Client testimonials do for your business what exercise and diet do for your body: they tighten up the loose and jiggly parts replacing “brand flab” with “brand muscle” and tone.
The result? People see you and your brand in a whole new light asking questions like:
- “Have you lost some weight?”
- “Working out?”
- “Are you seeing someone?
- “Have had some work done?”
With so many businesses vying for attention with often similar-sounding and compelling arguments, customers have difficulty deciding which one to choose and which one they’ll trust.
This is why client testimonials are so important.
People Trust Those Who Are Similar To Them
This is why client testimonials help validate the quality of a product or service with the power of those with whom your clients can identify.
What if I shared with you a simple and proven method to collect and use client testimonials?
Good, because that’s what I am about to do: pull back the curtain and open the floodgates to acquiring client testimonials that are meaningful and effective.
The first thing to know is there are two key types: written and video testimonials.
While written is great, particularly for SEO and other online reasons, video testimonials are often the most powerful.
And each of these two types is approached in a different way.
Below I outline:
- The oldest and most reliable format for dialing in on your product or service’s value
- The proven method for getting high-quality client testimonials in written form
- The proven approach of the most powerful form of testimonials: video testimonials (with three actual examples showing how I’ve used this) which will cost you nothing in terms of a video team, camera equipment, and lighting.
Ok, let’s get started.
AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
It’s the oldest and most reliable format for dialing in on your product or service’s value, and one of the oldest checklists in marketing: AIDA.
It’s useful to know when looking at testimonials because without knowing these, a testimonial can become “XYZ was so amazing. I loved working with them.” which is empty, a time-waster, and as useless to you as it is to your customer.
This is why we want to be aware of this sequence.
AIDA follows the sequence of discovery and the journey any customer goes through when discovering your product or service.
- Attention (or Awareness)
We simply need to know these are useful “building blocks” of effective client testimonials.
These are NOT scripts. They are just checkpoints to be aware of in the testimonials we collect.
Without attention or awareness, you’ll get no place. Of course, differentiation plays a major role here. So, have a strong hook that results in attention.
Once you have attention, you have to build that attention into interest as in “Why should I, the customer, stick around?” (or in the case of testimonials, “What about this person’s story might parallel with mine?”)
This interest step is achieved by building rapport and connecting with the pain points, frustration points, and aspirations of your customer. Testimonials do this by sharing points that the prospective customer can relate to.
Interest is a point of curiosity. Achieving interest, you graduate that up to desire. We must elevate this into desire.
Brands need customers to desire what they offer. Share points about your product or service (or have customers convey something unique that builds desire for your product or service).
Then, this results in action on the part of the customer, wanting this to the point of being ready to purchase (or inquire as testimonials will often do).
Here are four marketing examples using the AIDA structure for fictional companies I created showing how AIDA applies to any company with any audience in any space (and can easily be converted into a testimonial checklist):
- TECHNOLOGY COMPANY — We provide social media channels for the next generation of shoppers
- FOOD COMPANY — Sexy Food for Prudes: We make delicious food for the celibate lifestyle
- CARPOOL SERVICE — Carpooling for Introverts: We make travel and commuting less socially awkward by doing it for you
- MUSIC AUDIOBOOK APP — Audio Books for Music Lovers: We eliminate the compromise of “reading” or “grooving” with our breakthrough technology. Now you can do both. Double the fun in half the time.
ABC Technology: We provide social media channels for the next generation of shoppers.
Attention: We’re the next generation of social media.
Interest: You know that feeling when you see a social post and think, “I wish I could do that?” Well now you can. With ABC Technology’s social media channels, you’ll be able to post anything on your favorite platforms with just one click. Want to go live on YouTube or Facebook? That’s cool too. Our team is always here for support 24/7 so don’t hesitate to reach out anytime.
Desire: It doesn’t matter what type of business you have — we’ve got a plan for every lifestyle and audience. Whether it’s an e-commerce store looking to grow its customer base or a small business trying to get more exposure, our services are perfect for any size company. Get in touch today and let us show you how easy it is.
Action: Click this ad right now and sign up for a free trial of ABC Technology’s Social Media Channels!
Sexy Food for Prudes: We make delicious food for the celibate lifestyle.
Attention: If you’re a celibate, then this is the perfect product for you!
Interest: We make delicious food that’s meant to be eaten with your hands and enjoyed in private. You don’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning up after yourself because we’ve got it all taken care of. All you need to do is enjoy our meals without any guilt or shame.
Desire: Our products are made from high-quality ingredients and packaged in discreet containers so no one will know what’s inside them. They can be delivered right to your door so there’s no need for awkward grocery store trips either! Plus, they taste great too — just ask anyone who has tried them already!
Action: Order today by clicking on the link below.
Carpooling for Introverts: We make travel and commuting less socially awkward by doing it for you.
Attention: You’re an introvert and you don’t want to deal with the awkwardness of carpooling?
Interest: We get it. It’s hard enough being an introvert in a world that seems designed for extroverts. We’re here to help. Carpooling for Introverts is a service that matches up people who need rides to work, school, or other destinations with others who are going the same way. So you’ll never have to make small talk again — just hop in and enjoy your ride.
Desire: Say goodbye to long drives in silence or being stuck in traffic with people who are too chatty. Our drivers will pick you up at your door and take care of everything so that you can focus on work or play while we get you where you need to go quickly and comfortably. And if there’s no one else available near your home, our app will find someone close by who needs a ride as well.
Action: Click this ad right now and sign up for a free trial of Carpooling For Introverts.
MUSIC AUDIOBOOK APP
Audio Books for Music Lovers: We eliminate the compromise of “reading” or “grooving” with our breakthrough technology. Now you can do both. Double the fun in half the time.
Attention: We hear you: you’re a music lover, but you also love to read.
Interest: We know how frustrating it is when you can’t find the time to do both things that are important to you. That’s why we created Audio Books for Music Lovers — so you can enjoy your favorite tunes while reading your favorite books.
Desire: With our innovative technology, now there’s no need to choose between listening and reading. Double up on fun with double the speed of traditional audiobooks. It’s like two worlds in one device! And it works on any device – from iPhones and iPads to Android phones or tablets. Go ahead and groove out while reading today.
Action: Click this ad right now and sign up for a free trial of Audio Books for Music Lovers.
Written Client Testimonials
Written testimonials are easy to get if you know one thing: a client’s willingness is different from their ability to write a testimonial others will give a damn about.
So how do you take a willing customer and help them to help you?
Here’s how to make sure it’s not awkward or frustrating.
Getting client testimonials like a pro:
- Deliver an exceptional product, and provide extraordinary outcomes.
- Confirm your client “won” with what you were supposed to deliver.
- After confirming you have a happy customer, tell them, “It would be awesome if others, with aspirations like you, knew what you achieved” and “Would you help me out sharing this with others in the form of a testimonial?”
- 95% will say “Yes.” (But here’s where you’ll screw up. You’ll ask them to write something. And they won’t.)
- NOT because they’re unwilling. But because you’ve mistaken their willingness with their ability to write something original. And the majority will choke on that (or you’ll get a piece of crap you wouldn’t wish on your worst competitor).
- What do you do after they’ve said, “Yes”? You tell them, “To make this easy for you, I propose I write a draft, email it over, you edit as needed or you OK it as is. How’s that sound?”
- I have never encountered a single customer to have a problem with that option and they’re often relieved that you’ve made it so easy.
Remember: Just use the AIDA checklist to draft something in their voice and send it over.
And you’ve solved and eliminated have no (or crappy) testimonials.
The Most Powerful Form of Client Testimonials: Video Testimonials
Nothing is as real as seeing someone who’s REAL that your prospect can identify.
And if you have a bunch of them, then it overcomes the idea that you might be a one-hit-wonder.
Follow these steps:
- Deliver an exceptional product, and provide extraordinary outcomes.
- Sometime during the experience, after they’ve seen what you can do, you ask them if they’re willing to share that to help you let others know what’s possible.
- If possible, coach them on looking into the camera lens, rather than askew. But remember: you want this to appear authentic (which it is) so do NOT try to perfect the production values. Of course, you don’t want bright lights behind them so they appear like a whistleblower video or a location where the audio is hard to decipher.
- Collect a bunch of them from your clients or customers and then edit them, jumping back and forth between your various customers so viewers see there’s a consistency of outcome with your service and product.
How does this look in finished form?
Watch these three examples from my Brand Intervention Masterclass all recorded remotely in the homes or offices of the alumni who were thrilled to have their voices be heard in the world.
Here’s another compilation showing the range of people the program helps, and the variety of individuals it impacts:
And occasionally, you’ll have a single testimonial with so many gems and nuggets that it can stand alone:
And remember: Use the authenticity of hand-held videos, and natural lighting, and little idiosyncrasies to add a genuine feel rather than an overproduced one.
Now you know how to collect and use written and video testimonials to add the necessary social proof in social selling today.