I write a lot about the value of media coverage for all kinds of businesses and nonprofits. After all, getting a timely article in a local newspaper or interview on TV can pay huge dividends in the form of more brand awareness, increased credibility and even more revenue.
There’s another form of credibility, however, that can cement your reputation in the eyes of customer and it often goes unmentioned – the customer testimonial.
There’s a good reason why Yelp became so popular and customer reviews on Amazon and other e-commerce sites are one of the most frequently visited parts of a product page. People value the opinion of others who have already tried a product or service and want the skinny before they take the plunge.
There’s no question references (either in the form of emails, phone calls or pre-written testimonials) are an integral part of the purchasing decision. In a prior life I sold 6-figure ERP and CRM software deals and I always arranged for my prospects to speak with past and current customers. It helped provide the extra peace of mind they needed before signing a contract and committing to a 6-figure payout for software and consulting services.
Bottom-line, a testimonial can be the difference between crossing the finish line in first place or dead last so you should secure as many of them as practical to support your brand.
When asking for a testimonial, don’t forget to ask that your customers recount specific accomplishments or product features when writing down their thoughts. “I really liked working with Jill,” or “this widget helped me improve my bottom-line” won’t go very far toward capturing the imagination of your prospects.
If you’re a B2B company, ask for facts like return on investment, increases in revenue, savings in costs – any metrics that can lend credence to claims you are making about your product or service. If you’re a B2C business, then be sure customer testimonials emphasizes emotional connections to your product or service in order to paint a persuasive picture and capture the imagination of prospects.
So don’t be shy! Go ask your customers for a little love. Get lots of specific details. Provide a little editorial guidance if need be. Post completed testimonials to your website on a testimonials page or as call-outs on main product or service pages. And don’t forget to ask if your customers would be willing to write the testimonial on your behalf in LinkedIn, not to mention Twitter and even Facebook.
After all, if they are happy customers and you treated them well, then they should be willing to give you a shout out to do you a good turn!
About Dave Manzer: Dave Manzer founded Manzer Communications, an Austin PR & content marketing agency for startups and fast-growth businesses in 2009. He specializes in highly integrated PR & inbound marketing strategies that help companies in technology, healthcare, consumer and professional services reach their goals in brand awareness and revenue growth. If you have any PR questions about your startup or small biz, feel free to tweet him at @davemanzer or email him at dave(@)manzercommunications dot com.