In times as challenging as today's, small business owners need to improve their marketing game. There are many ways to do this, from automated digital strategies to proven, old-fashioned tactics like customer references.
Given the increasing dependence of Americans on the opinions of others when buying lipstick through to enterprise-level software, testimonials may be more important than ever. So you can get your customers to work for you and create customer references for maximum marketing impact.
The goal of customer testimonials is to convince potential customers to make a leap of confidence if you like and to choose to do business with you, even if they may not be familiar with you or your company. Plan your testimonial strategy by identifying the most common stumbling blocks that prevent potential customers from doing business with you.
Suppose you are a personal trainer. Obstacles that can prevent people from hiring a personal trainer include beliefs like, "Personal training is too expensive." "I'm too out of shape to work with a personal trainer." "I don't have time to train every day." or "This is not a good time to meet people face to face."
Once you have a list of general objections, your goal is to identify your customers who had the same concerns and ask them to give you a testimony. Not only does this help you get testimonials from a wide range of customers, these recommendations also come from people that your potential customers can more easily identify with.
Good testimonials should be authentic, comprehensible and also explain who the people who are giving your testimonials are. If you sell B2B, this may include the person's name, company, and title. When selling to consumers, demographic factors such as age, city, workplace, marital status of the customer, whether they have their own home and whether they have children can be taken into account – whatever is relevant to your company. When potential customers see people like themselves in their testimonials, they are one step closer to doing business with you.
Good testimonials should also state exactly how your company, product or service helped the customer. Vague generalizations like "This is an amazing product!" will not convince anyone to buy from you. Instead, you want to show what needs or problems the customer had and how your company solved them.
For example, a personal trainer might have a certificate like "I couldn't lose the baby weight and my youngest child was 8 years old!" Use. I didn't think I had time to get back in shape, but in just three sessions a week, X Personal Fitness helped me lose 35 pounds. "
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How can you get these great testimonials? First, ask your most loyal customers if they are willing to give a certificate. Then contact customers who say nice things about your company on social media or who give you positive reviews online. Sometimes these comments are ready for testimonials. In other cases, you may need to work them out a little.
Very few people think they are good writers, and most get nervous when asked to write something for the public. For this reason, asking customers to write their own testimonials is an obstacle. Your customers will be stressed and you will get boring, generic testimonials.
Instead, offer guidance to get the certificate you want. Initiate your testimonial request via email or on your social media platforms and then ask if the customer is ready to make a short call (5-10 minutes) to chat. Make it clear that you won't be calling to sell them anything. Once you have them on the phone, the following questions will help you get good customer references:
When speaking to your customers, don't be afraid to ask them to be more specific. For example, a personal trainer might ask customers how much weight they have lost, how many dress sizes they have lost, or how much weight they can have on the bench press.
Recording your conversation has several advantages. You capture the exact wording of the customer so that you can use them in the testimonial, making them more authentic. You can also pay more attention to your conversation because you are not trying to take notes. (Be sure to ask the customer for permission. In some states, recording a phone call without permission is illegal.) When you're done, write the certificate and show it to your customer. Make sure you get your approval in writing before using it.
If you have customers these days who are willing to share their testimonials on video, that's even better. Videos are powerful marketing tools that you can place on your website, on your social channels and in ads. Drag a few quotes out of the video to use as text references.
Depending on the nature of your business, you can record a Zoom or Microsoft Teams conversation and use it as a testimonial.
Your possibilities for customer references are really only limited by your own imagination. Of course, you can publish them on your website, use them in marketing materials such as brochures or flyers or include them in advertisements. However, I've also seen customer testimonials printed on employee t-shirts or framed and displayed in a company's lobby. Social media is the perfect place to exchange customer references in a natural way.
Finally, get into the habit of regularly asking satisfied customers for new testimonials. Once you've discovered the power of customer references, you want to make them an integral part of your overall marketing strategy.
CONNECTION: How to Benefit from Customer Complaints