How to write a testimonial

One of the ways that any business gets more business or how they get their name out is by referrals, reviews or testimonials. However, not many people know how to write one. I honestly didn't for the longest time. I thought to myself, "Why does it matter? No one's going to read this. I don't have anything important to say and even if I did how should I write it?" Today, I am going to show you how exactly to write one and where you should post it.

First, you will want to choose where you end up posting this review. There are many different platforms including Yelp!, Google, Facebook, and a lot of places - like photographers - have niche websites that you can find reviews. Example: Trade workers - Angie's List, wedding photographers - The Knot, all photographers - ShuttrPlace, Airbnb for rentals. This list could go on forever, so just look up some different search engine websites for your particular service.

Second, the star rating. Not all places have this in their reviews, but if they do, it is very helpful for you to fill this part out. Some may have sections where you can rate different part of the services (like Airbnb for cleanliness, communication, location, etc.) or they may just have one for the overall experience, such as Facebook pages. This is very important because it's the first look that other people will get when reviewing it. I always like to look at the low end and the high-end results. Unless your experience was just so-so, try to end for one end of the spectrum instead of in the middle.

Next, the actual writing portion. When I am writing a review, I like to make a small list off to the side of things I liked and did not like. It can be as long or as short as you like. I try to aim for 3-4 of each. It's great if I can't make the bad part that long. After I had made my list, I will come up with a few things to say about each point. One to two sentences unless I need to go into more explanation.

Finally, organizing the post. The best rule of thumb is if you are giving them an overall positive review, but you have a negative comment somewhere in it, put the more positives on the outsides like a sandwich. For example, "I loved the location of the house of our Airbnb. It was right near the city. However, it did take quite a few steps to get there. But, the view from the room was totally worth it." That's a sandwich. Make sure to do this either for the whole post or each individual point. You can also do this vice versa if you had a negative experience.

Now, what if your post is negative? That's okay. However, you want it to be more of constructive criticism rather than bashing. Company's read these. When writing a negative post, think about how you can help them improve or give them a guide. I know when I had no longer wanted to be contacted by a service because I was dissatisfied, I wrote that in the review that they did not have a system in place that all departments could see about not calling anymore. Maybe they should have one in place so customers wouldn't get frustrated with the constant contact that they no longer wanted to receive. That's helpful to them. It gives them something they can work on.

Here some examples of well-written reviews (the names have been blacked out to protect the privacy of reviewers and companies).

Why give a testimonial?

Something I do ALL the time when I am shopping around for anything is I look at reviews. Whether that is products (like camera lenses or clothing) or services (like a restaurant or a hair stylist) I look to see how they are reviewed. I want to know how my money is being spent and if it is being spent wisely. I don't believe that I am the only one who does this. 

How do those reviews get there? (In an announcers voice) "From viewers like you. Thank you." 

You are able to rate and review almost anything online now. It helps others make decisions on whether to buy (or experience) or not. Your voice matters, good or bad. 

That is exactly what a testimonial is. [Testimonial = Review]. It not only is something for the consumer to get to read, but also the person who is in charge of the products and services. It helps them get better. It helps them understand their weaknesses and strengths. It gives them a chance to improve or continue what they are doing. Sometimes this is the only way they get to know this. 

So why is this all important? I will list a few reasons.

  1. It allows the company to receive feedback and improve or continue what they are doing. 
  2. You help others either buy (or steer clear) the service or product. 
  3. It's a real person that is giving this review, or in other words "not an actor."
  4. You are helping the company by telling them the honest truth. 
  5. You have the insight, why not share it?

Now that you know why it is important, how can you help get the word out?

  1. Send the company an email/letter/contact form with your review
  2. Rate it on their social media sites (i.e. Facebook)
  3. You can also write a review on these sites or even comment on a post
  4. Review it on Google+, Yelp, or any other business review site
  5. The biggest one... WORD OF MOUTH!! (but also tell the company so they can get your feedback too)

As a business owner, I am always wanting to know how I am doing. I want to know both the good and the bad. That is the only way I am going to improve my business and make it better for you. If you like something, tell me. If you hate it, tell me. I would rather you tell me you hate it (and that others do) so I can stop doing it (or if you love it, so I can focus more on it). 

 

Kaytee Lorentzen
Owner & Photographer
Kaytee Lorentzen Photography