Testimonials help a business owner build his/her reputation, improve brand recognition and increase in-store and online traffic and sales. They offer the same benefits as traditional word-of-mouth referrals that customers give when providing details about their positive experiences to family and friends except that they reach a larger audience in a faster fashion. Online testimonials in the form of written, audio or video quotes, interviews and reviews provide visitors to your website – existing and potential customers alike – with the opportunity to see why others value your business and its products and services.
Many business owners incorrectly believe that they must wait for customers to volunteer testimonials. As a result, even highly regarded businesses can sometimes receive only a few each year. Actively searching for these recommendations is a better strategy. Take these five tips into consideration today:
1. Ask for Feedback
Happy customers often provide endorsements when asked by business owners. The important part to remember is that you should ask for “feedback” instead of a “testimonial.” The word “testimonial” can sometimes make customers confused about what you want from them. Some people also know that business owners use customer testimonials for promotional purposes and hesitate at the idea of actively promoting a company. A few also feel pressured to say something nice about your business even when they would prefer to give honest feedback that might include a bad experience. On the other hand, when most customers hear the word “feedback” from you, they know that you want to hear about both the good and the bad experiences so that you can improve your business. When you request to put their feedback on your website, they are more likely to feel honored that you chose their statements for everyone to see instead of feel used in a promotional strategy.
2. Display Surveys Everywhere
Customers and visitors need to know in-store and online that you actively seeking out and value their opinions. Provide them with feedback surveys in every possible place: Put a feedback box in your brick-and-mortar store, if applicable, with a large sign above it that makes it clear that you want their feedback. Place a survey card in every product package or attach one to every invoice. Send out postcard or letter-length surveys through direct mail. Additionally, supply a feedback form on your website and set up an independent survey on a survey site and then link to one or both in all of your sales emails and e-newsletters and in any comments on social networks, forums, industry websites, industry-related articles and social networks.
3. Check for Comments
Do not forget that any posts about your business in the public domain are relatively fair game to use for website testimonials. Run a search for these comments using your business name as the keyword through general search engines like Google Search, Bing and Yahoo! Search and on specific social websites where you might commonly find people talking about your business like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Keep in mind that business review and industry-specific review sites also feature comments, full-length reviews and star or number ratings you can copy and use as testimonials on your website.
4. Interview Loyal Customers
One of the absolute best ways to acquire a testimonial is to ask one or more loyal customers who have had mostly good things to say to you or your employees about your business, staff, products and services if they would allow you to interview them for an upcoming newspaper advertorial, e-newsletter article, media segment, documentary or company video. Again, your customers are more likely to provide you with the testimonials you need when you give them some sort of honor or recognition. What greater honor might a customer know than to be recognized as the loyal customer selected to appear in an interview for a domestic or international commercial, magazine article or other content that you also plan to feature on your website?
5. Offer Multiple Incentives
Lastly, if you decide to use incentives in exchange for good and bad feedback, it is critical to the success of your getting more testimonials that you offer multiple incentives since different types of incentives appeal to different types of people. Beyond offering customers the fame that comes from an interview, consider offering them a discount in an email or on a sales receipt that takes a percentage or cash amount off of the amount of their next purchase if they leave feedback. Also, consider offering contests where those who leave feedback receive an opportunity in a drawing for cash or other prize. Many businesses, including various fast food restaurants, thrift stores and big box retailers, currently offer feedback incentives.
In some cases, you do not need a customer’s written permission to use their content. That said, you should always speak to a lawyer about the federal and local legal considerations regarding this topic before adding testimonials to your website. A lawyer might tell you, for example, that you only need to add a disclaimer to your feedback forms and surveys that clearly states that you plan to use some or all of the comments you receive from customers for promotional purposes. When it comes to positive reviews on personal blogs or in comments and interviews, you might need to ask your customers to sign a release form.
As you can see, you never need to wait for customer testimonials again. You can acquire them for your website on a regular basis without much difficulty.