Testimonials Are Important

How to Get Great Testimonials

In this article, we cover briefly how to write a testimonial for a business partner on behalf of the business partner. We will also cover how to write a testimonial for a business partner on behalf of yourself in order to help your business partner if they are busy.  In other words, it is ok to write a testimonial about your own company on behalf of a client and then have that client review what you have said.  This saves them time from having to come up with content themselves.

We often find ourselves recommending to clients that they get testimonials from their clients. However, it is difficult to call up customers, partners, and friends and say, "Can you say something nice about your experience with us, so we can share that with our customers via a video, on our website, or in a company brochure?" Because we feel like this is important, we wrote this article for our customers to share some ideas about how to get great testimonials.

Why Write Testimonials

If we are going to spend time and resources doing an activity, we need a good reason to help us be motivated to do it. In case you didn't come across our article on the importance of testimonials, I want to list a few reasons particularly in regards to running an on-line business (or a business where your customers may not be local or able to meet you face to face):

  • Testimonials help bridge the trust gap.
  • Testimonials allow potential business associates to recognize your strengths
  • Testimonials help clients understand the benefits they can expect from doing business with your company.

Testimonials from a Customer Perspective

You've been working with a company for quite some time and then after your project is completed, they come to you and ask you to write a testimonial for them. First of all you're thinking to yourself, “Why should I even write one? How does this benefit me?" Second, you may be asking yourself, “How do I write a testimonial?” Hopefully this article can help both the customer and the vendor or person looking for testimonials, but let's discuss briefly who benefits.

WIFM - Who Benefits from Testimonials?

What's in It For Me (WIFM)? Why do we discuss who benefits from testimonials? Because it is relevant to both the content of a testimonial, and the validity of a testimonial. It also can help you if you are the vendor to get testimonials and provides a way for you to share good karma.

Sharing Testimonials is an Opportunity to Help

When asked to write a testimonial for a company you've previously worked with, it should be looked at more as an opportunity instead of an obligation. The company is giving you the opportunity to express your opinion about your experience with them. This helps them understand what they did well for you and encourages them to keep working on this strength and providing this good benefit to you or other companies. By sharing your testimonial - giving a Kudos, you are making the world a better place. This by itself is reason enough but there are other tangible benefits. For example if you have a website it might help with SEO:

Sharing Testimonials to Increase SEO or Search Traffic to Your Site:

Of course this isn't relevant in every situation, but sometimes if you ask for a link to your own business next to your testimonial it can result in better SEO and traffic for your own website. For example, iBCScorp™ received a testimonial from a company it was doing business with. iBCScorp™ wrote an article about that company and listed their testimonial with a link to their website. This article then came up first on Google the next day when searching for relative industry terms and it linked to the customer's website, helping their new site start to gain relevance on Google. Therefore, sharing good testimonials can help with SEO and online marketing strategies for your website.

Writing Testimonials Helps Establish Professionalism

Again, this is not relevant in every situation, but it can be relevant in some situations. Having worked in Internet businesses, and as a developer of on-line businesses since the early 90's, in some cases my personal opinion matters and sharing that opinion helps establish me as a professional in certain cases.

For example, some years ago Astaro Security was trying to establish its presence in the Tokyo market. However, it wasn't a well-known brand or product so it was difficult for them to sell their products there. At the time, I was using it to manage the Internet and intra-net presence of a large international company and I was based out of Tokyo. Having experience with the product and many years in the industry the opportunity for me to share my experience and testimonial about their product helped establish their product, but it also helped establish my professionalism that I could give clear and concise reasons and personal experiences with the product not only established their professionalism but it also established my own.

How to Get Great Testimonials

This is important for both the person giving the testimonial and the person seeking them. There are many times when a new business is being established or even a long time established business is looking for testimonials on a particular product or service. There are ways that the person seeking the testimonial can make it easier for the person giving them. Here are a few ideas.

Make it Easier for Them to Give a Testimonial

One of the biggest issues of writing testimonials is that sometimes it's hard to find the time to write one. In this situation, it is okay to ask the person requesting the testimonial to help. Just make sure they verify or confirm their statement with you before posting it. This way, there is written content to work with provided by the person who wants the testimonial. It can be edited and made into your own words, saving time for the person giving the testimonial.

What Should I Say in the Testimonial?

Another stumbling block many people encounter when writing a testimonial goes something like: “Oh great, I've never written a testimonial. What should I say?” Many people go into panic mode on what to state because they don't know what they should disclose or how to word it. Your testimonial should be based on how the company has dealt with the needs of your project, how they treated you as a client, and how well the project was completed.

Whether or not the company did a good job for you, it's good to know what you as a client felt on how the project was completed. When a company or business asks for a testimonial, it shows that they really care about what you as the client thinks of them and about the actual performance. It's important to the company because they want your feedback, so they can become more service oriented and have a better knowledge of what they can improve on.

It is also very important to give honest feedback because it not only gives the company information on how they are performing, but it also gives potential clients a better understanding of what their experience might be like.

Along with being honest about your experience, it's also good to be specific in writing a testimonial because potential clients are reading what you have to say about the company. Potential clients value your input because of your prior experience with the company. It's important to know the specific details about the company in question because then clients will get a feel and know what to expect while working with them.

Below are some questions to ask yourself in getting a basis of what to say in a testimonial:

  • What need did you have?
  • What did they help you with?
  • What are some of their strengths?
  • Would you refer them to others?

So, when asked to write a testimonial, there is no need to panic. Focus on how your project was completed and if you were satisfied with the services you received. It is important to be honest about the experience because you are testifying in behalf of the company and others may be basing their decisions somewhat on the information you disclose. Your testimonial will not only benefit the company you are testifying about, but it will help you as well in your SEO and marketing.

Testimonials for Websites

We are adding a special section regarding testimonials for websites. The reason is because everyone is extremely skeptical of web site testimonials. Because of this it is even more important that they are true. While in some cases in some businesses, it wouldn't be right to disclose who your customers are, if you can give the person as a reference and a link to their business, it gives that much more validity to the claim. In some cases video testimonials are great, also short sentence testimonial lists are good and easier to quickly review than watching a video.

How Long Should a Testimonial Be?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors. If it is for a website, typically a few concise lines expressing the benefits will do. If it is a testimonial video, then 1-3 minutes is fine. In some cases, a testimonial letter may be appropriate if asked. Again, checkout the testimonial examples for some ideas.

A Few More Pointers on Giving Testimonials

It is a good idea to ask the person who you are giving the testimonial to how and where they will be using the testimonial.

Focus on the benefits the person you are giving the testimonial about provided and focus on the positive. While there are negative things about every relationship, don't focus on the negative things. There are always positive and negative things about every relationship. Even people who I have had absolutely terrible experiences with have some positive qualities that I could bring out in a good testimonial.

After writing this article, I realized that we talked about why to write a testimonial and who benefits from testimonials, but we didn't provide any examples.  Here is are some sample testimonials, and an example of a request for a testimonial.

Let iBCScorp™ Help You

Yes, that is always an option. If you are too busy, we can contact customers on your behalf, explain what the testimonial is for, even have one of our professional writers give them some ideas or content to approve and help you implement it as part of your marketing strategy. Alternatively, if you are writing the testimonial for someone else, we can help with that also.