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I’m in the process of collecting testimonials to use on my website and I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned in the process.  For work at home mom businesses, testimonials are particularly important as they give your business credibility.

Unfortunately it’s not as easy as simply sending an email to a client and asking “If you were happy with my work then please write me a testimonial”.  This basic requests tends to get you a lot of “It was great”, “I loved working with you” and “Really wonderful person” type of testimonials.  You might feel good when you read them, however future clients don’t see value in these kind of comments.

The point behind including testimonials on your website is to provide social proof for potential clients who are checking you out.  Here’s where the need for value comes in – the potential client needs to see specifics about the benefits of your services so they can know if you are a good fit for them.  So they can see that you achieved XYZ for this client, and therefore you could achieve XYZ for them too.  Are you and your services worth investing their money in?

Here’s 10 tips to getting great testimonials to use on your website:

1.  Ask for the testimonial very soon after the purchase. Obviously they need time to see and test the product or service, however don’t leave it too long.  Memory dims quickly, the best testimonials are written while the service and product is fresh in the customers mind.

2.  Get permission to use the testimonial on your website and marketing materials. If you are going to quote a client then you must have permission to use it on your site, brochures and anywhere else.

3.  Ask for permission to use the client’s name and contact details. This gives great credibility because it’s obvious that you haven’t simply made up the testimonial.  Sometimes a client will request anonymity, in which case you need to respect that and can simply state “Name withheld by request”.

4.  Be specific in what you are asking for in the testimonial. There are three main points that you want to cover:

4.1  Why they came to you in the first place.  What problem were they looking to resolve?

4.2  What precisely you did for/with them.  Or what did they buy that fixed their problem?

4.3  What were the results from working with you?

5.  Don’t go for long-winded testimonials. A couple of sentences is plenty long enough.  Most people skim read on the web and sales brochures, so the shorter and easier to read the better.

6.  Offer to write the testimonial for them if they are having trouble. Ask for a couple of dot points from the client and craft the points into a short testimonial.  You then need to send it back to the client for editing and final approval.

7.  Try and get a range of testimonials about the different products and services you offer. Instead of having ten testimonials about one particular product and none relating to your other services, seek a range of testimonials.  It may help if you request a testimonial specifically relating to a particular service when you contact the client to ask for a testimonial.

8.  Always be continually collecting testimonials. Never stop collecting.  People like to see recent testimonials, and they like to see different testimonials.  It shows that you are currently working effectively with clients and will increase the potential client’s confidence in you.

9.  Set up a system for collecting testimonials. Instead of being like me and requesting them long after the fact, a system that reminds you and ensures you keep up to date with your testimonials will make it a lot easier.  It’s also a lot easier for the client.  Maybe a specific time each week to email clients would work for you.  Maybe an automatic email sent out a week after a purchase is easy for you to set up.  Find a system that works for you and is easy to maintain.

10.  Have a standard template for requesting emails. Rather than writing a new email each time, write one in Word or a similar program and save it.  You can either use it as is, just altering the customer’s name and details, or tweak it more for each client.

11.  Thank the person for sending a testimonial. They’re doing you a favour and it’s wonderful to be acknowledged for the time and thought that went into it.