I think that everyone agrees that Testimonials from customers are an excellent marketing tool. They can be featured on your website, on LinkedIn and included in tenders, brochures and sales proposals. This post will address what I think should be included in a testimonial. A client asked me recently for advice on what to ask their customer to talk about when writing a testimonial for their business. I think this is a common problem – many people don’t know what to talk about when recommending a business.
The problem with testimonials
Many businesses are now looking for testimonials. Testimonials have many uses so most businesses will need variations of the same testimonial and will probably need testimonials from a number of businesses to create the “Wow Factor”. Writing an effective testimonial can be time consuming. Video testimonials can be even more powerful but the issue of time is compounded. As such you are placing a burden on your customers. I think that this burden can be alleviated by adopting an approach to assist your customers to write testimonials for your business.
Starting point for Testimonials
LinkedIn is a brilliant starting point for Testimonials – referred to as ‘Recommendations’ – that become part of your profile. On LinkedIn, the end result includes a link to the profile of the person who has provided the recommendation. The process for requesting and providing recommendations is also very user friendly. The form to be completed when providing a recommendation asks for the following information:
- Nature of relationship with the person … colleague, service provider, business partner or student
- Under Service Provider – Service Category & When you first hired the person
- Top Attributes
- Space for comment
The latest Linkedin feature is Endorsements. In my view this is a brilliant marketing ploy by LinkedIn to get its community to engage more often with the platform.
Structure for a testimonial
If you are writing for the web or a brochure, brevity is essential – sometimes inclusion of the logo on its own can be powerful enough. The following is a nice format:-
Name of the person, Title, Customer Company name
“We have worked with Organisation for over a year now and are delighted with the work carried out so far. Our company (use the name) is … description of what we do … so all project work needs to be of the highest quality, which is what we get with Organisation. They are responsible for item 1, item 2 and item 3. Organisation understand the high standards that our company have and are most efficient in delivering well within time limits. I would highly recommend working with them.”
When I am preparing testimonials for a Tender Document or a Marketing White Paper, I suggest a longer format – about one page with lots of visuals:
- Logo + Project Date
- One liner on the customer’s business to include web address
- The problem that they had (summary of the brief)
- Others solutions tried (not looking to criticise the competition … as such your customers could say that they tried to do it themselves or by using several providers in a piecemeal fashion)
- What solution was provided – a brief summary of the methodology or project phases
- Business outcomes (refer to the Business Case or ROI) …. important but can be difficult to
- Name and title of person providing the testimonial
The format above is provided as a guide and can be tailored to specific circumstances. For each section, you want the reader to respond ‘that business is like us, that is our problem, oh we tried that, that solution is impressive, we’d better use these guys .’
Some customers will be very happy if you remind them of this information (or in fact write a testimonial that they agree with and sign). In this way you are reducing the burden on their time.
For a tender submission, this longer type of testimonial can earn extra marks as Track Record and Experience are always included in the criteria being judged.
I hope you agree that there are significant benefits to collating Testimonials. But do you agree that this is the correct format? I look forward to hearing what the Tweak Your Biz community thinks.
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