In The News: How testimonials shape your business’s reputation
This article originally appeared in the Worcester Business Journal on October 28th, 2019.
Today more than ever, the reputation of a business is linked to what people say about it online.
Yelp to Facebook reviews, Google listings to Glassdoor: these services allow a quick review of stars and top comments to help influence decisions. While this might be suitable for restaurants or hotel stays, many consumers for significant purchases or services need something more. This is the niche testimonials fill.
How testimonials are different from reviews
Testimonials are a form of active reputation management, stemming from a collaboration between you and the client. There are two major ways they are set apart from reviews:
They are part of the relationship between you and the client. Testimonials are always requested by the business from the client, usually as follow up to their experience, or for ongoing clients.
Testimonials have more weight because of the relationship. Most reviews are done anonymously or on third-party sites. By providing a testimonial and allowing you to show it on your website, customers are putting their reputation on the line as well.
Where testimonials fit in your reputation marketing
Testimonials shouldn’t be the only reputation marketing you maintain. They fit between online reviews (which need to be monitored and responded to) and case studies (longer in-depth reports using data to show how you helped a particular client). It’s a great tool for your websites, excelling in big-ticket services and products where clients perform deeper research before reaching out.
How do you get client testimonials?
Now that I’ve talked up testimonials so much, the question is: How to get them? We work with many of our clients to get testimonials, with three major options to implement them into your marketing and sales pipelines.
As part of the sales process: If most of your sales start and end in-person, think about having staff follow up with customers with a quick survey. Testimonials can be gleaned from these, but more often allows you to take the temperature for a follow-up where you can ask for a testimonial.
Automating as part of email marketing: If your services and products have an online component or you request client emails as part of your onboarding process, then you can send email marketing to them after you’ve closed.
After projects and plan discussions: Especially for plan- and project-based clients, testimonials are all about striking while the iron is hot. After a successful project or plan meeting, think about asking for clients to talk a bit about their experiences.
The tools mentioned above are only the starting point – hopefully you now have a better understanding of how testimonials work as marketing. Talk to an agency about what tools can help you create and even automate getting client testimonials, as well as adding them on your website.