How to create a targeted client testimonial marketing plan that packs a big punch

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“Self praise, no glory,” goes the old saying. Hopefully you are ahead of your annual sales and retention goals. But if, like the majority of advisers, you are struggling to attract new client relationships while retaining your existing client base, client testimonials can be a powerful tool in your marketing kit.

I can hear some of you saying, “We already have a few one- or two-sentence quotes about how helpful our team has been.” What I'm advocating for is creating a small library of client testimonials, ones that address specific capabilities, attributes, outcomes and results — and then proactively incorporating those client testimonials into your marketing efforts.

Where should you start? Think about your best clients. They can be your largest clients with local brand name recognition or your most loyal clients with the longest tenure with your firm. They could be your fastest-growing clients or clients for whom your team performed at an extremely high level, thereby creating enormous value. Hopefully, these clients perceive you as their trusted adviser.

But let me be clear: I am not talking about passively waiting around for odd client tribute. I’m asking you to consider developing a proactive campaign to generate targeted client testimonials.

Let’s look at how this strategy can be implemented.

Once you’ve identified some of your best clients, consider the brief narrative you can build around what you have done for them and their employees. Consider it a mini case study.

And since you know best what you did on the client’s behalf and what the results were, you or someone on your team needs to draft the testimonial. Yes, you need to draft the testimonial since you know what needs to be emphasized from a marketing perspective. After all, you are promoting your business. You also want to make it easy for your client. So do the work for them and then let them give you permission to use the testimonial and their brand name to develop your marketing message.

Consider some of the following situations as themes to serve as the focal points of your testimonials.

Helping clients to, for example:

  • Revamp their major medical coverage and employer contribution to reward participation in their wellness plan.
  • Develop a multiyear benefits strategic plan.
  • Improve their benefits communication and enrollment strategies.
  • Educate their employees to become more informed consumers of healthcare.
  • Bend the healthcare cost curve and reduce their insurance premiums.
  • Institute a self-funded plan.
  • Adopt an onsite clinic or alternative pharmacy benefit program for better service at a lower cost.
  • Supplement their existing employer-paid benefits with voluntary benefits.
  • Improve their employee retention through more effective employee engagement.
  • Leverage technology to make benefits information more readily accessible.
  • Communicate more effectively about their benefits offerings in their recruiting efforts.

This is just a representative sampling of topics, but you get the point. We’re in the process of helping a few advisers with their client testimonials right now. Here’s how: Draft one or two paragraphs about what you did for the client and the end results. Once polished, discuss the draft with your client and secure their approval to use it in your marketing outreach activities.
In a short period of time, you will have a small library of testimonials that will promote your team’s strengths from a number of different perspectives — one or more of which will likely resonate with current and prospective clients. The testimonials can be used on your website, corporate LinkedIn account, in PPT presentations, e-brochures, etc.

The best part of this approach is that your clients will be “bragging” for you using real-life case study examples.

Being endorsed as a subject matter expert and trusted adviser is very compelling — and a winning marketing strategy.

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