Filed underGrowing Your Small Business
What is the one thing that should be at your company’s disposal in abundance that fits all 3 of the following criteria?
The answer is, YOUR CUSTOMERS!
The following formula should be the focus of your business operations:
Your customers are your firm’s best mouthpiece to promote your business. That mouthpiece should be used to provide valuable testimonials – which you should be using to generate all-important referrals.
Many business owners ask, “When should I request testimonials and referrals from my customers?” A prime opportunity is after you have over-delivered for a customer. Be prepared with a flip cam or a cell phone in case a customer starts to tell you what a great job your company did. If the customer starts, politely ask them if you may record their comments. This type of content is gold! Place testimonials on YouTube and link back the videos to your website.
Use your customer’s testimonials to assist in:
- PR efforts
- Product and/or service promotion
- Assessing where your company excels
- Positively separating your firm from the competition
- Analyzing and determining how best to offer your product and/or service
Today’s buyers are more selective when it comes to purchases. Researchers in 2010 reported that 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 dramatic. For example, if your business claims that your product or service is unmatched, that claim simply doesn’t pack the same wallop as do well-placed testimonials. Testimonials should be implemented to some degree in all of your promotional efforts.
Research offers 14 recommendations where you can use testimonials to maximum benefit in your print and digital media.
- Include customer/testimonial comments in your solicitation letters. Open with a real attention-getter statement or supporting sidebar story. Use quotation marks around the testimonial. Believe it or not, 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 first-time 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 your direct-mail campaigns tease readers into opening the letter with 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’s 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. Two, photos show off the customer’s lawn.
- Include testimonials as part of product delivery. It is a perfect time to reinforce a good buying decision.
Be active in gaining testimonials! Testimonials mean referrals, which will drive revenue and should be the “life-blood” of your business!
Steve Whitaker – Creative Director
Steve’s Light Bulb Moments LLC