Getting the most from Testimonials
The Question of Testimonials
The question of whether to include testimonials in your publicity material is one that crops up on most marketing courses that we run.
There are two points of view:
1. They're not worth displaying because everyone knows they are made up.
2. They provide potential customers with confidence they are choosing a competent practitioner.
Whatever your viewpoint, when we talk with therapists who do use them, they tell us that their Testimonials page is amongst the most viewed page on their website.
Some ground rules
If you are going to use testimonials there are a few ground rules you need to follow to avoid getting into hot water if challenged as to their authenticity.
Here's a summary of what the Advertising Standards Authority has to say on the subject:
You must hold documentary evidence that a testimonial or endorsement is genuine by:
o showing that the quote is from a real person
o the quote reflects what that person said
You must hold contact details for the person who gave it
Claims within a testimonial must not be misleading
Also, you must have permission from your client to use the testimonial and, if appropriate, permission to use their photo.
The documentary proof should ideally be signed and dated. An email from your client might be considered as acceptable proof, but if the email is from an 'unverifiable' address such as hotmail (as opposed to a provable company email address) it should contain additional contact details from the client.
Keep them genuine
Above all, do not be tempted to write your own endorsement. Posing as a consumer is in breach of the Advertising Code.
As with all things regarding the legality of your promotional material, be sensible, do not make unsubstantiated claims and that includes claims within testimonials.
Finally, don't compromise the therapeutic relationship by asking for one. Nic never asks, but if she receives one she'll simply say "Is it okay for me to use this in my marketing, no worries if you don't feel it appropriate"? She will also consider the client in question before asking, if they're the nervous type, they may feel bad about saying no, so she'll usually only ask the confident ones.
Take Action to consider obtaining testimonials
Nic and Debs