Testimonials – Do’s & Dont’s

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about testimonials. Though simple enough to get, I’ve come to believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way to do testimonials on the web. Most of my ideas are borrowed from others (in particular a book called “Guerrilla Marketing“) but I’ve begun to own and to add to the principals. Below are two lists of do’s and don’ts.

Do’s

1. Do have them!

Though this might be a bit obvious, it’s amazing how many companies don’t have solid testimonials on their website. Show your customers that people on the outside think that your company is awesome- not just you. Establish your credibility by capitalizing on past clients who loved working with you.

2. Do provide business names or locations

Whenever possible, list additional information with your testimonials such as the company your client is representing or where they’re located. Prospects can then identify with that business, industry or region. Imagine thoughts from your prospects such as “Hey, I didn’t know they provided service way out here” or “Wow, they’ve worked with companies in our industry”.

3. Do include pictures

Let’s face it- it’s so easy to create bogus testimonials. Including a picture brings credibility and personality to those who would praise you. Make sure the image isn’t tiny. Your main goal: assure your prospects, “yes, these are real people who have had a great experience with us”.

4. Do spotlight testimonials that are descriptive

I’m taking this idea almost directly from Guerrilla Marketing because it’s just so smart. When you post testimonials don’t use ones that are vague such as “XYZ rentals was great to work, a stellar company with great character” – instead, spotlight (and ask for) testimonials that are specific and descriptive. Here’s an example of a great testimonial from our website from one of our wonderful clients:

[blockquote source_thumbnail_url=”https://www.jordancrown.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/jenifer-lambert-200×200.jpg” source=”Jenifer Lambert” source_title=”Vice President, Sales & Marketing” source_org=”TERRA Staffing Group” source_org_url=”http:///www.terrastaffinggroup.com”]My experience with Jordan Crown has been refreshingly different from many of my experiences hiring people in the web/creative fields. They were extremely clear in outlining the project and scope of work so there was never any confusion or unmet expectations. They delivered each phase of the project in less time than they originally projected. They followed up throughout the project to make sure we were in sync and even followed through after the project to test our site and make sure that all of our plug-ins and all of the back end (our responsibility) was functioning correctly. I recommend them highly and would use their services again without hesitation.[/blockquote]

Your testimonials should not only say that you’re great, but why you’re great. They should describe how you’ve helped the client. Why they trust you. How you increased their sales or saved them time.

5. Do include testimonials that your prospects can identify with

When posting and asking for testimonials, ask the question “what kind of business can this testimonial help me win?” and “what kind of person will this testimonial appeal to?”.

Dont’s

1. Don’t abbreviate last names

Unless you have to for privacy. In general, do your best to assure the prospect that we’re talking about REAL people here. Not made up testimonials, but happy, satisfied and reoccurring customers.

2. Don’t publish your testimonials if you only have a few

What’s the magic number? I’m not sure, but I might advise having at least 5 testimonials. Anything less than that could lead your prospect to believe that you don’t have a proven track-record. If you don’t, you don’t- but for some businesses they’ve just slacked on getting testimonials and putting just one or two up could hurt more than help.

3. Don’t post mediocre testimonials

Better yet, do you best to eliminate any reason for a mediocre testimonial. More and more I’ve been telling my team that a successful project is one where we have an amazing portfolio piece and a raving testimonial. Do everything in your power to convert your customers into raving fans- a powerful testimonial can make the all the difference to an unsure prospect.

4. Don’t use small and hard to read type

If you have a good word from a client, don’t ruin it with small type or an unattractive, undistinguished look and feel.

Final Thoughts

Good testimonials are crucial. Having a good list of clients who are willing to shout your praise can have a dramatic effect on your company’s credibility and the amount of leads you generate. Go out and be an awesome company. Give good service and deliver great products. Go above and beyond with you clients so they turn into unpaid sales people. And as you go, capture their detailed thoughts on your company and post those thoughts for everyone to see!

Have additional tips? Leave a reply- we’d love to hear what you do to make your testimonials amazing!

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