It’s Referral Monday. Every Monday, my blog post is about some aspect of referral marketing. This week, I’m talking about using testimonials to build your referability.
Testimonials in various formats are extremely valuable for those contemplating buying your products or services. First, they show other people that someone else has already done business with you. Second, people will talk about the results that they received so it helps prospect understand that these are the same results that they could expect as well. Third, people will talk about the experience and that’s important as well for many of us. For example, if a business doesn’t accept credit cards, that’s a huge issue for many.
As I mentioned, there are many formats the testimonial can take and here are 5 ways to collect testimonials.
1. Emailed Testimonials—Written testimonials are the tried and true form of borrowing trust from one of your existing clients. Sometimes the challenge is actually getting your client to sit down and write you a testimonial for you. In terms of process, I suggest you ask for the testimonial first. As soon after you’ve delivered your excellent product or service so it’s fresh in memory for the client. If after a week, you don’t hear from them, drop them an email with some suggested text and encourage them to modify it however they see fit. This should produce a result.
2. Website Feedback Form—CMS websites now have the ability to add a plug-in that will bring up a comment box for your clients to simply go in on line and provide a testimonial real-time for your website. Collect feedback from clients using a simple survey or interview and post their written comments directly on your web site. I am going to suggest that you implement this in such a fashion where the comment has to go to you first for approval. I know WordPress has a plug-in for FAQs and I’ve seen it modified to collect testimonials and then the message goes to the administrator for approval before it gets published. (For questions about this, you can talk to Jarrett Gucci, the WordPress Warrior.
3. On-line Directories—Directories like Yelp, City Search, Merchant Circle, and Yahoo Local/Yahoo Directory allow you to collect on-line testimonials. The pro is that these can be very powerful, the con is that these can be very powerful. You need to be perfect everytime. More than 1 bad review can be detrimental to your business, especially if you don’t have very many reviews.
4. Audio Testimonials—These are useful to post directly on your web site and aren’t that difficult to obtain. You can have them call a number in your office that’s specifically for voicemails. Most office phone systems today have the ability to turn that phone message into a MP3 file so you post it to your website. If you don’t have that capability, you can always use a service like FreeConferencecall.com—have them call in and give them the directions to record the call. Later, you’ll get an email with a link to the recording.
5. Video Testimonials—Again you can post these directly on your website or maybe you have someone who is so thrilled they go ahead and post it on Facebook for all to see. Obviously we aren’t going to post negative feedback on our websites, so getting someone to post feedback like this in other places on-line can be incredibility powerful for you. A great way to collect video testimonials is to have a customer appreciation event and have a videographer there to collect your testimonials. A nice offer to encourage your clients to come out is to offer to have them record a brief interview for their own business.
What other tools have you used to collect testimonials?