A proven business marketing tool with strong ROI (Return on Investment) is undoubtedly the testimonial. For both brick-and-mortar and online businesses, testimonials can do wonders for building a reputation, consumer confidence, credibility and a competitive edge. Getting positive word circulated about your business is an important stage in its success and testimonials are extremely effective in doing just that.
While testimonials can come from experts, groups or organisations in your sector, the most powerful form of testimonial is that of customers, as they convey a genuine approval of your product or service. Not only were these customers happy with your business, but they took the time to let you know. When potential new customers read such praise, they’re more likely to feel confident in also using your business services.
In short, testimonials give your business credibility. For businesses that have been around for years, their longevity already says a great deal about what they have to offer. However, customer testimonials can only help, providing further proof of relationships built over time; a loyal customer base that has returned because of satisfaction.
For the newer business, the power of testimonials can be even greater. Without a brand name or established years to reference, new customers will look for further guidance as to the quality of a new business’ products or services. Testimonials can provide that much-needed reassurance.
So how do you go about obtaining testimonials? Simple… ask!
Sometimes people will feel inclined to write you a letter or email to thank you for your service but often people are too busy to go to the effort. However, you can easily contact your customers and ask for general feedback – are they happy with the service you provided? Did they receive their order in good condition? Ask a short series of questions – you don’t want to take up too much of their valuable time – and then ask them if they would mind writing a testimonial for you. If you’re speaking with them in person or on the phone and they say yes, and most will, you could even ask them to say it then and there while you write it down – before they forget about it.
As a thank-you to them for their time, consider offering a special gift or discount off their next purchase.
Once you have some testimonials you can use them in various forms:
The best way to display written testimonials is to include a full name and contact details (e.g. Sue Smith, Perth Australia, then include their email or web site address if possible) However, do this IF, and only if, you first obtain the person’s approval to display these details and that they’re happy to recommend your services. Alternately, have an audio testimonial.
With their complimentary words, testimonials certify a business’ quality and set a standard to be lived up to.
A promise to all future customers.
Another great, low-cost marketing strategy is to give away or show samples of your products or services.
In one of my recent posts I mentioned the divine promotional chocolate bites I bought from Moments in Chocolate, individually wrapped with my logo and contact details on them. When I saw the website for these I thought they looked good; I might be interested in ordering some… one day. But when I received some free samples, that was it! I was hooked and ordered straight away.
If you want to increase your marketing efforts, think about ways you can offer samples of your products/services.
Sometimes it’s not possible to give a sample of your work. For example, Etched in Memories (a business that creates exquisite pieces of jewellery, keyrings and name tags with your special photos, words or design expertly engraved) recently posted about their samples. It’s not practical for them to send free samples of their creations but they do offer a samples page on their website. Perhaps this is something you can do?
You could also consider offering a 30-minute consultation for free or a report, guide or booklet.
Let’s face it, most traditional advertising doesn’t come cheap. So how can you make sure you get value for your money?
Here’s a few tips:
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating advertisements that sell.