Adding recommendations is an easy way to empower a new business program.
As part of my consulting work, I’m asked to review a lot of agency websites from a new business perspective. Recently, I had a request to review the website of a large ad agency in New York. I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t find a single testimonial from a happy client. A good number of agencies neglect to add this important component to their marketing mix.
The impact of online testimonials, reviews and recommendations:
- Most B2B prospects are half way through the buying process before the first meeting with a representative.. – Accenture
- 71% of B2B buyers look at reviews and testimonials during the consideration stage. Over 90% of prospects are choose your agency after reading a trusted recommendation. . – G2 Crowd and Heinz Marketing
- Online reviews and recommendations influence 88% of decision makers’ buying decisons. . – Zendesk
- 63% of prospective clients indicate that they are more likely to choose your services if your website has positive reviews and testimonials. – CompUSA and an iPerceptions study
- Displaying testimonials can increase conversion rates by 270%. – Spiegel Research Center
- 85% of decision makers trust reviews as much as personal referrals. – BrightLocal
Third-party validation is a powerful tool for agency new business. Testimonials help to eliminate skepticism, provide credibility and trust. If done correctly, it’s one of the easiest and most effective ways of creating appeal with potential clients.
Through a number of studies, one fact remains clear: client recommendations matter.
Here are some simple tips for creating and using testimonials:
- Don’t be generic. Specific, detailed testimonials are much stronger than those that are general and vague.
- Prospects are more likely to believe testimonials that are attributed to a specific person and company than those that hide their identify. I’ve found that most happy clients are glad to provide a written recommendation and are willing to have their name attributed to the testimonial.
- Provide testimonials on your firm’s website which is your online brochure. It is the place for capabilities, credentials and case studies. They should be used anywhere and everywhere on your site. Not just on a testimonial page. Include testimonials and reviews in other materials used to promote your agency such as your newsletter. The more places potential clients can see them the better.
- Develop a consistent process to solicit testimonials from your satisfied clients. The best time to ask is immediately after you have done business with them.
- Whenever you receive a great letter or e-mail from a client praising your work, be sure to ask them if you can use their comments as a recommendation.
- Adding pictures to testimonials can significant increase interest and raise their CTR.
- Providing a link to the site of the person who wrote the testimonial can bring additional credibility.
- Don’t neglect to create some select video testimonials. These are much more personal and powerful than just written copy.
- Good testimonials are filled with benefits. That’s what prospective clients are really looking for and how your services benefit them.
- When asking for testimonials, give your clients clear instructions on what your need. Make them as specific as possible.
- I’ve found that setting up a Google Alert to receive daily email notifications of who is talking about your agency is a way to discover additional testimonials.
- An easy way to request a recommendation is through LinkedIn. You can ask your clients and other connections to write a recommendation of your work that will display on your profile. With their permission, you can add it to other materials used to publicize your agency. LinkedIn is also a great place to give testimonials in order to get testimonials.
I asked a client recently for a recommendation via LinkedIn and within an hour received this response:
“Michael Gass has invented a process that is absolutely incredible — and he’s a joy to work with to boot. We’ve been running on his advice for only a few months and are already having prospective clients CALLING US! What? So, hire the guy, will ya?” Eric Kiker, agency principal, LRXD, Denver, CO
If you aren’t using testimonials, you’re missing out on a simple but great tool for new business.
Email me at email@example.com if you’d like a copy of my guide, Seven Steps for Fueling New Business or let me know if you’d like to schedule a time to discuss your new business challenges.
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