On using your words wisely: the power of testimonials

I received the most brilliant, heartfelt thank you today from my client Philip Berryman. I'm so proud of it as Philip has summed up precisely the sort of experience that we set out to deliver in such an eloquent and genuine way. It'll be going on to our website soon, and I'll add it in to our proposal templates. And using testimonials is a big part of our marketing strategy; after all, it helps to reinforce why people buy from us, and provides reassurance to prospective clients that we'll be the right fit for them. But it made me think, as very often the clients we work with have reams of gorgeous testimonials gathering dust in a draw somewhere - and so today I want to talk about the power of those words and how you can use them to help you sell more effectively.

Hannah, Dan and Derek are responsible for not only my new web site and branding but so much more. A tireless, positive source of inspiration and valuable advice that has kept me on my toes and made me see my industry and profession in a whole new light. Ditto have managed to get inside my head and heart, work out my strengths and weaknesses and simply pick me up and push me in the right direction with added confidence and all managed with elegance and passion.
— Philip Berryman

Isn't this magic? Beautiful testimonials such as this make my heart swell with pride and remind me just how valuable our work is.

For those who find it difficult to articulate the value of what they do - or for those who aren't sure themselves - a client testimonial is invaluable. Words have the power to seduce, to persuade, to compell the reader to take action. And if you're uncomfortable about singing your own praises, testimonials are a great way to big you up with a level of sincerity that's hard to muster when you're writing about your own business. It all helps to create a brand that communicates a feeling, and helping a client to feel a certain way helps make selling immeasurably easier.

Make it a habit to ask for testimonials

Hands up if you regularly ask for testimonials. No? Been there. It's a very British trait to be allergic of asking for praise, and it's something we all desperately need to crack. Chances are that your clients would be only too delighted to help, so the only thing standing in the way is your nervousness to ask.

Use them wisely

Stuffing a big bunch of testimonials on one page of your website is as useful as a chocolate teapot. No-one clicks on those pages: no-one. The best way to put these gorgeous words to work is to thoughtfully and strategically weave them into your marketing materials. Use them on proposals, on brochures, on your website - pepper them around to help reinforce the point that you're making, and add an extra dimension to your voice.

Learn from them

Client testimonials have shaped the way we talk about our business at Ditto. We started to notice a pattern in what people were saying about working with us, in a way that was quite unexpected. Without fail, clients will emote more about the experience of working with us and the confidence that we provided more than the visual work itself... and when we finally realised how powerful that aspect of our work is, it was a game changer. Suddenly it's less about selling logos, and more about communicating to prospective clients the way in which hiring us would shift their mindset and kick things up a gear. It made us realise: people don't just buy branding from us. They buy confidence. And that's altogether more powerful.

Your homework

If you haven't gathered any testimonials recently, please go and ask for some. If you have, evaluate where you're currently using them. Are they displayed proudly, or are they hidden away somewhere? If the answers' the latter, get them to work! Think about how you can employ those words to get them working for you. And if you've found a brilliant use for your testimonials, I want to hear it!