If you have any sort of professional website I would advise you to include a testimonial page to promote your business. I think it’s always good to see if someone has been recommended and interesting to see by whom. It’s something that could separate you from the competition. Have a look at my client testimonials and let me know what you think! Here are a few things I picked up whilst doing it.
Choose the clients or customers
Gather a list of clients you have repeat business with. A successful business needs repeat customers so their opinions are the most useful – and they’re more likely to write a shining testimonial! Remember that some companies have a non-endorsement corporate policy. Of course we have to respect that.
Send the email
Word your email very carefully. It’s more usual for your clients to ask you for favors not the other way round. Here is a copy of the email I sent:
I am compiling a client testimonials page on my website so I’m sending this email to a few of my clients.
Client testimonials are only worth doing if they are believable and done well. I would therefore like to ask you for the following information and your permission to publish it on my site. If there is anything or all of the following that you would not like me to put on my site I will, of course, completely understand.
What I would like from you:
Your company’s name (or companies’ names!)
Your job title
Your photo – Again, as with everything else, I will completely understand if you would not be happy with this. The reason I ask is that I think a photo will add to the believability element. I will make them really, really small.
Your company’s website (or websites)
Your testimonial about me – if you’re too busy or don’t want to write one I can get something from an email you’ve sent me and get back to you so you can approve the use of the quote
What you will get in return:
A warm fuzzy feeling of having done someone a good turn
A link to your website
I can’t stress enough that I don’t want you to be compelled to do anything. I would completely understand if you didn’t want to take part.
If you decide to reply I will seek your final approval either immediately before or immediately after I publish the testimonial page.
What to ask for
Notice I asked for some extra information besides just the testimonial. There were many reasons for this. I asked my clients for their company name, link and job description as these will be of primary importance to the client. Some clients may not want the link back to their website due to their endorsement policy. Some clients, on the other hand, may be glad of the link and may want to specify keywords to be put in the name of their company.
Another reason to ask for all this extra information is realism. The more details you add to the testimonial the more “real” it looks. We’ve all seen cheap looking testimonials on e-commerce sites where AJ from New York says “fab product”! I think the testimonial is more believable with the client’s full name, job description, company, link and photo.
What you write
Some people may advise to keep the testimonials short and snappy. I elected to publish them almost verbatim. The reason for this again was the realism it evoked. Some clients had written about me in the 2nd person, some in the 3rd person. I resisted the temptation to make them consistent. And, afterall, these guys had taken time to do me a favor. The least I could do was to quote them properly!
But I also added another section that wasn’t received from the client. The description of the work I’d done was written by me as it is a great excuse to promote my skills. Although I was honest about the work I had done for these clients, I made sure it included as much variety as possible to show the world what I can do: website design, website development, hosting and maintenance; interactive PDFs; print advertising design; HTML emails; brochures, newsletters, flyers… here I go again!
What I learned
There’s another reason for doing this apart from crude self-publicity. It’s always important to listen to your clients. And even more important to listen to what your biggest clients think. I learnt a lot from this experience. Have a look at my testimonial from one of my clients Benoît Quémar, Vice President of Alenea:
Many graphic or web designers, unfortunately, only have a talent for pure design in a “visual” way but fail to understand the purpose of their work or are not really interested in the business behind the project. As a result, they require a lot of management before being able to deliver something that’s usable – at best. Whereas Rob has shown a true interest in everything we’ve done and his suggestions have always proven that he understood the “why” of everything, coming up with effective and creative designs and ideas on his own, saving us a lot of valuable time.
What do you think?
Have you got a testimonial page on your website? Or do you have testimonials spread out through your website? Can you add any tips to mine? What do you think of my testimonials?
Again, a big “Thank You” to all my clients for taking part.
More priceless client-getting tips in my e-book How To Get Clients.