Word of mouth is one of the most powerful and economical forms of marketing
and testimonials are a form of word of mouth marketing. If you've been in online business for a while, you've likely (hopefully) gathered a ton of glowing feedback from your customers.
Gathering testimonials and reviews
If you haven't been collecting nice comments from your clients, now's the time to start. If you have a searchable ticket system or email archive; run searches on terms like
.. and you may be able to dig some up.
Mining testimonials from surveys
Another way to get testimonials is to simply ask. Send an email to your customers stating you would greatly appreciate some comments from them. Ask a few questions such as "are you finding our products to be valuable?". Better still, run a quick survey that also encourages people to add their thoughts in their own
words. There's some great online survey services around that can make setting up a poll a breeze and easy for your customers to participate in. The beauty of this method is that you can also gain a treasure trove of other valuable data too.
Offering freebies in exchange for feedback
If testimonials are thin, considering offering a select group a free sample of your products and services. The catch is the person will also need to agree to complete a brief questionnaire or survey after receiving the item, and for their comments to be published. Encourage honest feedback, that way it also becomes an opportunity to identify issues that can be rectified to improve your products/services.
Using photos with reviews
If a customer is prepared to supply a photo with a review, that can go a long way to shoring up the credibility of your testimonials page. However, it's a double edged sword. First impressions count and if your customer looks shifty or suspicious, or if the photo isn't really ummm.. usable.. then you have a dilemma trying to explain to the customer why you didn't use their pic :). Some people just aren't photogenic. I'm one of them. I force a smile for a camera and it looks like a grimace :).
Using testimonials and reviews
The easiest way to use this positive feedback is to have a customer reviews and testimonials page on your site. This page should be linked to from every other page. Also weave links to it into your content. For example, on a product showcase page you could have something like:
Using testimonials without permission
Sometimes you might get some great feedback from a customer; you ask for permission to publish it and hear nothing back. Again this is just my opinion, but I feel it's okay to reproduce this material as long as you preserve anonymity. For example, just use the person's first name and last initial and strike out any other personally identifiable information in the content.
There will be evangelists among your customers; some so passionate that they probably also stalk you and have your face plastered all over their bedroom ceiling too. Avoid using these testimonials as their exuberance can seem too good to be true and can turn potential customers away. You can always kindly ask the client to tone it down a bit. If your company is the person's hero, he or she won't object.
OTT testimonials are also common on "make money online" web sites where the site owner has colluded with others to generate what can be best described as questionable testimonials. It's a part of what I call the inner circle strategy. While these are effective on the unsuspecting, more experienced surfers and discerning buyers can spot these a mile off.
Using fake testimonials.
If you're going to publish a testimonial, ensure it's in context.
Keep tabs on testimonials
Every once in a while, touch base with the folks who supplied you with testimonials and reviews to see if they are still happy with the service. It's not only a good PR exercise, but can save you some
You can spend a ton of cash on whizz bang marketing tools, but you may
already have a gold mine sitting on your computer - what your clients have
said about your business. As individual as we all like to think ourselves to
be; the opinion of others can and does sway our purchasing decisions.
In the interests of transparency and disclosure, please note that the owner of Taming the Beast.net often receives goods and services mentioned in reviews for free, or may receive payments or affiliate commissions for advertising or referring others to merchants of products and services reviewed.
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