By Deborah Pearce
At the end of the day, it's your business so you decide!
There are two views on testimonials with probably some people having a foot in each camp. Some say they don’t work, that they could be made up and do people actually believe them? We can certainly see their point. However, it’s interesting the feedback we get from therapists who do have testimonials, they note that if they monitor hits to their website then the testimonial page can sometimes get more hits than other pages.
1. Preferably get written permission from the client concerned to publish their testimonial (an email confirmation should be sufficient).
2. Consider getting a consent form (or email equivalent) which has tick boxes to offer the client choice as to where you publish their testimonial i.e. website, leaflet, advert etc. Nic is producing a folder of testimonials that she’s considering putting in the reception of her clinic, so that could be another option. Include some text to ensure that the consent is ‘irrevocable’, ie the person cannot subsequently withdraw their permission.
3. Don’t make them up, it’s obvious to some people when one person has written all the testimonials and Nic could spot this happening a mile off in her old career. She’d be able to pick out the made-up testimonials from sales people and it would instantly put distrust into her mind.
4. If possible and if it doesn’t compromise the client, ask to publish their name as this makes it more believable than putting something like ‘NG of London’ for instance.
5. Try and get differing content in the testimonials. It’s all well and good having some lovely clients saying ‘I think you’re great’ but what is more valuable is something such as ‘I benefitted greatly having had the deep tissue massage as my back felt so much more relaxed’, or ‘since having reflexology with you my headaches have disappeared’.
6. You may have to prove to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that you have written permission to publish the testimonials. Testimonials are subject to the ASA's rulings, i.e. claims in testimonials are subject to the same evidence requirements as any other marketing statements. That means that you may not use testimonials to circumvent the ASA's code by making claims in a customer statement that you would not otherwise be permitted to make. See the following link for more details:
The Benefit of Testimonials
Part of marketing your services is to confirm to a potential client that you can help them. Therefore the more diverse the testimonials, the more clients you will appeal to. Testimonials and case studies allow those potential clients to become more comfortable with approaching you in the first place, possibly serving to allay any fears they may have or making you appear more approachable/ friendly! By showing potential clients that you have helped others, they may then think it's possible to get good results too.
Increasingly people are using audio and sometimes even video for their testimonials. This gives your website visitors the added option of hearing and/or seeing a ‘real’ person, which can add even more credibility.