One of our Top Ten PR Tips is that you talk to people about the wonderful things your company does. We also suggested you ask your clients for testimonials – priceless PR! If you’ve read that post and found the latter statement too cryptic, this post will expand on what testimonials can do for your business and how to get them.
Great proof: Testimonials are a great form of evidence that clients are satisfied with your service and would recommend you to their friends. This is hard proof. A satisfied user singing the praises of your product or service, especially when they say precisely how the product or service has benefited them, can reassure other potential users. Companies which understand this often put in a lot of effort to conduct user satisfaction polls. and to specifically ask permission to use the testimonials they receive in their PR materials.
Get permission: It is courteous to get verbal or written permission for the testimonial you will use in your publicity material. It’s better not to assume that simply because a client has written a “thank you” letter for services received, they want their name splashed all over your brochures for the next few years. So do get permission to use testimonials and clarify the conditions under which you will use them. For instance, whether a testimonial will be used as a once-off or in a publicity brochure with longer life span or as part of building a brand identity.
Credibility by association: For young businesses, a great way to build standing in the market is to start with gaining credibility by association. These are situations when a well-known business guru endorses your brand. Internet marketers are especially good at this. In the right context, a photo with Richard Branson or a mentor from The Apprentice can add credibility to a less well-know business personality and help promote their brand to a wider audience. In the personal development industry, a photo with Tony Robbins can say a lot more for your publicity than any number of words, even though there are photos of thousands of other of people with the “guru” in circulation.
Incentive to better service: Obtaining testimonials as a regular feature of your business processes can be an added incentive to challenge yourself to keep raising standards. Of course, testimonials are only one form of feedback from customers and clients. But the more attention you pay to what customers are saying about your service, the more likely it is that you will take into account their comments and act on their feedback where necessary.
Ask for testimonials: The simplest way to get testimonials? Just ask! Many of your clients and customers will give you feedback if you ask for it. Depending on the nature of your business, you may want to organise surveys and polls from time to time to gauge how you are perceived as an enterprise. These are good occasions to collect testimonials and to get the necessary permission to use them in your next round of PR activities.
Of course, we assume you will also give testimonials to business associates and clients that give you great service. What goes around comes around.