One of the questions I ask on my client website design intake form is, “what pages do you want on your website?” And you know want to know a SUPER common one I see on there?
“Testimonial or review page.”
And you wanna know how many times I said, “let’s do it!”
But, after chatting with clients about it, it always seemed to open a can of worms….
Where should I put my testimonials?
Do I even need testimonials?
How do I get wonderful testimonials?
Thus… this guide you’re reading right now! We’re going into all things testimonials for your pet business - how to get them and how to use them.
Why testimonials are so great:
First things first, why are testimonials even useful for you?
1. It’s social proof.
And we need social proof. After all, why would you trust a company that you’ve never seen anyone use or purchase?? I certainly wouldn’t. Are they legit? Should I trust them? How do they handle X situation? Not to mention the fact that social proof can also cause ‘FOMO’ or fear of missing out. Look at all of these other pet parents who no longer have to deal with separation anxiety or pulling on the leash while walking? UGH, I want that, too!
2. It builds trust.
That last point above 👆 leads me to trust. Not only are we experiencing FOMO, but we’re also establishing trust because now we know that this company HAS worked with separation anxiety or dog-pullers before AND they’ve been able to solve the problem. How’s that for building trust and credibility? Testimonials allow you to see those that went before you and experienced the results that you are looking for. By having testimonials that dial in on specific experiences, you’re able to communicate with other potential clients that you’ve helped with their situation before. Perhaps you had a client that wrote you a review about how you helped care for their diabetic or disabled dog, they’ll be more likely to work with you KNOWING someone else in a similar situation has gone before them and you have experience in that particular situation.
3. It makes you look good.
Again, piggying back off number 2 here, you can use your client testimonials to essentially let your clients do the bragging and talking for you. Now you don’t have to spend all this time trying to come up with good copywriting explaining or ‘bragging’ about why you’re so great. Your clients can do it for you - and it’s better coming from their words instead of yours anyway!
How to get testimonials:
Now you know they're awesome (although you probably knew that). But, how do you get them? And we’re talking... How do you get the GOOD ones?
The answer: So many ways.
Here are some of my overall suggestions for you:
- Send a form at the end of a client’s first service or booking. Don’t just ask, “Can you leave us a review?” Ask them ACTUAL questions. Dig in a bit deeper. Whatever you want them to mention, be sure to ask the questions that get you the answers. So it’s not just… “How was your experience?” unless you’re trying to write content that focuses solely on your experience. Consider something along the lines of…
What was your favorite part of onboarding with us?
How did you feel using our software? Did it make things easier for you? Explain below.
What was the most important or memorable piece of using our services?
How can we best support you in the future? (CONTINUE the relationship)
Note: This can help tailor reviews to be placed with corresponding information on your website, in blog posts, or on social media.
- If you want reviews posted to Yelp or Google My Business or Facebook, provide them with the exact links to get them there so it’s just a matter of pasting in the review they already wrote for you organically. You can see how I do that with my website design clients below.
- Don’t forget to also ask them ways you can improve your services or experience, so they know you’re in it to truly hear from them as well as learn and grow as a company. I simply ask, “Do you have any suggestions for things we could improve on? I welcome any helpful feedback!” I also let them know that their answer is for us to improve our services and that it’ll just be between us two!
- In the form where they write the review, also ask them if they’d be willing to share a picture of themselves and/or their pet (depending on what you’re wanting and what services you offer). There have been instances where people have copied or made up testimonials (AWFUL, right? - but unfortunately, it’s been done). So, people may have become a tad warier of testimonials. A way to help is to also include photos of the pet you care for or perhaps the client if that’s applicable for you. Photos are a great way to build trust, especially when they’re making eye contact with the website viewer. If you can’t get photos or prefer not to, you can still include the pet’s name as well to make it more credible instead.
- I recommend asking their permission or at least adding a disclaimer that this information may be shared on your website or other materials (social media, brochures, etc.) This can be in the format of a simple yes or no question. See below for an example from my form:
Where to put testimonials:
It’s surprising how popular it still is to see testimonial or review pages on websites.
And for those who don’t believe me in terms of their ineffectiveness, well I can show you. Head into your Google Analytics and tell me the breakdown of pages your web viewers click on because I highly doubt the review page will be anywhere near the top. People won’t click on it. They already know it’ll be positive, otherwise, why would you have added it to the page?
Not only that but when it comes to best website practices, you also want your user to get the most important information in the least amount of time and pages possible. The goal is not for them to go through every single page on your website. It’s to get them from point A (landing on the page) to point B (purchasing or taking the next step).
Your potential clients will be more likely to read a testimonial while scrolling through your services than they would by actively clicking on the testimonial page and reading through them. It also feels less spammy and more organic when it’s flowing throughout your website at applicable stages (i.e. when you’re talking about your diabetic dog service, you can add the review from the diabetic dog parent below to show how you’ve helped that family in the past).
So, here are my tips:
Organically place your testimonials throughout your website.
When applicable, have reviews that coordinate with the information on that area of the page.
You can have testimonials on most main pages of your website.
You can also add testimonials to your blog pages when going over case studies or your service’s experience.
To get your hands on website templates that are made specifically for pet businesses and have testimonial spots ready and waiting for you to fill them in (and directions about how to do this!), head to the Pet Marketing Unleashed shop to find the right website template for you!
Can you edit testimonials?
This is a big one - We don’t want to really edit or change up testimonials. After all, they’re not your words. However, sometimes people can send insanely long testimonials or perhaps they wrote it in a rush and have a lot of spelling mistakes. Here’s the low down on what you can change in your testimonials:
You can fix grammatical errors or misspellings. Remember, you’re here to look professional and misspellings don’t help with that.
You can bold, italicize, or underline important words or phrases you want to highlight if you’re going for a nice design angle.
You can shorten the testimonial, especially if it’s really long. If you want to pull in multiple pieces (say from the beginning and the end), you can simply add “… ” to bring them together.
You can change pronouns to names in order to bring more clarification and specifics. For example, if the testimonial keeps saying “She” instead of “Mikaela,” you can change them to the proper name.
You can’t change up the meaning or change certain words you think may sound better in any testimonial.
There you have it! I hope this helps you feel more confident in getting those testimonials because they are insanely valuable, especially for an industry so personal and so focused on trust like the pet industry. So, be sure you’re asking for testimonials after a service - every client of yours at some point should receive a request for a testimonial. Whether it’s automatically embedded into your software or you’re sending out customized emails, you can certainly fit it into your process. It’s okay to personally email clients asking for this, and in fact, I highly recommend creating an email template for something like this so you have it on hand whenever you need it and you can make sure you’re including all the right things in the email without forgetting (especially if you’re busy).
If you need help crafting an email template on what this could look like, our Email Template Guide for Pet Businesses should help you!