Satisfied customers are the best marketing resource for any business. This adage is especially true in the Cleantech sector, where unproven technologies and uncertain return-on-investment abound. Although we all wish we could have our most satisfied customers sit down with all our prospects to chat about their experience working with you, realistically this isn’t possible in most cases. So a portfolio of well-crafted customer testimonials is the next best thing. Here are our Top Ten Tips for Terrific Customer Testimonials.
1. Concise Summary of the Challenges
Testimonials have the most impact when the challenges faced and overcome by the customer match those of the prospect. So the temptation is to be vague about the customer’s situation and challenges, to avoid being shut out of consideration. However, we recommend that you to be as specific as you can about the customer’s business (industry, size, location) and pre-existing situation (challenges that led them to look for the solution you brought). But don’t write a novel, this is only the preamble. Get to the heart of the matter quickly.
2. Compelling Differentiation Led to Choice of Your Firm
Every problem has multiple solutions. But your customer chose you for a reason. Illustrate and elaborate on your unique advantages that led to the customer’s choice of your solution for their problem. Was it technical features, responsive delivery time, outstanding customer service, your rock-solid reputation, or some combination of these and more? Even if you were the low-cost bidder, price should never be quoted as your differentiator. Value, yes. Price, no.
3. Financial Impact of the Product or Solution
The product or solution that you delivered to the customer had a financial impact to them, in terms of cost savings, ROI (return on investment), reduced LCOE (levelized cost of electricity), or some other financial metric. Work closely with your customer to ensure that they are able to measure and validate the financial impact in some way which is meaningful to their executives, board, and shareholders. Then concisely convey that financial impact in the testimonial.
4. Personal Impact of Working With You
In addition to the financial impact, your customer had a unique personal experience working with you. Perhaps you consistently delivered ahead of due dates. Perhaps you always brought bagels and coffee to project team meetings. Perhaps In any case, your satisfied customers have a story to tell about the pleasure of collaborating with you.
5. Quotable Quotes
In addition to longer, paragraph-length prose, you want to make sure that your customer gives you some choice soundbites that you can pull out as quotable quotes for sidebars, feature text, and the like.
6. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
We all know the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. Be sure to include photographs of your product in operation at your customer’s location, the overall project, and the customer who is being quoted in the testimonial.
7. Bullet Summary
The best customer testimonial is worth nothing if it is not read. That’s why you need a high-impact bulletized summary of the key points to pull in readers who only have time to skim. If the bullets interest them, they will read the full testimonial.
8. Repurpose Across Media
Customer testimonials can be as simple as a prepared PDF file or as elaborate as a complex graphic/animation. With good pre-planning and customers who are willing to tell their story, one customer interview can yield several different testimonial vehicles. For example, a PDF file, PowerPoint slides, a video, and a webpage.
The best story is no good unless it is told. Work with your PR professionals to shop your customer’s story around to print and online publications to get favorable coverage in exchange for an exclusive (time-limited). Then promote your customer testimonials through every channel available (and affordable) to you. Consider web advertising, speaker placement, and multimedia.
10. Quantity vs. Quality
The ideal portfolio of customer testimonials will include a spectrum of stories across the products/services you offer and market segments (industries, regions) you serve. But don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Better to have fewer, high quality customer testimonials than a large collection of stories that don’t demonstrate the value you deliver.
At Energia Marketing, we have extensive experience researching, writing, and producing customer testimonials that clearly demonstrate the value that your unique Cleantech solution offers. Please contact us today to discuss how we can help.