Testimonials: The Bang without the Buck!

What would you say if I told you there was a secret way you could dramatically boost your sales without spending a dime? You'd probably think I was pulling your leg, right? But, if the CEO of a respected Fortune 500 were to tell you the same thing, I bet you'd start listening. The same is true when it comes to marketing your own online business. Ironically, when it comes to saying good things about yourself, your product, or your service, most people are more likely to believe what someone else says before they believe you.

Enter the strongest selling point for any organization-the TESTIMONIAL.
With great testimonials you will be able to:

And, what's best-testimonials cost you nothing, but with them, you have everything to gain! If testimonials can do all this, why aren't more people tapping into their power? In today's fast-paced world, many consumers long for a return to the days when they shared a more personal connection with their places of business; when face-to-face communication alleviated any of their fears of fraud or scams. Facts and figures are great, but what your potential clients really want is to hear directly from other people-just like them-how your products or services deliver. They want to be assured that your company and products are trustworthy and reliable. By adding testimonials to your Web site, you can begin generating the personal connection that is needed to establish that basis of honesty and validity that your clients so desire in their online shopping experiences. With testimonials, you will no longer have to convince your clients that your product or service delivers the benefits they seek because this has already been guaranteed by the person giving the testimonial.

Testimonial Tips- 4 Ways to Make Testimonials Work for You!

Just as a great testimonial can build customer confidence, the use of average testimonials can not only leave your sales flat, but can actually damage your business' reputation. Let's review what separates the best from the rest.

1. Don't Leave Them Guessing A great testimonial should always be specific. A testimonial should tell a potential client what value your products or services offer, how these are delivered in your products, and how likely your company is to come through again in the future. Example of an AVERAGE testimonial "Jackson Toys are great." -Because this testimonial doesn't provide any "evidence" to support its claim, it is vague and does not offer much value. Example of a GREAT testimonial "My kids love Jackson Toys because their products have so many fun features. I love Jackson Toys because their products are built to last forever and are inexpensive. I'll come back to Jackson Toys again and again!" -This testimonial identifies specific details of what the product offers and delivers ("fun features," "built to last forever," and "inexpensive", why the product is "loved," and what how the customer will relate to the company in the future ("I'll come back again and again").

2. Only Show Them Your Best Incorporate testimonials that specifically affirm the strongest qualities of your company. Example of an AVERAGE testimonial "I love Jackson Toys" -While it's nice that this customer "loves" the product, there is no explanation of what separates Jackson Toys from its competitors. Example of a GREAT testimonial "Jackson Toys has the best selection of the latest toys." -This testimonial is a winner! It provides detailed information designed to inform potential customers of the specific competitive advantages of the company (i.e., "best selection" and "latest toys."

3. It's All about the Facts Whenever possible, use testimonials that informally provide factual data that supports the key marketing directives of your company. Example of a GREAT testimonial "Jackson Toys offers the best selection and 20% less than competitors." -By adding the "20%", the customer now has a specific number with which to compare the benefits of this service to your competitors.

4. Get It Signed! For a testimonial with the most impact, be sure to get the full name, company name, and any additional information that supports your customer's claims. Example of the AVERAGE signed testimonial (James T. or J.T.) -We've all seen these "signatures," and we've all doubted that James T. or J.T. exists anywhere outside of the minds of the copywriter. Example of a GREAT signed testimonial (James Tyler, Vice President of Toys for You, Inc.) -With a full name, job title, and company name, this testimonial speaks with authority and will give customers confidence in the product or service being referred.

How Do I Incorporate Testimonials into My Business?

How Do I Get a Testimonial for My Business?

Now that you're ready to get a testimonial that will promote your business, you're probably wondering how to do it. The answer might be easier than you think: Simply ask! That's right. If your customers are satisfied with the service they've received, they will gladly offer positive feedback.

Can I Ask My Current Customers?

Your current customers are your best source of testimonials! After a job has been finished, simply ask the client what they liked best about your product or service. You're going to be amazed at the wonderful compliments you receive. You can ask via e-mail, postcard, or letter, or telephone. When asking for testimonials, be sure to ask the customer for written permission to use their quote in your promotional material.

What If I'm Just Starting My Business?

If you are just starting your business and don't have a large client database, offer free trials of your service to help generate feedback for testimonials. This is not only smart business, but you'll find that your testimonials are that much more impressive because your client didn't have to risk any money initially.

Can I Ask for a Professional Reference?

Whether you are an established business or are just starting out, the reference of another professional in your field carries great weight with your consumer. Consumers want to know that-not only do other clients approve-but, that experts in your own field stand behind the value of your product. To obtain testimonials from professionals in your field, it's best to offer free trials with the intent of receiving feedback. Oftentimes, you'll find that those you ask will want you to do the same for them-keeping up with the products and services of others in your field is always a great idea!

Remember how I told you that you could increase your online sales up to 250% or more without spending a dime? This is exactly what testimonials can do for you. Testimonials--they cost you nothing, so the only thing you have to lose if you don't use them are increased sales, an enhanced business reputation, and customers that return time and time again. If you're serious about your business, there's no two ways about it-start collecting and using testimonials today!

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