Ah, testimonials. We rely on them as customers to guide us in terms of how and with whom we spend our money more than we likely notice. From checking Yelp before booking a restaurant to reading Amazon reviews before ordering something. I personally always love comments people leave about apparel I'm considering long before I click the "buy" button.
That's because it's one thing to have a company tell you their sauce is yummy or their book is one you'll be unable to put down or their massage therapy is better otherworldly, but it's quite another to have someone outside of their business tell you. Testimonials validate, they build buzz, they build confidence and they help sell goods, services and even experts.
The tricky part? How to actually get them for your business in the first place. Most entrepreneurs and biz owners know they need them but they fall short in the following areas:
- How to get someone to give you a testimonial
- How to be sure they give you a testimonial that's strategic and going to lead to more customers and sales
- How to share them for maximum impact.
We are so sure your business needs testimonials over here at Tin Shingle that we created this set of tips to be sure you dive head first into this marketing and sales tool the right way, right away!
The Art of Getting a Great Testimonial is in The Ask
Don't simply ask someone for a testimonial and leave the request vague and undirected, ask them to answer something specific about your product or service that will help you get an "answer that sells". Here's what I mean:
Not the right way to ask: Hi Chris. So glad you love our marketing services. Could you send us a testimonial?
Now try this: Hi Chris. So glad you love our PR & marketing services. We would love to share your praise via a testimonial. In it can you please share how our service impacted your bottom line, a couple of your favorite press stories you landed and what that has meant for your business?
Not the right way to ask: Sarah, we loved your tweet stating that you love our wrap dresses. Could we please use your "I love SlimWrap dresses more than candy" on our testimonials page?
Now try this: Sarah, we loved your tweet stating that you love our wrap dresses. We would love to use your "I love SlimWrap dresses more than candy" as an image on our testimonials page along with an actual testimonial from you. If you could please share how SlimWrap dresses make you feel, make your body look and why they're a great investment in your wardrobe we'd be very appreciative!
The key here is to get the testimonial giver to share some specific information about how your business has changed their life for the better. Simply having a user say "it's great" or "I love it" isn't really telling a potential customer what you did for someone else and what you could do for them. Get specific however and the testimonial instantly changes. On top of this, giving people direction for their testimonial makes it easier for them. Simply saying "send us a testimonial" leaves them with know writing prompt, unsure how to make it something that works for you! Another great testimonial prompt? Try asking them "what's your favorite part of our business?" This is also going to get you a specific answer that convinces people to use your business.
If you have a website you can even create a fill in the blank form that includes questions like "My favorite part of this product is XXX", "I love that this product does XXX to my skin" "This website makes life easier by doing this XXX". This means even without you they're able to create amazing testimonials!
When asking to use a testimonial do ask if you can use their full name and a photo of them. If not, that's fine, but simply saying "Sarah" or "Chris" doesn't always scream "this is a real person". Add an image or last name and you're instantly increasing the trustworthiness of this sales tool.
Share Testimonials in More Than One Way
Simply plopping testimonials on your website or marketing material isn't going to be enough these days. Here are a few more ways to share the love (that people give you):
- Create posters (PicMonkey makes this easy) featuring the quote and an image of your product or the user. Share these on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
- Don't just share testimonials, share "tweetmonials" by turning tweets people send to you and about you into images for your website or other marketing material. We did this on Tin Shingle's site here.
- Ask people to create video testimonials and share them on YouTube (please note this will most likely be harder than you think to make happen, but the results can be powerful).
- For your website: Share testimonials that discuss a specific product or service that you're selling right next to it. Don't make people travel back to your website's testimonials page but instead try to house a testimonial about a product on its actual sales or description page. This will help eliminate hesitation and the "should I, shouldn't, I" feeling that some potential buyers get and it will help them feel more confident, trustworthy of you and safe about their purchase!
Incentivize People to Give Testimonials
How you incentivize someone to share a testimonial is often dependent on what your business is. At Tin Shingle our users are small biz owners and entrepreneurs and by sharing a testimonial they get their face, biz and at times Twitter handle listed on our site. That's a win-win for them ("free advertising") and for us. Perhaps your business gives people a 25% discount on their next order when they give you a testimonial that you use. Maybe you feature them using your product or service on your social media feeds and tag them in it (for some, this is reward enough). Figure out what works for you and let people know what they are getting out of this opportunity!