I visited a web site last night related to Internet marketing that touted all the methods the large corporations were using to build trust in the company – thereby reducing the fears of customers with the end result of making them more apt to make an online purchase.
There was something like thirty methods of building trust listed, but I was very surprised to notice the lack of mention of using testimonials from satisfied buyers.
In my mind, there are few things you can do that are more important than using testimonials.
So why did this marketing “authority” leave this method out? Who knows? Maybe it was a large corporation “thing,” an acknowledgement that the site was too important to place one person’s comment in the showroom of this company.
Maybe the corporation didn’t have anyone that was willing to say something nice about it.
Most likely, the web designer or web master just didn’t think to include such a “personal” recommendation.
If you are a small company owner, you shouldn’t overlook this strategy like the big corporation in our example did.
Why are testimonials so powerful?
It’s simple. Even though the business can choose which testimonials it decides to highlight, customers like to see that others previously made a purchase with the company, just like they are contemplating, and had good things to say about the product, service, or the company itself from the experience.
Potential buyers are reassured to know that others gave your company money and actually received and enjoyed what they got in return.
The Internet world is pretty impersonal most of the time and trust of any web site or business is not given freely. You, as the owner, will have to work for and earn the trust you desire.
Here’s how to get the testimonials you need for your business even though you may be brand new in the business and have little online selling history.
1. Ask your current customers for a positive testimonial about just one thing they like about your business.
Put up a simple feedback form and give your site visitors a small free incentive of some kind for responding. Some folks will make a comment simply because they like to see their name in print online.
They may comment on your great guarantee, your fast shipping, your cool newsletter, your wide product line, or your speed in answering their email question. It could be anything.
Hopefully you’ll receive a number of varying comments so you can highlight several aspects of your business that others have enjoyed.
2. Include your own testimonial. Don’t hype your products; simply explain the problems you encountered and how you solved them through the use of the product you’re selling.
3. One of the most powerful testimonials is that of an industry guru or “insider.” A recognized authority endorsing your product will send the signal to buyers sitting on the fence about a purchase that it’s OK to proceed because this product is one the insider tried and can vouch for its usefulness.
You may be asked to reciprocate the endorsement by mentioning the insider’s web site or placing a link to his product under his name at the end of your testimonial. That’s okay.
Try to make the testimonial look “unstaged” if possible. You don’t want your customers thinking that you paid the guy for his endorsement – that suspicion will lessen the testimonial’s credibility.
4. If you have a brand new product or service, find some highly targeted prospects (like those in a discussion group) and offer them a free product in return for their comments about it. Tell them you’re refining the product and want to know what they like or dislike about it.
5. Always be honest in your testimonials. Don’t make them up. Include a first and last name and a place (like city and state).
Keep the originals in a written file somewhere so that if the testimonial is ever questioned you’ll have access to the original copy and can prove authenticity.
6. Don’t use a testimonial without the customer’s specific permission. Yes, occasionally someone will forget that they gave you permission to use their name, but again, keep a copy of the original letter or email on file to cover your bases.
7. Testimonials can be used anywhere: in emails, in your newsletter, in your blog, on product packaging, on your web site’s home page, on product pages, in product descriptions, product reviews, etc. The point is … don’t be shy about letting your prospects know that customer impressions are important to you. You value feedback and are willing to share customer experiences.
Hopefully these ideas will help you generate lots of great testimonials about your business and products.
To your online business success!