This video and post give some quick tips on how to get testimonials for a website.  Make sure and check out the link below to the testimonials questionnaire/survey we send to our clients.

Great testimonials are a product of really happy customers.  A couple of the items below are geared toward making really happy customers and a couple are nuts-and-bolts about getting testimonials.  But you need to be thinking about all of them on the front-end before you get to the point of asking for the testimonial.

  1. Tell Them Up Front.  One of my very favorite business and marketing books is The Referral Engine by John Jantsch.  This tip comes straight from John.  Tell your clients up front that by the time the project is completed they are going to want to refer you or write a testimonial.  Let them know right up front, that when the project is completed, you are going to ask them to refer you by giving you the names of three of their friends or business associates who could use your product or service.  This lets them know how you approach the project and customer service.  And it gets them thinking ahead of time about their friends who need you.  Jon’s book is focused on referrals, but you could just as easily say “You’re going to be so thrilled, we’re going to ask for a quick testimonial.”  You get the idea.
  2. Under Promise, Over Deliver (UPOD).  This one is tough.  And it might seem you’ve already set the bar high with #1 as far as expectations go.  But here we’re talking about specific details and bonuses that you hold in your back pocket.  Maybe you’re a cleaning service and you know good and well that you are going to wash the blinds on the job.  But you don’t tell the client this.  You do it and leave the client a note that says “We had a little extra time, so we cleaned your blinds today.”  Your clients will love the extras and those extras will be the thing that makes them talk to their friends and fill out in their questionnaire which we’ll discuss below.
  3. Overcommunicate.  When was the last time you got an email that said “Stop bothering me with the updates.”  I have NEVER received one.  Now think how many times you’ve received an email from an irritated client, or written an email AS an irritated client, that says “What’s the status on . . .”  If things are going great, let the client know.  If you’ve run into delays, let the client know and make sure you explain why.  Proactive communication smooths the rough spots and makes clients rave.
  4. Use a Questionnaire.  Even if you have done an amazing job on the project, your clients will sometimes have a difficult time finding the right words to express what you’ve done for the testimonial.  MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM.  We developed a 10-item questionnaire that gets the client thinking about some of the things that sets our service apart.  Make sure you let the client know that they do not need to answer all the questions.  Just a couple is fine.  This is from an email I sent to a client after a recently completed project. “We’re working on a new testimonials section and, if you’ve been pleased with our services, we’d love to include one from you.  We’ve found that asking some questions may trigger one specific thought for you, so we’ve put together a form with several on it.  Please don’t feel like you need to answer every question.  One or two would be great.”  
  5. Ask at the Right Time.  The testimonial is going to be strongest when the client is most excited about the project.  We ask for testimonials right after a site launch or after the client is first starting to see a significant return on our Inbound Marketing services.  If you own a lawn care service, knock on the door when the sun is shining and you’ve just made the yard look like it came out of Southern Living.  Show them an extra touch or two that you put on it and try to get a testimonial on video right then and there.  “Would you mind if we recorded you saying a couple of things about our service for our website?  I can use my smartphone now if you have time.”
  6. Edit.  You’ve got your testimonials.  Now what.  If you used a questionnaire, your client may have filled out 5 or 8 or all 10 questions.  Don’t use them all.  Knock them down to a sentence or two.  If you shot video, trim it down to 30 seconds or less.  We have several testimonials and they each say something different, and fantastic, about our business.  Edit for variety.  If you have a really great and long testimonial, you may even want to do a longer Case Study on the project.  Those are golden.  But keep your testimonials section brief and to the point.  Don’t forget to use names and pictures if at all possible.  You want your future clients to be able to visualize themselves in your past clients’ shoes.

A voluminous book could be written about getting testimonials.  We trimmed it down to a single blog post.  There is a lot more that could be said on the subject.  What about you?  What are some other tips for the testimonial-getting process?  Leave some in the comments below.
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