Many successful small businesses will tell you that their most effective marketing is simple word of mouth. If people have a good experience, they like to share it with others. So why not build testimonials into your marketing strategy?
Done badly, testimonials can be counter-productive. You know the ones with cheesy quotes that read like they were workshopped to death by a focus group.
So the first rule of testimonials is that they have to be in the client’s own voice. And you achieve this by asking the right questions. Instead of saying, “tell us how good our service was,” ask more personal questions: “what were you looking for when you hired us? What has changed since?”
Video testimonials are almost always better than written ones: it’s much easier for a viewer to emotionally connect with a testimonial when they can see and hear the real person, and can get a better look at what your business has to offer. Working on a testimonial video with JL Café last year, for example, we were able to pair the positive words of the café's customers with footage that really highlights what they're talking about – the welcoming, friendly atmosphere of the place.
Ultimately your goal in presenting testimonials should not be to present yourself as the best in the business, but as the right fit for your customers and clients. Focus on the emotions and the customer's experience, not on the technicalities. How do your past customers feel now, having worked with you, compared with beforehand?
Ideally, testimonials shouldn’t feel like marketing at all. For people interested in your business, they’re a genuine research tool. And they work best if they focus on how the services you provide have benefitted these particular people in their particular circumstances.
Of course, this opens up a risk that prospective clients or customers might conclude: “Yes, but that’s not my situation,” or “that’s not the problem I’m trying to solve”. But more likely what happens is that the viewer will get caught up in that person’s story and relate to how your service has made them feel better.
You don’t even have to ask clients to provide testimonials for your business. For some businesses, you can just ask them if it’s OK to share pictures and stories of their holidays and life experiences. Just from that, the prospect can see that you’ve formed a close and trusting relationship with these people. And that can be recommendation enough.
Whether you're interested in a testimonial video, or any other kind of video content to promote your business, there's lots to look at on our portfolio page.