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The most disappointing thing about so many businesses, is to observe them not using the natural assets they have, and then hearing them lament about the lack of leads or sales revenue they are achieving, yet they are often sitting on a goldmine, that being the power of their customer testimonials.
So how do you go about harnessing all the good will stored in your testimonials? How are you going to disseminate this to your other customers and prospects in a way that will generate more sales for you, and create a general positive buzz about your business to the public at large?
The answer lies in a few actions, it takes time to see all the effects of this action but it doesn't take long and there is no force more powerful in marketing than the natural Word Of Mouth marketing, we are all engaged in to some extent.
So what to do? Firstly get those testimonials and get them in one place, and that means if they are written on cards and paper letters, you need to spend some time retyping them, it is very important that you have your testimonials in electronic format so you can really maximise their pulling power.
The next thing you will do is read them again; this is the fun bit where you get to bask in the glory of all that appreciation and goodwill that has come through all your hard work in making happy customers.
So now, with your head still spinning indulgently, you are going to start the process of segmenting by subject. This means picking some attributes that you can group your testimonials into, so let's say for example you are congratulated for your low prices, and then you have your first segment, high quality service may be another one and so on...
So now you have your testimonials and they are grouped by attribute, here is where you can really start to use them. Firstly on your website, so the idea here is to pick strong testimonials, and mix up the groups a little, now you know your market and you know what prospective customers make their decisions on, so you are going to tailor your testimonials to those important buzz subjects.
Let's say for example, you are faster than competitors and you receive testimonials for speed, so now you can pick those themes for some of your website's testimonials, Use one large type testimonial of this type for your home page with a title, say, 'Just Some Of Our Happy Customers...' And an example of a strong section of a testimonial may look like "Hey John, just wanted to say your team are fantastic, you were so much faster than our previous delivery company" You see the 'speed' attribute in there, so we are not just randomly using testimonials, we are intelligently using them for best effect.
Another thing you can do is look for keywords within testimonials that can assist in your page ranking without looking like an obvious word plant.
So, some other ways to spread all the good news, here is a brief list of where you can use these intelligent testimonial segments; Email signatures, Emailers, Sales Letters, Brochures, Social Marketing platforms, Telemarketing (speaking them) Exhibition graphics, Advertising, Personal Selling, PowerPoint Presentations, Articles, Press Releases, Linked-In, Facebook profiles- well the list is probably endless.
If you want to leverage testimonials in real-time and have a systemised way of asking for them, then there are websites such as Freeindex, that rank your business by the number of testimonials you receive, now you can't move those paper based testimonials over there to give you a good start, but you can have a systemised way to ask for new testimonials and put them to good use by your business achieving high ranking in web directories of this kind.
Remember, if you are using testimonials, often it is better to use a short segment that is strongest and most relevant; few people have time to trawl through acres of text looking for the good bits.
Before publicising your testimonials, be polite and ask for permission from your customers. Make it a habit to ask ALL your happy customers for a testimonial and while you are at it, why not build in asking for a referral as well? Referrals are the subject of another article as again there are lots of methods to building an effective Systemised Referral Process.
Good luck with using your testimonials, and let me know how it goes for you.