Few things make a person or business look better than glowing client testimonials. When customers are genuinely impressed with your product or service, they talk about it, and other people listen. These endorsements carry far more weight than if you simply tell people how great you think you are.

So how do you generate and leverage this love? There are specific steps to take to nurture positive feedback.

How to get client testimonials

First, let’s take a look at how to properly acquire client testimonials.

Spontaneous client testimonials are a gift.

It’s one of the best feelings in the world when, out of the blue, you receive an email that says: “I’ve worked with many people in this field before, but never has anyone treated me as well as you have. Thanks so much!”

Or when you read a tweet that says: “I’m never buying anywhere else again! The customer service is AMAZING!”

You have a tremendous advantage in this situation. You already know the person loves you, so there’s little work involved. You simply need to ask permission to use the comment in your marketing material.

Often though, the comment can’t be used directly. The person might mention someone’s name, or use language that shouldn’t be published. In that case, feel free to respond and say something like, “I really appreciated your comment. I’d love to use this in my marketing material, but it would need to change a little for these reasons. Would you be willing to say it again a little differently, and allow me to use that?”

Almost always the person will agree. After all, you already know he or she loves you.

You don’t have to beg.

As standard operating procedure, you should be checking in with your clients on a semi-regular basis. This could be through a poll, an email blast, or simply contacting folks on an individual basis. Ask them what they think of your product or service. You’ll get three general responses:

  • This isn’t for me.
  • This is pretty cool, but I really wish it did this other thing better.
  • This is AMAZING! I love it!

The first helps you clean out your contact list. The second helps you make a better product or service. The last is perfect for testimonials.

When clients tell you your product is amazing, ALWAYS ask them to elaborate.

 

Get them talking about what they love about it. At some point they’ll say something perfect, and you can ask them for permission to use it.

Posting client testimonials on your site

When thinking about how to present your client testimonials, think about how you like to read them. When you go to a popular online store, and you want to know about a product, how do you read the reviews?

I recommend having a dedicated section in the footer or sidebar of your home page (or even on every page) that displays one or two testimonials pulled randomly from your collection. And always include a link (i.e, “See All”) to a separate page that houses every single one of them. People like to read other people’s opinions.

The do’s of using client testimonials

As you grow your list of testimonials, there are a few things to keep in mind. Most of the following do’s should already be a natural part of your business practices, but if they’re not, it’s time to adopt them.

Do talk to people. Clients rarely speak out about their feelings unless they really hate you or really love you. If you start the conversation, you can head off the former and groom the latter.

Do listen to people. They’ll either tell you how to make your product or service better, or they’ll have something great to say.

Do keep your testimonials organized. Know who said what and when they said it. Use these endorsements on your website and in printed materials.

Organize Client Testimonials
Photo: Alexandre Dulaunoy Flickr via Compfight cc

Do make sure each testimonial on your dedicated testimonial page can be linked to directly. Your site’s content management system (CMS) might create a URL that looks like: example.com/testimonials/#testimonial-33. Ideally, for search enginie optimization (SEO) purposes, you’ll be able to name your targets (that is, your testimonials) and create a URL that looks more like: example.com/testimonials/#bob-smith.

Do make each testimonial shareable. If your readers can see a testimonial and click a link to easily send it to their friends, then you’ll get far more viewers.

The don’ts of using client testimonials

On the flipside, using client testimonials improperly can do far more damage to your reputation than any positives you might gain by being sneaky. Abide by these rules to avoid any fallout.

Don’t fake it. If you make up testimonials, you will almost always be found out.

Don’t fail to get permission. If someone says something wonderful about you, you can’t use it without permission. Doing so could easily turn an ally into an enemy who speaks out against your product or service.

Don’t beautify the imagery. It’s not unheard of for sites to attach quotes from real people to photos of professional models. This is deceitful and will almost certainly draw negative feedback.

Client testimonial plugins for WordPress

There are many WordPress plugins to help you organize and publish testimonials. As with any plugin, do your research on quality, ease of use and security. Then choose the one that works best for you.

Follow this advice and watch the leads roll in!

Adding client testimonials to your website may seem a bit like tooting your own horn, but word-of-mouth recommendations are often what move the needle for businesses.

Image by rafiq s Flickr via Compfight cc