Happy People = Testimonials = Dollars

Are people happy with your company? And are you looking for more people to be happy? If even a few people have told you that they are happy, then use their testimonials to engage more new people.

Let me specify that I’m not talking about paid endorsements. I’m talking about real people who are pleased with your product or service.

Why go to the trouble of promoting testimonials?

  • increase your credibility
  • add another layer of info without “selling”
  • reinforce your brand message
  • build relationships
  • provide yourself with real-world info for more ideas
  • re-motivate yourself and your team

What does a good testimonial look like?

  • a photo of a real person using your product
  • a short “They did a great job for me” statement
  • a paragraph mentioning several great things
  • several paragraphs telling a compelling story
  • any combination of these

Who can give testimonials?
Well, who is a customer? Anyone whose actions affect your results, according to Steve Yastrow. So that includes:

  • customers
  • employees
  • vendors
  • community members
  • industry experts

Testimonials work best when completely identifiable, so use full names whenever you can.

Are you too new to have good testimonials? Then get some test customers, give away some samples, and ask for comments.

How do you capture testimonials?

  • Ask. Just ask. If someone makes a positive comment to you, ask them to write it down, or to let you write it down for them. Now if you do the writing, be scrupulously honest; do not stretch even a little bit. Make it easy for them. Let them use any of the types listed above.

  • Use tags for del.icio.us, Furl, Technorati, and other online tools. As marketing and advertising continue to over-saturate us, the boom in social bookmarking and social searching online is one of our coping responses. It’s the current version of word of mouth. The same people who are paying less attention to your ads are paying more attention to the advice of other real people. That little tag means that someone has endorsed you online. So make it easy for people to tag you.
  • Give them something they can share. Chris Brogan suggests stickers, anything with your brand on it, and even coupons.

Where do you use testimonials?

  • on your website
  • in your store, especially in product displays
  • in your office
  • in your waiting area
  • in any ads
  • in your newsletters
  • on the back of your business cards
  • in your product descriptions
  • on your brochures
  • anywhere your branding appears

Testimonials can be incredibly powerful. With this reminder, and these ideas, now is a great time to pick up the phone and ask for one. Make it the first of many.

(c)2006 by Becky McCray

Want to reprint this article? Please include the following notice and link:
Reprinted with permission from Small Biz Survival, www.BeckyMcCray.com.

About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.

Wondering what is and is not allowed in the comments?
Or how to get a nifty photo beside your name?
Check our commenting policy.
Use your real name, not a business name.

Don't see the comment form?
Comments are automatically closed on older posts, but you can send me your comment via this contact form and I'll add it manually for you. Thanks!


  1. Anonymous says

    Testimonial is one of the main ways to build credibility or performance history.

    One must admit though, if you see testimonials in someone’s website a thought of “ah he wrote that himself” crosses your mind.

    A third party testimonial is needed, a neutral third party. Example: Ebay but sadly Ebay does not solve the problem as you have to do transaction to be able to leave feedbacks.

    Along came 2Locals.com for local businesses, check the website out http://www.2Locals.com and every business has its own page and testimonials, look at http://www.2Locals.com/littlepalace (my favorite store around San Jose by the way) I think to have an account at 2Locals.com is a must for building credibility.

  2. says

    Thanks for being kind enough to leave a comment. I’m sure that by using pictures, real names, and people’s own words, it is possible to use testimonials credibly on your website.

    On the other hand, your choice to promote one particular for-profit site would be more credible if it weren’t anonymous.