on this here).

Testimonials . . .

  • Build credibility and trust
  • Humanise your brand
  • Make your brand relatable
  • Create an emotional connection

But, while authenticity is important, you still need to put some thought into testimonials and how you use them. For instance, if you receive a complimentary email from a happy customer, don’t just plaster it all over social media without asking them first.

Asking a client for a testimonial comes with its own protocol. Yes, you want new business, but you also want to make sure you are keeping your existing customers happy.

Here are our top 5 tips for client testimonials:

1. Strike while the iron’s hot

If you know you have a happy customer, it’s best to approach them while it’s fresh in their mind and they are still enamoured with you. The same applies if they email you or say something nice about you on Facebook. Get in touch straight away, thank them for their feedback and ask if you can share it. Asking customers for testimonials can also have the added effect of making them feel appreciated, flattered even.

2. Give prompts

Being asked to write a testimonial can be daunting. Especially if you don’t consider yourself to be a writer. Providing customers with a set of questions can really help. But keep it short, or you will overwhelm them. For example:

What did you like most about our product/service?
What made our product/service stand out from others?
What’s the main reason you would recommend us?

3. Keep it real

Don’t be tempted to change the wording of a testimonial. The value lies in it being the customer’s voice, not yours. By all means correct grammar and spelling. And if it’s too long it might need editing down to size. But always let the customer know if you’ve made any changes and why. NEVER EVER make a testimonial up.

4. Put a face to the name

Not everyone is happy to be put in front of the camera, but if you can, a photo or video of a happy customer brings authenticity and relatability to a testimonial. And, like the content, keep the images real. Don’t over-glamorise.

5. Take negative feedback on board

While you don’t want to put negative feedback up in lights, as they say, all feedback’s good feedback. Negative feedback always provides an opportunity to improve. Opening yourself up to both good and bad feedback can be a positive thing. For example, Facebook’s ‘Review’ function doesn’t allow you to delete negative reviews (although you can report reviews that are downright nasty). If the majority of your reviews are positive, the odd negative review shows that you are not moderating your reviews, which makes the good reviews all the more believable.

So … go and get ‘em. Well not literally. We’re not suggesting you lasso your customers or anything. Asking them politely will do.

Need help on this? Get in touch.

– The Likeables

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