There’s nothing more powerful in marketing than a testimonial from your customers about the value of your products or services.
That’s why so many smart marketers, especially companies that sell business-to-business (B2B) professional services, use client testimonials in their advertising, sales presentations, brochures, and websites.
So how do you get customers to give you great testimonials for your marketing campaigns? Follow these 10 tips:
1. Select the right customers. Choose clients who best represent the kinds of companies you serve and the prospects you want to attract — and who can speak credibly about your work.
2. Focus the message. Decide what you want to ask clients to say about you. Think about your core value proposition and the most important factors that set you apart from competitors.
3. Keep it simple. Unless you’re developing a case study, you don’t need a lot of content from a client—just a paragraph or two about the value you deliver. Clients should not feel burdened by your request.
4. Make it easy to say yes. Offer to write the testimonial for the client or suggest points you’d like them to make in what they write. Interview the client by phone, then send a draft of their comments for approval.
5. Get specific. Ask clients to go beyond general praise for your capabilities and refer to a specific aspect of what you do or how you’ve served them. The more specific the testimonial is, the more believable it will be.
6. Tell clients how you’ll use their comments. Clients will be more likely to agree to your request if you spell out how you plan to use their comments – in marketing campaigns, sales presentations, on the web, etc.
7. Ask advocates for more. The most enthusiastic clients, those true advocates who are delighted to tell the world how great you are, may be willing to give you more than a written quote. Ask to use their logo and personal photo with the testimonial. See if they’d be willing to give you a testimonial on video. You may surprised how many people say yes.
8. Reach for the stars. If you’re lucky enough to serve well-known companies your prospects will recognize, ask for their support. One of the best testimonials I ever received as a marketing consultant came from my biggest client at the time, IBM.
9. Thank clients who help you. Once a testimonial appears in your marketing campaigns, share it with the client and thank them for their endorsement. This is an ideal opportunity to send a small gift or make a donation to a charity on the client’s behalf as a gesture of your appreciation.
10. Most important: Don’t be afraid to ask. You deliver a valuable product or service to your clients and it’s perfectly acceptable to ask people who value what you do to go on the record about it. LinkedIn has helped many people become accustomed to providing recommendations for colleagues.
Why You Want Your Clients to Help Tell Your Story
Getting clients to publicly endorse your company is a smart marketing strategy because it gives you tremendous credibility. Testimonials can be especially powerful for differentiating your brand if you’re a B2B services provider.
A final tip: Sometimes clients would like to say nice things about you but their legal department or boss won’t let them go on the record. Ask if you can refer to them by title and type of company instead of individual or company name. Such testimonials aren’t as strong as ones with attribution, but they’re better than no testimonials at all, especially if the client has good things to say about you and your business.