When it comes to promoting a business, the gold standard for many entrepreneurs is great testimonials. They resonate with potential customers because they come from customers. It’s an effective way to convey your “why shop here” message. And that helps strengthen your competitive position. Here are some tips to get great testimonials and share them with potential customers.
Why Testimonials Are Important
A TechValidate study reports that 94 percent of business-to-business marketers rate content from real customers as “very” or “extremely” effective. The results are just as strong if you market to consumers. 92 percent of consumers read online reviews and 48 percent will visit a company’s website after reading them.
That’s why it’s critical to make testimonials a visible part of your marketing strategy. Buyers tend to view this content as less biased. It’s part of their information gathering and it often steers them toward a buying decision.
How to Get Great Testimonials
“Timeliness” and “motivation” are two important factors in gathering testimonials. One survey reports that testimonials need to be gathered within one month after purchase to be relevant. Some retail businesses get instant feedback by providing a survey link on their receipt. Online businesses might follow-up with an email shortly after delivery with links to a survey or a social media site where they can leave a review.
Consider offering an incentive to motivate customers. Some businesses offer a chance to win cash rewards if customers leave a review. Others provide coupons for reduced pricing on a customer’s next purchase or a giveaway item.
Here are some other tools you can use to gather feedback:
- Facebook – Turn on the Reviews tab of your business page. Leave a post encouraging people to leave a review. They can even upload a video testimonial. Facebook allows you to include special offers to these fans.
- Specialty sites – There are a number of specialty sites, like Yelp and Google Places that allow people to leave reviews. That feedback can be an important influencer to would-be customers.
- Google Alerts – Some people comment on your business without you ever soliciting it. You can set up a Google Alert to get notified daily of when your business is mentioned.
How to Use Reviews
Once you’ve gathered customer testimonials, here are some ways to use them:
- Socialize your reviews – Feature the feedback on your website, especially in spots where you’re asking them to take action (like the “Buy Now” button). Consider linking your social media feeds to the website so they appear automatically without you having to link to them. Some businesses have an entire page that features feedback from customers.
- Respond to reviews – Let people know that you’ve listened by responding to feedback, both positive and negative. Consider featuring a “review of the week” on your website or social media site. People tend to react by sharing posts with friends when you mention them by name.
- Create extended content – Sometimes a tweet or post doesn’t do a review justice. So follow-up on a comment by interviewing the customer. Create a case study or whitepaper that more fully describes the situation and how your business was able to help. Enhance it with photos or video of the customer. Then you can push those out to potential customers to help tell your story.
Great testimonials can make your small business stand out from the competition. Start by considering these tips to collect customer stories then feature them prominently in your marketing efforts.