Testimonials & Feedback & Reviews, Oh my!

 Easy to implement and effective ways to ask your customers for a testimonial.

The number of internet users is continuously rising. More consumers are going online, at home or on their smart phones, seeking reviews of their local businesses before becoming customers. With sites like Yelp, Angie’s list, and YellowPages filling the top results in the search engines for most local business keywords, having good customer reviews is more important than ever. The difference in having customer testimonials and not having them is crucial in today’s competitive local market place. However, if you are a new business, or the concept is new to you, trying to get testimonials from customers can seem like a daunting task. Fear not, it’s much easier than you than you think. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be a review acquiring rock star.  To get you started, we found some great tips on how to ask your customers for reviews in this article on Small Business Bonfire.

Why Testimonials Work (and How to Ask for Them Painlessly!) – Small Business Bonfire “Put yourself into a potential client’s shoes. You’re bopping along through the Internet trying to find a good professional to help you fulfill a business need. You’ve found several websites that list services you need but there’s no real reassurance that they know what they’re doing. Even after Googling their name you’ve come up empty on any real evidence.”

Justin Reynolds‘s insight: This is a great article by Jennifer Dunn, with good tips on asking customers for testimonials using Survey Monkey or Facebook to collect your customers’ feedback. As with all your day-to-day operational and marketing duties, it’s best to pick a strategy and go with it for at least a month to make sure you have given it a chance to work, then measure the results.  If it’s not working, try a new approach. Chris Wallace’s post on amsterdamprinting.com has some great strategies that are easy to implement no matter your computer skill level.

Asking Customers for Testimonials – 5 Strategies  “Since the types of testimonials have changed over the years (e.g. a positive tweet or a five-star online rating), the way you ask customers for testimonials needs to evolve, too. While we, as business owners ourselves, love to receive unsolicited glowing reviews from happy customers, the reality is that soliciting customer testimonials needs to become a regular part of every company’s marketing tasks. That said, we get it: reaching out to customers and requesting that they leave a review, a comment, or a Facebook “like” isn’t in everyone’s comfort zone.”

Justin Reynolds’s Insight: If reaching out to your customer through Facebook or other social networks, you should either hire someone that is comfortable with it, or start with the strategies that you are comfortable with and slowly move to those that you’re not. If you decide to go with building up to the uncomfortable tasks just make sure you do start adapting yourself and increasing your comfort level. It’s important that you make progress so you don’t let these crucial tasks fall further back on your marketing actions list and you start neglecting them all together.

If you start falling into bad habits again, and lose focus of why customer reviews and testimonials are so important, just remember word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising. This is the modern version of that, and not only is it effective for acquiring new customers, but it’s also cost effective. Asking a customer for a review doesn’t cost you anything. The worst that can happen is they say no and no isn’t always a bad thing to hear. If someone had a negative experience, wouldn’t you like to know so you could rectify the issue and make sure it doesn’t happen to other customers? I want to know right away so I can rectify the situation before it gets posted, because once it does get posted, it can be harmful to your business and you might have to shell out big dough to a reputation management company to help resolve the matter. So it’s best to be proactive and use your testimonials as an integral part of your marketing mix. We love this article by Chris Griffiths which goes in depth on the power of customer reviews.

Leverage the marketing power of customer testimonials – www.theglobeandmail.com –Today, 9:09 PM

“Who needs celebrity spokespeople or product placements when you can use the free endorsements of the most powerful group in your network: your customers?”

Justin Reynolds’s Insight: Chris is spot on with this article, I have read it a few times and I suggest you do the same. He really drives the point home and breaks each step down in to manageable tasks that anyone can do. I absolutely agree with his point about how traditional advertising is expensive and audiences are getting keener to adverting in most forms. I’m not saying you should stop advertising, but you definitely need to make sure you are leveraging your current customer base by using the power of testimonials.

The way I see it is customers reviews are a  part of doing business these and days, and it’s not going away in our lifetime. In fact, it’s only going to become more important. Knowing your customers is a must and should be a top priority for any business owner. It doesn’t take much effort to do, it doesn’t really cost you anything, and in the end you end up with happier customers and a much healthier bottom line, and isn’t that what we’re all in business for after all?

Justin Reynolds
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Justin Reynolds

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