Client testimonials: 6 mistakes to avoid

Client testimonials: 6 mistakes to avoid

Written by on 13/02/20

Financial planning changes lives.

You can think of a client right now whose life you’ve changed. Perhaps you’ve helped them retire early or given them the confidence to spend more money in retirement. You might have set up life or critical illness cover which has now paid out and given the family much-needed security.

The more people who can benefit from financial planning the better. For that to happen we need to explain the benefits. Who better to do that; you, or the client who has experienced financial planning?

That’s right, the client.

And, as many people will land on your website on their journey to your door, this seems the obvious place to start. However, we’ve noticed that too many advisers and planners are making some basic mistakes with testimonials.

So, here are our top six. How many are you making?

1. Launching a website without testimonials (or any form of social proof)

We’ve heard all the excuses:

  • “People don’t believe testimonials” (they will if you display them correctly)
  • “My clients don’t have time to give me testimonials” (yes, they do, and yes they will if you ask the right ones in the right way)
  • “I don’t have time to get testimonials” (no problem, we’ll do it for you)

Your website plays a vital role in your marketing. It supports your referral strategy and provides validation to people who have found you elsewhere.  In terms of generating new enquiries, it has three jobs:

  1. To get the right people to take a call to action
  2. To pre-sell those people on why they should use you
  3. To signpost those who aren’t right for you elsewhere

Testimonials and other forms of social proof (case studies, client stories, online ratings and reviews, the results of client surveys etc) are vital if you are to successfully achieve the first two. Simply put, launching a website without social proof is a huge mistake.

2. Using anonymous testimonials

The age of the anonymous testimonial is dead.

If you’re going to use testimonials on your website, we recommend:

  • Focusing on outcomes and how things have changed since you started working with the client
  • That they are ideally 100 or so words in length so greater detail can be added. “My adviser was great” might be true, but it adds no value to the person reading it
  • Including the client’s name and their image to demonstrate authenticity (if you ask the right clients, in the right way, they will agree)
  • Adding the client’s location to show where you work and add keywords which will benefit your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  • Adding the date they became a client to demonstrate the longevity of the relationship

3. Writing testimonials for your client

If you ask clients to help provide social proof in the right way, this won’t be a problem. However, we’ve heard of occasions when advisers and planners have written testimonials on behalf of their clients.

No matter how tempting that is, it’s never a good idea.

Firstly, it’s completely inauthentic. Secondly, you will never capture exactly what each client is thinking. Finally, unless you’re a gifted writer the testimonials are bound to reflect your style, not theirs.

If you ask the right clients in the right way, you won’t ever be asked to write testimonials on their behalf.

4. Displaying testimonials on a single page

If you only display testimonials on a single page on your website most visitors will never see them. Our research shows that only 1-2% of all website visitors will ever look at your testimonials page.

We can learn a lesson from Facebook here. They don’t have a single page of adverts you can visit if you wish. Instead, they distribute the adverts throughout your timeline, so you see them while you are browsing the stuff you really want to see. We all engage with Facebook ads from time to time and given the opportunity, your visitors will engage with your social proof.

5. Believing that testimonials are the best form of social proof

They’re not.

In fact, in our view, they are the lowest level of social proof; case studies beat testimonials and client videos beat case studies.

You can see some examples of case studies on the Red Circle website by clicking here and client videos on the TFP Financial Planning website by clicking here.

6. Limiting your social proof to just your website

For a large proportion of people, their first interaction with you won’t be face to face, on the phone, or even on your website. It’ll be the results they see when they search for you or your business online, usually using Google.

Some will be looking for basic information such as your telephone number or address. Others will be carrying our deeper due diligence to understand if you are the adviser or planner who can help them.

What they see online will dictate what they do next. Impress and they are more likely to visit your website or get in touch. And that’s where Google Reviews help massively.

If you don’t have a process in place for collecting them, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to impress potential clients. You can learn more by reading our ultimate guide to collecting ratings and reviews online.

Let’s raise the standard together

As you might have guessed by now, we believe that the age of the traditional testimonial is dead. Together, we can do so much better.

The pay off for doing that? More people get to benefit from financial planning and your business grows.

From client surveys to collecting online reviews, developing client case studies or running video shoots, we’ve helped dozens of advisers and planners build their social proof. If you’d like to chat about how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing [email protected] or calling 0115 8965 300.

Share this post:

Meet the author

Phil Bray

Now in his third decade in financial services, Phil’s experience spans advising, compliance and marketing. Phil brings this unique mix of knowledge and experience to all Yardstick clients.

Find out more about Phil