A reminder (and some tips) about testimonials

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Testimonials are certainly not "new" in marketing -- as you can see from this old Lifebuoy Soap advertisement. Note its greatest weakness, though -- the testimonials are anonymous. (Source: Wikipedia.)
Testimonials are certainly not "new" in marketing -- as you can see from this old Lifebuoy Soap advertisement. Note its greatest weakness, though -- the testimonials are anonymous. (Source: Wikipedia.)
Testimonials are certainly not “new” in marketing — as you can see from this old Lifebuoy Soap advertisement. Note its greatest weakness, though — the testimonials are anonymous. (Source: Wikipedia.)

Testimonials are marketing “gold” — turning real-life client experiences into stories (from their perspective) about why your service really should be valued. John Sonnhalter in Tradesmen Insights provides some simple suggestions on how to gather and use testimonials, including:

  • Keep the requests to unique applications or markets. This helps you focus on something that sets you apart.
  • Ask when the project is complete – when everything is fresh in every bodies mind.
  • Get proper clearances upfront – when dealing with bigger companies or unique situations, it’s smart to get an approval upfront and let the customer know what you want to accomplish and assure them that they will have final approval before it’s used. If you have a PR department or agency, they are used to vetting out potential before you waste time and resources.
  • It’s best you control the writing. Most customers are not writers, they’re contractors. Besides, they aren’t aware of the big picture of what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish. Write an outline of what you want to accomplish and then let someone interview the contractor and write the story.
  • Utilize info in multiple places – try to get it featured in a leading trade magazine. Post it on your website. Have a sell sheet made up for your salesmen to use. If you’re on social media, post it there with links back to your web.

These are simple concepts. In some cases, you may find video testimonials easy to arrange, especially if you collect them on a follow-up site visit/call. You don’t need a fancy camera to do the work because the less-than-perfect videography may lend authenticity to the testimonial. However, as Sonnhalter wisely notes, you obviously should use some common sense and research whether testimonials are permitted especially in sensitive business-to-business or government contexts. (Of course, if you can obtain valid testimonials in these hard-to-approve environments you’ll have an even more valuable resource.)

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