So, what is the one thing your business has at its disposal, hopefully in abundance if you are doing your job correctly, that fits these 3 criteria:
The answer is, YOUR CUSTOMERS!
The following formula should be integral in your business operations:
Your customers are your best “mouthpiece” to promote your business. That “mouthpiece” should be used to gain testimonials…which you should be using to get those “all-important” referrals.
When should you be asking for testimonials and referrals? After you have over-delivered for a customer is a good opportunity. Be prepared with a flip cam or your cell phone in case a customer starts to tell you what a great job you did. If they start, ask them if you may record them. This is fantastic content to put on YouTube and link back to your website.
You may use your customer’s testimonials to assist in:
- Promoting your product and/or service in all media
- Your PR efforts
- Determining how best to offer your product and/or service
- Assessing what you do best
- Positively separating you from the competition
Today’s buyers are being more selective concerning the purchases they make. Friesen (2010) says one of the most effective ways to neutralize buying objections and add credibility to your product or service benefit statements is to permit your customers to speak on your behalf. The impact of utilizing testimonials to promote your business is great. If you are claiming that your product or service is great, it just does not pack the same wallop as do well-placed testimonials. This tool should be implemented to some degree in all of your promotional efforts.
Hey, this guy’s a genius…let’s take a look at another of Friesen’s insights. Friesen (2010) offers 14 opportunities for you to use testimonials in your print and digital media.
- Include a customer/testimonial comment in your letter copy. Open with a real “grabber” sentence or supporting sidebar story. Use quotation marks around the testimonial. The quotation marks add a human element.
- Consumers like to be associated with other smart buyers, so add comments from long-time buyers to your requests for referrals.
- Prospects want to know about the initial buying experience of first0time buyers. Therefore, add customer testimonials to introductory letters and emails that are sent to referrals. In emails, add 1 to 2 testimonials with a link to more.
- In direct mail pieces tease readers into opening the letter a testimonial that addresses a buying objection.
- Send a cross-selling email to recent buyers that include 2 or 3 reviews with a link of another product offering. Make it possible to make a purchase with one click.
- Place powerful customer comments in the first 2 inches of the email.
- Capture product reviews on video and use the videos in your television commercials, post on your website and You-Tube, and as a link in your emails.
- Place testimonials and comments prominently on the home page of your website.
- Actively solicit and post customer reviews for every product and service you offer.
- Use the link (URL) to your video reviews in all of your promotional vehicles.
- Get strong testimonials from customers with high-perceived credibility to assist in diffusing objections. For example, let us say you own a travel agency. Use a military officer who has traveled the world to compose a testimonial in his own words.
- In your internet advertising, where testimonials are used as headlines or sidebar stories, include the URL of your video reviews.
- Make testimonials visual if it is strategically effective. Use images of or from your customer. This is an opportunity to create and enhance both community and credibility. For instance, if you own a lawn service, provide photos. This has a two-fold benefit. One, the photos help show the quality of your work and two, shows off the customer’s lawn.
- Include testimonials as part of product delivery. It is a perfect time to reinforce a good buying decision.
Let me get close with this thought for you to ponder…
Be active in gaining testimonials! Testimonials mean referrals, which will drive revenue and should be the “life-blood” of your business!
Anonymous. (2010 July), Connectyx Rolls Out MedFlash Social Media Marketing Campaign. [1 page] Wireless News. Available: http://proquest.umi.com
Friesen, P. (2010 July), In Their Own Words. [4 pages] Target Marketing. Available: http://proquest.umi.co
Hauptman, D. (1983 March), The Human Factor: It Can Skyrocket Advertising Impact. [1 page] Direct Marketing. Available: http://proquest.umi.com
Hill, D. (2009 August), Ten Steps to Sell More Product Now. [5 pages] BioCycle. Available: http://proquest.umi.com
Martin, B., Wetzel, D. & Tomczak, T. (2008 Spring), Effects of Susceptibility to Normative Influence and Type of Testimonial on Attitudes Towards Print Advertising. [15 pages] Journal of Advertising. Available: http://proquest.umi.comTweet