Testimonials - How to get them, what to do with them

By Angela Schuster

Yes, yes, we haven't posted a blog for some time. As I have said in previous posts, social media represents a time commitment and you have to weight up what else you could be doing with that time (like servicing clients!).

Today's blog post is about testimonials. Testimonials are an excellent way to promote your offering without really doing it yourself. They give you credibility because they are a third-party endorsement.

We recommend to clients that they seek testimonials wherever possible; however, we do encounter a few common questions when we make the recommendation:

  • How do you get a testimonial?
  • How do you get the client to say what you want?
  • What do you do with the testimonial once you have it?

How do you get a testimonial?

Easy; you ask for one. Develop the habit of always asking for a testimonial, as testimonials can be obtained for just about anything:

  • If you are a non-government organisation or service provider, you could ask a stakeholder to provide a testimonial relating to some program you offer or a service you provide that you want others to become involved with.

  • If you are a commercial organisation you could ask a client or customer to provide a testimonial about their experience with your product or service.

  • If you run an event you could include an evaluation form and ask "May we use your name and comments in our promotional materials?" Have a space for them to check yes or no.

Don't be reluctant to ask for a testimonial. If your client is not willing to provide a testimonial that will be used publically, they may be willing to act as a private referee.

How do you get the client to say what you want?

If you want the testimonial to be specific then, when you ask for a testimonial, you need to be specific about what you're looking for. You should outline:

  • How the testimonial will be used
  • The word limit
  • What specifically you would like the testimonial to focus on
  • If you would like them to include their details (name, title, company etc)

We've often found that when our clients ask their clients for a testimonial, their client then asks them for assistance in writing one.

We've put together a tip sheet that can be passed onto the person writing the testimonial. Feel free to download the tip sheet and pass it around.

What do you do with the testimonial once you have it?

Getting a testimonial is all very well, but just like a strategic plan, it won't help you if it just sits in a file or on a shelf somewhere.

You have to use it.

You can use the full testimonial or a select quote from it in many ways, including:

  • In advertisements
  • On your website
  • In presentations
  • In collateral such as brochures, white papers etc
  • In any kits such as media kits, sales kits, event registration kits etc
  • In articles or media releases

Don't be limited in how you use them, the point is USE THEM.

The Upshot

People expect you to say wonderful things about your company or offering - but they don't necessarily always believe you. Testimonials provide you with a much more powerful and credible 'story'. Always ask for a testimonial and use them anyway you can.

Looking for examples?