Today’s consumers are savvy, thanks to the internet. This easy access to information makes it easy for folks to fact-check claims and do research. Consumers are more skeptical and cynical than ever — as they should be.
When your website tells potential customers why your company or product line is the best, jaded consumers won’t necessarily believe you. They know you’re trying to sell them something and that, obviously, you’re going to say great things about yourself. If you want to grab attention, you need to get people without a vested interest to say great things about your business.
Most consumers who are smart enough to conduct research online are smart enough to spot fake testimonials. We’ve all seen those — they don’t use a customer’s last name and/or they don’t include a photo of the person singing a business’s praises. Give people more credit than that. Testimonials are powerful tools, but only if they’re real.
The more specific a testimonial, the more valuable it is. However, the people you’re asking to create them are busy. They may not know what to write or how to write it. You don’t want to burden your sources. After all, they’ve agreed to do you a favor. Give them options: Offer to send them a few questions to get them started (such as, “what has been the best thing about working with us?”) or suggest a brief phone call in which you ask questions and take notes. In both cases, ask them if you can tweak their words for brevity and email to them for approval.
Once you’ve got the testimonial text, request a photo to include with it. If that’s not possible and the testimonial is from a business client, ask to use the company’s logo. Finally, ask if you can include a phone number or e-mail address in case potential customers would like to follow up. (Hint: that’s usually rare.)
When you secure glowing referrals, recommendations and reviews, you increase your credibility. When you ask a client to submit a referral, recommendation or review and are met with an uncomfortable hesitancy or downright refusal, consider that a valuable opportunity to do damage control and improve your products or services. Delve deeper, find out why your prospect is reluctant to recommend you, then get to work addressing the reason behind the refusal.
Testimonials are free, give you an opportunity to check in with customers to make sure you’re doing a good job, and lend an air of trustworthiness to your business. There’s no reason not to include them on your website!
The principal owner of Forlight Marketing, LLC, Marketing Mastery Coach Karin F. Kraska uses a wealth of experience in both the marketing industry and field of science to help small businesses maximize their marketing efforts. As a certified consultant with Duct Tape Marketing and a certified professional coach through the International Coach Federation, Karin brings innovation and proven marketing strategies as well as passionate coaching to take small businesses step-by-step to the next level of success.