Testimonials for your photography business are a must! We now live in the era of ‘reviews’ and we won’t make a purchasing decision without reading at least one. The problem is that when you ask even the happiest customer for a testimonial, it can often come across as pretty bland. So how do you get more powerful testimonials? That’s coming up…
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I know you know already that good testimonials are essential. You need them everywhere. You should have them scattered all over your website and the rest of your marketing and communication.
Us humans RELY on the feedback from others because we desperately don’t want to make a mistake with our hard-earned cash.
The internet and social media has ramped this up to epic proportions. How often do you buy something nowadays without any kind of recommendation at all?
But testimonials can be mildly helpful or they can be mind-blowingly effective. Let’s start by looking at some mildly helpful ones.
Like this one:
“Julie’s a great photographer. She was so good with our kids and we’re so delighted with our photographs. We’ll treasure them forever.”
Or this one:
“We had a great experience from start to finish. Everything from the first email, to the relaxed photo shoot to the delivery of our gorgeous products. First class!”
Pretty good reviews, right? You’d probably be happy to receive them as the business owner. But the truth is they’re very bland to your potential customer. They could have been written for any photographer really. I mean, let’s face it, you’re not going to put bad reviews on your website are you?
Someone considering booking you will get some comfort from testimonials like these but they won’t be struck by a burning desire to book you immediately or anything like that.
Testimonials like these are generic. They don’t do any harm but they’re just mildly helpful.
You’ll be glad to know that it’s really easy. You just need to collect testimonials that link directly to your dream client’s concerns and desires. What does your ideal client worry about when it comes to booking a shoot with you and what does she want more than anything from it?
These are the testimonials you want. These are the testimonials that are going to make that dream client of your sit up and take notice.
So get specific. Stop curating bland reviews and stop asking your clients for general testimonials. They’re rubbish. Look for specific snippets in their messages to you and start asking for specifics reviews from specific clients. Let me explain…
Let’s say you’re a pet photographer and you’ve just finished working with a client who was really worried about her dog not behaving well during an outdoor shoot with you. Obviously you rock the shoot and use your amazing skills to get some great shots of her wild dog. She realises that she needn’t have been concerned about this at all and she tells you this as you’re walking back to your cars.
You know this is a worry that lots of potential clients of yours have so all you need to do is ask her to write a sentence or two about the concern she had before the shoot and how she felt afterwards. This testimonial is going to be a fantastic addition to your website and your welcome brochure.
You could even ask her if she would mind if you wrote what she just said down as a testimonial. This is a great way to make sure you collect all the juicy testimonials. Because with the best will in the world she might forget to get back to you with her review. Life gets in the way, she gets busy and she doesn’t do it. This way you can write it yourself using her words and send it to her for approval.
Here’s some more examples:
A curvy boudoir client was so worried about looking overweight in her images but she cries with delight when she sees how beautifully you’ve captured her figure.
How many more beautiful, curvy ladies are not booking a shoot with you for the exact same reason? Would it help them to read about this woman’s experience?
A dad tells you that he was absolutely dreading being involved in a family photo shoot but was surprised at how much fun he had and how relaxed he felt.
How many mums are not booking a shoot with you because they think their partner will probably hate it. Would it help them to read about this dad’s experience?
You meet one of your past clients on the street and she tells you that everyone who visits her home gushes over the wall gallery you created for her and how it’s the best thing she’s ever bought for her home.
How many potential clients are worried about the money they might end up spending after a shoot with you? Would it help them to read about how this client values and cherishes her purchase?
A bride tells you that every time she looks through her wedding images she cries and laughs and gasps throughout. And so does everyone else.
How many more brides-to-be deeply desire wedding imagery that brings back every emotion from every moment so that they can relive it again and again and again?
I know I always say this but humour me. Put yourself in your client’s shoes for a moment. Let’s say your photographer got in touch with you and said,
‘’If you enjoyed your family photography experience with Julie Christie Photography I’d be so grateful if you could write a few sentences as a testimonial.’’
Honesty, how likely are you to put that request off? And if you ever did get round to doing it, how generic would you end up being?
Wouldn’t this be better?
‘’I was so delighted to hear how much you both loved your viewing and ordering session. Some clients are concerned that they might get the hard sell and as you know, that’s not the case. I’d be so grateful if you could write a few words about your viewing experience and why you enjoyed it so much. I know potential clients would get a lot of comfort from it.’’
You know what it is you’re going to write because you’ve already said it to your photographer. They’re telling you specifically what they want from you. It’s way more likely that you’re going to do it and it’s way more likely that it’s going to be good.
But what about this. Would this be even better?
“I hope you don’t mind but I wrote down what you said to me about your viewing and ordering session and I would love to use it as a testimonial. You can read it below and let me know if you are ok with me sharing it online. Please let me know if you’d like anything changed or added to it.”
This time you don’t have to write anything at all! Your photographer has done the work for you. She’s used what you said to write her own testimonial. All you need to do is say it’s ok or not.
When you have specific testimonials like this you can put them in exactly the right place on your website and across the rest of your marketing. And when a potential client reads them they’ll be miles more effective.
So think about all of the concerns and desires your potential dream client has. Who have you worked with in the past that could help you address these? Start reaching out with specific requests. Not to everyone. Just to chosen clients.
Make it easy and quick… for both of you! Just one of these easy, quick, specific testimonials will hold more weight than twenty general, bland reviews that say what a great photographer you are.
Don’t feel you have to go forth and collect tons of these right now. Be realistic and just add one at a time when it feels right to ask. Add it as a task in your client workflow so you don’t get too busy and forget.
As always, if you want to immerse yourself in more in-depth training, coaching and mentorship for your photography business you should check out the Togs in Business Membership.
And, if you're overwhelmed and can't get clarity around how to grow your business, what steps to take and in what order - this article will walk you through how to write your Ultimate Photography Business Plan. Do check it out.