Customer endorsements give your company honest credibility to back up your product or service claims.
Testimonials are powerful. They create believability, credibility and a sense of security for customers. They help break down the natural barriers and uncertainty customers may feel toward a business or industry. Watch any infomercial and you’ll see they’re loaded with customer testimonials.
Why? Because they work. Testimonials have the magic power of persuasion.
Testimonials will also create more loyalty in your customers. Once people put their name and reputation on the line by endorsing a product or service, they will stand behind that decision with conviction. When you ask your customers for a testimonial they will also feel that they are helping your business grow. Because they feel as though they have a direct hand in the success of your business, they will stay loyal.
There’s more to obtaining testimonials than just asking customers for their feedback. If you want to have powerful testimonials that catch potential customers’ attention and build trust, consider these strategies:
1. Don’t wait. Get a testimonial from your customer as soon as possible. This could be within the first week after you provide service. Your customers will be the most motivated to write a testimonial during this time period.
2. Always ask customers to mention your unique selling proposition in the testimonial. For instance, if your USP includes a free camera inspection, ask your customer to attest to this.
3. Don’t ask for testimonials in survey requests. Your customer needs to have the freedom to stay anonymous and say negative things in your survey, but this is the opposite of what you’re looking for.
4. Have customers be specific. If you delivered a stellar act of customer service, have him or her write about exactly what you did and how it helped the customer.
5. Ask customers to talk about why they hired you. Most likely those who read the testimonial will have similar needs and will relate. This will make your prospect more interested in hiring you.
6. Have customers state their specific situation or product needs. This will make their testimonials even more persuasive and directly connected to a new customer’s requirements.
7. Obtain a picture of your customer, and take it yourself if you can so you know you’ll get a good one. Photos double the effectiveness of a testimonial.
8. Make sure you get permission from your customers to use their testimonials in your advertising. Thank them profusely and let them know that testimonials like theirs help your business grow.
9. Ask if you can use not only their name but also the town where they live. This increases the believability of the testimonial and demonstrates that they are real people who may live in the same community as your potential new customers.
10. Suppose your customers procrastinate about sending their testimonials. Call them up and say that you know they are busy but that you value them as customers and their testimonials are important to you. Suggest that to save them time, you will draft a testimonial for them and they can make any changes they want.
Thank your customers
If you thank your customers for their testimonials it will increase the goodwill you already enjoy and affirm their decision to help you out. Send a personal letter thanking them for their effort. Thanking your customer tends to improve your rapport and solidify your relationship.
How to use testimonials
It’s not enough to receive customer testimonials; knowing how to use them is what makes the difference. Consider these ideas to work testimonials into your marketing program.
1. Scatter testimonials over your website. Some businesses make the mistake of putting all the testimonials on one page. If you have testimonials pertaining to a specific product or service, place them on the page describing those products or services.
2. Always include a testimonial in your advertising. You’ll never see an ad for a weight-loss product without a testimonial. Why? Because people are skeptical of ads, and testimonials overcome skepticism more than any other marketing tool.
3. In every direct mail piece you send, include one or more testimonials. This reinforces whatever offer you are promoting.
Start a testimonial drive
Chances are you haven’t been diligent in getting testimonials. I would urge you to make a commitment today to start asking for them from every customer. You can’t have too many customer testimonials. Plan a “customer testimonial drive” and set a goal to obtain a certain number within the next three months.
Testimonials are a powerful tool to remove uncertainty your potential customers have. And when customers give you a testimonial, it solidifies your relationship with them because they have “gone public” with their statement of support for your business.
David Carleton is the author of “7 Steps to Website Success.” Learn more and contact him at www.localbusinessmarketingsuccess.com.