Testimonials are third party endorsements of what you are claiming your product or service can do for people. They are the cheapest marketing resource available and a key element in building your name and reputation as a freelancer. Understanding what they are, how to get them and how to use them as well as their importance can tell the difference between a successful or bad relationship with your clients and their needs.
Word of mouth is a marketing tool that’s been used since the early ages, in a time before terms like “client”, “business” and “service” were even invented.
One of man’s greatest fears has always been that of the unknown and people are generally wary of anything new, especially if it looks too good to be true. This behavior that stems from our basic survival instinct tends to make your job a lot harder sometimes as your possible clients may not be willing to take a leap of faith without some proof of your previous success.
This is where client testimonials come in. They add credibility and they help potential clients believe in the value of the services you are offering. Testimonials will make it easier for them to trust you when seeing that previous clients were happy with their experience. Good testimonials can be as important as a good portfolio, as they show you have a proven track record in your field.
The answer is simple. Ask your client for a testimonial whenever you feel they are happy with your work, preferably not long after the project has ended. That is when they will be able to give the most accurate and elaborate testimonial as the details of the project will be fresh in their mind, allowing them to be specific when praising your work and enumerating your merits.
Main rule to always be remembered: don’t fabricate your client testimonials. I cannot stress enough how important it is that your client testimonials be genuine. Making up some fake customers or putting words into your existing ones testimonials might seem like a good idea at a given moment in time, but this can do irreparable damage to the integrity of your brand if you are found out. There is no going back from that, so don’t go there.
Now that we’ve cleared that out… First of all, it’s important that you do high quality work. You can’t expect a client to give you a testimonial if they aren’t satisfied with the results of your collaboration.
Secondly, listen to your client’s feedback. If there is none, request it. When feedback is positive and you sense the client is satisfied, approach them asking them if they’d be willing to give a testimonial endorsing your work. Last but not least, don’t forget to use professional endorsement tools such as LinkedIn Recommendations, Testimonial Monkey, WordPress Testimonial Engine or Client Heartbeat. These tools were created to make gathering testimonials easier and it would be a shame not to use them.
LinkedIn is one of my personal favorites as it has transparency on both the giver and the receiver that anyone can verify.
The testimonials should be composed of the name of the person giving the testimonial and 3 to 5 concise and readable sentences describing your work and the impression it has left on the client. A more specific testimonial is preferred to a general one.
For example: “Great work! Talented and serious programmer. I highly recommend him!” is a good testimonial, but “The improvements X brought to our website’s code have decreased average loading time by 50%”is an even better testimonial because it’s more specific, allowing the potential client to see your strongpoints and know exactly what they’d be gaining by hiring you.
As a freelancer, the easiest way to make use of client testimonials is to include them on your online profiles and post them on your website. You can either scatter them all around, placed strategically so they don’t bother the viewer while he is reading content but they are still noticeable and easily accessible if he chooses to read them; or you can create a “Testimonials” page on which you post all your client testimonials. Even better…why not do both? Scattering them like the pieces of a puzzle on many pages of your website, all linking to the same page, the one with all the testimonials, in case the viewer is interested in knowing more about you and your previous work and clients.
Another good way to provide exposure to your client testimonials is to include a few of them in your newsletter and advertising, or just one testimonial in each direct mail piece you send. If you have well-known and respected companies using your services or product, make sure you add their name or logo next to the testimonial if you are allowed to. Showcasing an impressive client list has many benefits. Please make sure you have the client’s permission first before using their remarks and make sure they agree with their comments being made public. Make sure your testimonials are accurate quotes of what they said and don’t use interpretations or fakes. This will keep you out of legal trouble.
In conclusion, client testimonials are a very important tool in promoting your products and services; they are one of the easiest ways to earn the trust of a potential client that is skeptical of the quality of your work. They are also quite easy to gather and can be used in various ways to suit your marketing needs. Do you see how easy yet vital it is to make use of this great resource? Now, how about you go gather some testimonials from your clients and post some of your best in the comments below.
About the Author:
Alissa Zucker is a professional marketer and experienced freelance writer at McEssay.com. She is interested in all marketing branches from social media to brand marketing and reading psychological books giving her an inspiration. She believes that dreams come true and has a big dream to jump with parachute.