These days, consumers rely more and more on the social aspects of research when they're considering where to spend their money. In other words, recommendations from real people can mean as much or more to them than advertisements or other marketing campaigns. Testimonials are a great way to show that people find your product or service valuable, but how do you get strong, believable testimonials to use on your site?
Timing is an important factor. You want to approach your customers when they have had a positive experience. Ask them if they would be willing to share it with others - most will have no problem with this.
Focus on them, not you. Yes, you want them to portray your business in a positive light, but keep in mind that they should be speaking to other potential customers about the results they got, not about how great your business is. The second part is implied; people want to hear about whether or not they'll get the results they're seeking.
Results should be measurable. It's not enough for the testimonial to say how great everything was in general terms - ask for specifics about how much improvement they saw, what exactly the end result was like, and so forth. This helps give people some idea of what they can expect when they buy your product or hire you for your services.
Make the testimonials as personal as possible. Include full names where you can, photos of the people giving the testimonials, and the address of their website if applicable. Potential customers are more likely to believe that testimonials are legitimate if they can verify something about the people giving the testimonials, confirm that they're real people, and so forth.
Elaborate with multimedia where you can. Have you received or run across some photos of your products in action, being used by happy customers? Seen some good video reviews of your company on YouTube? Take advantage of this by asking your customers if you can share their happy experience with others.
Don't rest on your laurels. If you got three great testimonials five years ago and those are still the ones you're using on your site, it's time to get some new ones. It's a great idea to refresh your testimonials periodically, especially highlighting new products or services that you offer.
Do you have a system in place for collecting reviews and testimonials?