There’s a reason 9 out of 10 experts agree that word of mouth marketing is the best kind of marketing. (Okay, so we may have made that stat up, but can you argue with it?)
Your happy customers know other people like themselves, and some of those people could use your services, too. Plus, people are likely to turn to their friends, family and colleagues for recommendations when it comes to a good service – whether it’s a house painter, a app developer or a web designer.
Of course, word of mouth takes awhile. Fortunately, as a small business owner, you have access to the very next best thing: testimonials from happy customers.
Testimonials on your website and marketing materials prove to potential customers that you’ve done a great job for real people just like them in the past and will do it again, this time on their project. Testimonials give you an element of social proof that may just edge out the competition.
But what if you’re shy about asking your clients for testimonials? Or you’re simply unsure how to go about it?
- Ask! – This is the biggest mistake I see small business owners make. While a client may be ecstatically happy with your work, they don’t usually think to give you a testimonial unless you ask. Don’t be nervous. Most clients are more than happy to go the extra mile for a great service provider.
- Communicate in their preferred way – If your client always calls you but you send them an email survey asking for a testimonial, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back. People have preferred communication styles – if you make it difficult on them, you may never received that coveted testimonial.
- Ask specific questions – If you merely say, “May I have a testimonial about my work?” your client may be stumped as to where to start. Ask him or her specific questions such as “How was I able to help you accomplish your goal?” and “What was the process of working with me like?” Make sure your questions focus on the benefits of working with you– that’s what other potential customers want to see.
- Make asking a part of your process – Once you have your questions worked up, making asking for a testimonial an integral part of any project. Act as if this process is as important as sending an invoice. In fact, it almost is as important as sending in invoice because it can get you more work down the line!
- Don’t be afraid of a little criticism – It doesn’t hurt to ask clients what they would like to see you do better in the future. Many clients won’t have a single complaint, but if you see something crop up again and again, then you may have found something you need to work on. Wouldn’t you rather know now than later?
- Get permission – Before using a customer’s testimonial on your website, ask permission. This can be as simple as letting them know up front that you’re asking these questions as part of your marketing. If you re-word your client’s testimonial for clarity or because they answered in Q&A format, be sure to run it by them to ensure it captures the gist of what they said.