Are people happy with your company? And are you looking for more people to be happy? If even a few people have told you that they are happy, then use their testimonials to engage more new people.
Let me specify that I’m not talking about paid endorsements. I’m talking about real people who are pleased with your product or service.
Why go to the trouble of promoting testimonials?
- increase your credibility
- add another layer of info without “selling”
- reinforce your brand message
- build relationships
- provide yourself with real-world info for more ideas
- re-motivate yourself and your team
What does a good testimonial look like?
- a photo of a real person using your product
- a short “They did a great job for me” statement
- a paragraph mentioning several great things
- several paragraphs telling a compelling story
- any combination of these
Who can give testimonials?
Well, who is a customer? Anyone whose actions affect your results, according to Steve Yastrow. So that includes:
- community members
- industry experts
Testimonials work best when completely identifiable, so use full names whenever you can.
Are you too new to have good testimonials? Then get some test customers, give away some samples, and ask for comments.
How do you capture testimonials?
- Ask. Just ask. If someone makes a positive comment to you, ask them to write it down, or to let you write it down for them. Now if you do the writing, be scrupulously honest; do not stretch even a little bit. Make it easy for them. Let them use any of the types listed above.
- Use tags for del.icio.us, Furl, Technorati, and other online tools. As marketing and advertising continue to over-saturate us, the boom in social bookmarking and social searching online is one of our coping responses. It’s the current version of word of mouth. The same people who are paying less attention to your ads are paying more attention to the advice of other real people. That little tag means that someone has endorsed you online. So make it easy for people to tag you.
- Give them something they can share. Chris Brogan suggests stickers, anything with your brand on it, and even coupons.
Where do you use testimonials?
- on your website
- in your store, especially in product displays
- in your office
- in your waiting area
- in any ads
- in your newsletters
- on the back of your business cards
- in your product descriptions
- on your brochures
- anywhere your branding appears
Testimonials can be incredibly powerful. With this reminder, and these ideas, now is a great time to pick up the phone and ask for one. Make it the first of many.
(c)2006 by Becky McCray
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Reprinted with permission from Small Biz Survival, www.BeckyMcCray.com.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.