Many businesses ask for, and benefit greatly from, customer testimonials that they can publish on their website, LinkedIn profile or in their own marketing.
That first-hand feedback from a happy client can do two key things:
1. It proves that you worked for real people who trusted you and your services/products and were happy enough with the results to recommend you publicly.
2. It can reveal key insights to yourself and other readers or potential customers as to what the best thing about working with you is (i.e. your core brand values and USPs).
Think about all the main aspects you’d love to be known for in your business…
Now, a testimonial that says “Owen did a great job of designing a logo for us and I am very happy to recommend him” is useful but not ideal. It achieves the first point by suggesting that the client was happy with what I did but doesn’t go much deeper – it’s a bit non-committal.
Contrast that with the following:
“We’ve used graphic designers and agencies before and have always found we got the same old tired solutions. Owen’s approach was much more personal and deep. He delved in and asked all the right questions – many of which made us think about things we’d never really considered before – leading to a really thorough process and highly effective solution. We had a logo, now we have a brand/identity that’s worth its weight in gold.”
Ask your clients for this kind of testimonial!
Considered, specific and incredibly valuable – this kind of testimonial would give me a new depth of feedback and clout that the previous example lacked. For example:
• That my client had compared me favourably against previous suppliers would give a reader confidence in hiring me ahead of my competitors.
• I’d be delighted to hear that my client had appreciated my approach and process, particularly that I’d been astute enough to help them to learn more and improve their own knowledge about their business. This might go above and beyond what someone might have experienced from a graphic designer, adding great value to my service and positioning me in a more expert way.
• And then for them to point out the difference in value between a logo and a brand identity (something I’m always very keen to highlight) would further strengthen my reputation as someone who understands, believes in and clearly communicates the service I offer.
Pro tip: Ask your clients for this kind of testimonial! If they were happy with your service, ask them to write a specific recommendation on LinkedIn that you can also elsewhere. If you’ve communicated well, they should pick up on your key messages.
Write your own
A useful exercise that I recently experimented with (hence, this article) is to try writing your own fictional ‘dream testimonials’*. Not only will this little game prompt you to question people’s perception of you, it will also help you clarify your own thoughts on your brand and ambitions.
…imagine your customers have noticed them exactly as you hoped.
Think about all the main aspects you’d love to be known for in your business and imagine your customers have noticed them exactly as you hoped.
What would they write? Would they rave about your quality, customer service or insight? What would they say the results were for their business?
Crucially, how are you going to go about making sure your real customers are leaving you this kind of feedback?
Try writing 5-6 different examples with reasonable detail that focus on different aspects, and store them safely to refer back to in the future. This exercise could help you really define your own brand better, allowing you to focus your marketing efforts in a more targeted way.
Back to reality
Are you getting testimonials like these already? If so, great! Make use of them on your website and draw people’s attention to them as much as you can.
…are you delivering on the ideals that you aspire to?
If not, are you explaining your brand effectively in person and in your on and offline marketing? Or even more crucially, are you delivering on the ideals that you aspire to? Make sure you are qualifying what you are offering and make every effort to deliver it consistently – people should soon start to notice.
Ask friends, suppliers, customers, employees and other business contacts to explain your business back to you. You might be surprised by the responses!
* Note: Don’t be tempted to use publish these made up testimonials as real – no-one likes a liar!