As a small business, testimonials or endorsements from satisfied customers can be a great asset to help round out your marketing.
Unfortunately, as the owner of a small business, I find myself quickly moving from one project to the next without taking time to reflect, recap and then request (that sounds like and article title by the way - the three R’s of ending a project) an endorsement or testimonial from the client. My request then comes months later when I’m in the midst of a marketing push and some of the glow from the project has worn off. I sometimes feel awkward asking for a testimonial out of the blue like that. So, I’ve taken a new approach to requesting testimonials.
Ideally, I would collect a testimonial shortly after the project has ended. It should be part of my post-launch task list right along with checking search engine visibility and other post-launch tasks. That doesn’t always happen so from now on, I’m going to accept it in lieu of payment for some small bit of work that I’ve done for the client.
I know what you’re thinking. “You’re going to trade money for an endorsement? Shouldn’t they give you that for free? Shouldn’t you get paid for your time?” Yes. Yes. And Yes.
I often get small follow up jobs from clients - changing some contact info on a site, exporting a logo in a particular format, adding a FAQ… run of the mill type work that I frequently do for various customers. These are small jobs that I could usually bill a quarter hour for and often the clients will ask how much they owe me. Instead of sending over an invoice, on a couple of occasions I have told them “No charge!” and if they were satisfied with the service that they receive from me, would they mind giving me a testimonial or endorsement. So far, the clients have been happy to do it.
I look at it as a win - win. They get some free work. I, hopefully, get an endorsement that I can use for marketing purposes. At the end of the day, we’re both happy. If they were to not give me an endorsement, for whatever reason, I’m out very little and hopefully that little bit of free work goes toward solidifying a business relationship.
On a side note, I think not billing for small things that take very little time can be a powerful tool for cementing a relationship but there is a limit and it can sometimes seem arbitrary (when you bill for something one day but not the next - or vice versa). So, be careful when it comes to giving away your time.