The testimonial rule will soon be history – and good riddance. But beware. In an environment where you can encourage and promote feedback, the clarity of your target market and value proposition is more important than ever.
Who you ask for testimonials and what they say will have a strong influence on the effectiveness of your message. And avoiding bad reviews will take on new significance. Here are some of the things to keep in mind as the effective date of the new marketing rule becomes effective.
Get testimonials from people your ideal client can relate to.
One key to effective feedback is how well the prospect you want can identify with the source of the testimonial. People hire advisors they know, like, and trust. When we design a brand framework, the hero of the story is your ideal client. Its effectiveness starts when your prospect identifies with that character. The recognition of “hey, that’s me” starts them on the journey to client.
Gathering testimonials from avatars of that hero will make your proposition much stronger. If your website features a mix of profiles, your promise gets watered down. Different profiles value different things. Consistency builds confidence. Similar clients seeking similar outcomes reinforces your brand promise. Four endorsements describing similar situations beats ten testimonials saying different things.
Testimonials aligned with your process help ensure you will deliver what new clients expect.
Fulfilled expectations lead to client loyalty. A shared vision of success and a well-communicated plan enables you to establish mutual expectations. Have a clear description of your ideal client and the outcome they seek. Understanding their challenge and definition of success, you can describe a plan to get there. When you are clear about your process you can more consistently deliver on those expectations. It creates satisfied clients and helps avoid unhappy ones.
Testimonials work both ways.
While the ability to put endorsements on your website is great, reviews on third-party sites carry more credibility. And those platforms will attract negative as well as positive. Bad reviews are probably unavoidable. Some client situations are out of your control and some clients are unrealistic no matter how clear you are.
One way to mitigate bad reviews is to accumulate enough positive ones to overwhelm the negative. Maybe even make them hard to find. But a more direct strategy is managing expectations. A clear promise delivered to a clear audience can uncover mismatches that lead to disappointments early. Knowing who you guide and clearly articulating the journey you guide them on helps align expectations.
If it becomes evident you cannot deliver the experience the client seeks, you can more easily recognize when to have the conversation facilitating their move to a different advisor. Address it promptly and handle it well and you can help prevent disappointment from becoming anger.
It all comes back to target marketing.
A client-driven practice focuses on the client persona, what they value, and the outcome they seek. And that informs what kinds of testimonials will work best and who you get them from. The new marketing rule will open up powerful new strategies for firms with a clear brand.