What do you trust more when it comes to deciding on a service: an advertisement, or a personal recommendation?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.”
Referrals have always been top-of-the-list when it comes to strong lead sources, and testimonials have become a form of referral in the digital age as so many buying decisions now happen online.
If you don’t have a lot of referrals coming into your business, we’re here to help you make some marketing magic happen!
For small business owners, gathering and sharing testimonials is an important first step that helps you build trust with clients who may find you online, but don’t yet have a personal connection to you. Testimonials are great because they:
- Provide social proof- when someone finds you online, they want to know that you actually exist and are worth contacting. Testimonials and reviews lend you legitimacy and help buyers get a glimpse in to what you do.
- Help you overcome customer objections- what are the reasons people might not buy your services? Let your testimonials set the potential customers’ minds at ease, which will ultimately increase your conversions. If you’re a household organizer, for example, a testimonial might mention that the client felt embarrassed about letting someone see their mess, but naturally, you made them feel totally at ease because you’re a pro and that stood out to them. If one customer has a concern, it’s likely that others do as well.
- Show don’t tell- testimonials help your customers envision what they may get when they work with you. In the organizer example, for instance, if you have multiple reviews from happy customers that now feel more relaxed, comfortable and confident in their homes, other people will flock to you looking for similar results.
- Can be curated for maximum impact- Unlike online reviews — which can be skewed by unhappy humans — your testimonials can be filtered and updated over time. Cut down extra long reviews to just the core message, or add headers to highlight exactly what outcomes you produced for the customer.
How to get customer testimonials
Ask for testimonials from everyone you work with! If you helped a friend out, volunteered your services, or charged full price, get those reviews! Yes, it may feel slightly awkward at first, but once you start you’ll realize how happy customers are to share their experience working with you.
Make collecting testimonials easy by automating your process. We recommend creating a post-service email that includes a request for feedback. Do your best to send it within 24 hours of the service, while the client experience is still fresh. If you have specific things you’d like feedback on, be sure to ask! Try asking different types of questions over time to see how the responses change.
If you don’t get a response on the first ask, try again in the next two weeks. People are busy! They might miss or forget about your first request, but most will be perfectly happy to provide you with a lovely testimonial when reminded.
Last, if someone offers up kind words on social media or via email, ask for permission to share! Let those compliments loose on the world.
Where to share your testimonials
Once you’ve collected these great testimonials, share them! Make sure you have plenty of testimonials on your website, with a few of the strongest on the home page. While you’re at it, take a look at your website copy overall, does it reflect the great results that your clients are getting?
Sprinkle testimonials through your blogs and social media content as well. Instagram and Facebook stories are a great place to share them! Plus, if you’re working with another business, you can give them a tag to share the love.
Re-purpose your favorite testimonials to punch up any printed collateral like flyers, posters, handouts, and brochures.
Finally, throw them in your email signature and share them in your newsletter. There’s even a special spot for customer testimonials in your Pepperlane profile, so update those projects as the friendly words come rolling in.
The nitty-gritty (best practices)
Before you start letting your customers tell the world how wonderful you are, let’s check a few simple details. At the very least, you’ll need the person’s name and permission before you share their words. Ideally, you’ll have their name, city and state, and a photograph for bonus points.
Feel free to edit lightly for grammar and space. After all, your current customers would like to be seen as professional too, and may not have edited their responses thoroughly. It's okay to keep fun and funky language if that fits with your brand and jives with your ideal customer. If you do edit, be sure to send back for permission. It’s ok to leave testimonials a bit “rough’ if you want them to really reflect your ideal customer and how they speak.
You won’t know if you don’t ask!
You don’t need tons of customer testimonials to make an impact — just a few good ones will go a long way! We recommend at least five public testimonials on your Pepperlane profile. (For examples of effective testimonials, take a look at this profile by Pepperlaner Christina Frei.)
Pepperlaner Christina Frei, Branding + Marketing Expert
Create a personalized ask for testimonials to past customers, and watch the love roll in! Don’t forget to put them on your Pepperlane profile asap, don’t be shy! Be sure to tag us using the #1SimpleAct hashtag when you’re done; we can’t wait to see your glowing reviews!
Want more? Join like-minded business owners in our Wow More Customers Pathway. Not only will you get templates to help you optimize the email content you send to your customers before and after their service experience, we’ll also provide a range of tips to help you delight customers every step of the way.
Spots are limited, so sign up today!
Pictured in title image: Tricia Rosen, Financial Planner