Creating trust is key for PI companies, more even than other types of brands. The most trusted content comes from other people or business with the right experience: This is called “social proof,” because it comes from outside the business’s own marketing efforts and proves that they are trustworthy.
One of the most effective types of social proof is a testimonial, which can be incredibly helpful for lead generation, especially when it comes to private investigators. But just as people are looking for signs that they can trust a PI, they also need to trust before they provide a testimonial. Our guide will go through how to create a trustworthy testimonial plan!
Make Testimonials Part of Your Follow-Up Process
A common piece of advice for getting testimonials is to “Just ask.” But when do you ask, and how do you do it without seeming awkward or unprofessional? One of the most effective ways is to include a request for testimonials and reviews as part of your follow-up process or final communication with a client.
Some PIs may prefer to do this in person. Others may find it easier to include a call to action for a testimonial on a follow-up email after a case is completed, or in a letter sent to the client. Email is a particularly common option these days, because it’s easy to craft an email template with a testimonial request built in, after which you don’t have worry about it. Whichever method works for your business, it’s important to incorporate this step into your process for every client. Not every one of them will respond, and that’s fine – this is still an excellent method to increase your number of testimonials or build a bank of testimonials to work with if you don’t currently have any.
When creating these requests, remember to stay brief and professional. Focus on the contact information where testimonials should be sent, so that clients know just what to do.
This is another key part of creating trust with your clients – make sure they know that testimonials will be anonymous! PIs work with sensitive details all the time, and it’s natural for clients to be uneasy about sharing anything from cases involving their personal lives, sensitive financial matters, and so on.
To help assuage these concerns, stay clearly that testimonials will remain anonymous. Many companies choose to use a basic first name, last initial format, such as “Stephanie R.” or “Brian H.” If this still seems like a little too much, don’t feel forced to include this much information. First names alone are fine.
Create a Testimonial Web Form
Many testimonials are sent via email, which is a great option, especially if you have a dedicated email address for reviews or social media. However, current trends encourage businesses to create online web forms on their sites that clients can fill out and submit. There are several advantages to this web form approach, including:
- Ease of use: Clients don’t have to open an email or copy an address to create a testimonial this way, it’s less time-consuming for them.
- Routing: It’s easy to route testimonials exactly where you want them to go.
- Linking: Linked to these web forms is particularly easy – you simply link to the right web page on your site in your email message.
More advanced web forms are gated from visitor access and only available to clients with the right links. There are many options for building these forms!
Encourage People to Tell Their Stories
A simply testimonial that says, “Thanks for the great job, your services were all that you promised and more,” is nice…but it doesn’t really say anything. Leads that are looking at your website for more information won’t learn much from content like that. If you are looking for more detailed testimonials, don’t be afraid to encourage clients to summarize their stories. As long as they are sure of anonymity, many clients won’t have a problem talking about what they wanted investigated, and why they were so pleased with the results.
Ask for Feedback on Social Media
Having trouble getting good testimonials from your current clients? If you have a developed social media audience, social media is a great platform to ask for deeper feedback with a link to your web form or other information about making testimonials. This way, you can reach a broad number of people at the same time.
If you aren’t sure how to ask on social media, again – just ask! Your post about testimonials doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t have to call out any individual followers with requests. If you aren’t using social media very much and don’t really have followers that you can ask for testimonials, it may be time to contact a marketing company and talk about creating a social strategy for your brand.
Ask for a Letter of Recommendation for More Formal Clients
Some private investigators may work primarily with commercial clients about sensitive business matters. It can be more difficult to ask these clients for testimonials, but that shouldn’t stop you! Instead of a casual testimonial, consider asking them for a letter of recommendation that you can use for other commercial clients if necessary. This can help you work with other high-profile businesses, but you can also use parts of the letter for testimonial content.
Always remember, keep your request honest, and do whatever work you can to make creating a testimonial easy for your clients – and you won’t have any trouble!