Gathering testimonials from your happy clients has always been an important way to showcase your credibility. As the nature of search on the web evolves, having these praises displayed from the people who put their trust in you becomes more and more imperative.
Think of the way that you search for a service that you are in need of. Whether it be on or off the web, we like to have a verification from someone else before choosing a company to provide whatever service we are looking for. We turn to sites such as Google Local and Yelp that gather reviews from people and provide an overall rating for a business. Those ratings people are posting about your business are not controlled by you; they are controlled by the website collecting them, making you vulnerable to negative reviews.
Asking customers that you know have been pleased with you and your business can be the best way to show potential customers that you are the right choice. When you collect your own, you can use this collection on your website as a representation of your business and apply schema markups in Google search results for your website to show that your customers have given you the highest praise. (Ask a SEO Specialist about Schema Markups and how they can help your website rank). This puts the control back in your hands, rather than in the hands of other sites that will pick and choose which reviews to show on your business profile.
Bottom line is this: people only write about a business if they are either really happy or really upset. If you know a customer is completely satisfied, you should always ask for a testimonial, even if they wish to remain anonymous.
I have attached a simple form that you can use to collect testimonials from your customers. Ask them to fill out the box as if they were talking to their best friend about the experience they had. That way you can try to avoid anything that may not sound genuine.
We often see that a lot of business owners have not come to the realization that people are doing their research online before they make any decisions. Or they realize it but don’t act on it. We also tend to find that business owners will collect hand written testimonials but not use them for anything. Your current and past clients can be your best advocates! Word of mouth is still the best form of marketing you can employ so use the opinions of your happy customers to your advantage.