Recently one of our clients, Gina Romero, emailed us asking for some info about the etiquette for testimonials on websites. This inspired me to write this post and share my thoughts based on years of experience creating websites here at Top Left Design! People often ask:
Should we use testimonials on our website?
YES! We love testimonials and they are a big part of what we call “social proof” – where someone has allowed you to put their words on your marketing. You can ask your existing clients who you know are happy with your service to give you testimonials. They can either be named, or they can be anonymous, depending on the confidentiality issues around the work you have done with them.
Yeah but what if people think they are fake?
Sure there are people out there who are cynical. They could think that you just made up the testimonial.
My argument is:
- Some people (like me) like to see other people like them who have had similar issues/needs and who have been happy with your service
- People like stories and will understand better how you can help them if they hear from the words of others.
- Anyway, do you want those cynical suspicious untrusting people as clients? (you might but I just wanted to make that point, you can’t please everyone!)
You could just email your clients and say “We are working on our new website, and would like to include some testimonials from happy clients. Would you be able to send me a few words about what you thought of the service we provided you with We would send you a couple of questions to answer, and send you our draft for you to check. Would that be ok?”
A simple yes no question for them to answer.
Then, could go one step further. And SUPERcharge your testimonials:
“Thanks so much for this! Below are some questions so you can tell us how it is working with us. We will then be able to edit it down to fit and we will check with you the final version”
And then you ask them the supercharged questions (modify as needed depending on the service you provide):
- What was it like when you worked with the last company you used before us?
- How have we been different?
- What have you learned that you didn’t know before since working with us
- What surprised you when working with us?
- What problems have we solved?
- How have we made your life easier?
- How do we provide good value?
- What other types of businesses would you recommend us to?
Having a series of questions makes it easier for clients to come back to you and they will be able to come back to you quicker as there is a structure for them to follow.
From the answers you get you can then write up a testimonial – here is an example (using TLD as an example):
“Before we used TLD as our website design company, we had a guy who never got back to us unless we chased him 3-4 times. He was really unreliable and then disappeared to Australia. He had issues with his dog and his health so we just let him off really. As a small business we really didn’t think we deserved better. But then TLD came along, and astounded us, not only by their responsiveness and professionalism, but by the dedication and talent amongst the team. They are all so friendly and accommodating, and since our new website went live and we learned how to use our blog effectively, we have found that new business comes to us without us really needing to try. Swiftly and easily. I really can’t say enough good things about TLD and we will certainly be recommending their services to all our clients and friends.”
Where would you put your testimonials?
- On your LinkedIn profile – when people recommend you on Linkedin this is something that just cannot be faked. It links up with their profile and if they send you a recommendation on LinkedIn which has a typo or something inaccurate, you can always ask for them to make an amendment.
- On your printed material
- On your website – either in a dedicated page, within a case study page to go with that case study, or throughout the site. Testimonials are great to include as part of your homepage
- On Facebook – when people write nice things on your Facebook Business page
- On Twitter – if you get a nice compliment tweet from someone, it can be favorited on Twitter, and you can have a feed of all these nice tweets to a page on your blog or WordPress site, though a WordPress plugin called Tweetstimonials.
Important to note: Be sure to present things in the best possible way with a professional design, and attention to grammar, spacing, and typography.
Hope you try this tactic, it works so well!
UPDATE: Want to go deeper? Further reading is here – check out Claire McTernan’s blog post “How to put your pricing up and still gain clients” – it’s got some other ideas for questions to ask for those credibility-boosting testimonials and case studies!