Quick…time for a marketing pop quiz! Take a moment to answer the following three questions:
1. When was the last time you asked a happy customer, reader, or donor for a testimonial?
2. When was the last time you received a testimonial from a happy customer, reader, or donor?
3. When was the last time you posted a testimonial from a happy customer, reader, or donor on your website, social media pages, or other marketing materials?
If you answered “over 60 days ago,” I don’t know,” or “never,” the bad news is you failed the testimonial test. Go to the chalkboard and write 100 times “I will listen to Rob and respect the power of testimonials from now on.” Don’t feel bad. I’ve had to put myself in detention hall on this same problem in the past.
Let’s go back to business basics for a minute. The point of marketing is to tell the world about the value that you offer. However, no one has more credibility in the eyes of skeptical prospects than happy customers singing your praises. Your marketing is always more effective when other people do the marketing for you. That’s why testimonials and endorsements are so beneficial. They boost your credibility in the marketplace. Even better, they help build your confidence as you acquire them. However, testimonials will never help unless you utilize all three steps of the process:
1. Just Ask, Baby
You must ask happy customers for a testimonial. Nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks, “It’s a beautiful day to write an endorsement for my favorite business, author, and non-profit.” Instead, you must initiate the process. Simply ask a satisfied customer, “I understand that you liked using our Product X or Service Y. Would you be open to summing up your experience in 3 – 4 sentences that I could share with others?” If they say yes, give them your email address or a comment card to fill out. If they say no, thank them anyway and move on to the next person.
2. Stay Persistent
After you ask someone for a testimonial, they may agree but drag their feet in responding. If that happens, send a friendly email, voice mail, or casually mention it in your next conversation. Remind people no more than 3 times or you could turn them off. Don’t beat a dead horse. Just move on to the next person. Asking for endorsements is no good if you don’t actually receive them.
3. Use It or Lose It
After you receive a testimonial, don’t leave it sitting in your email inbox or stuff it in your desk drawer. Post it to the public or the testimonial will be wasted. Within 72 hours, add it to your website, social media pages, or other marketing materials. People must see the testimonial in order for it to work on your behalf. For example, add a section on your website home page where people see rotating testimonials. Post an endorsement or happy success story every Friday on your organization’s social media pages. If you’re an author, link to positive reviews on your book’s Amazon page. Create a page on your website as a collection of all your testimonials for visitors to read.
You can toot your own horn. But, the music is always better when there’s more than one person singing and playing. Testimonials are like marketing musical instruments that help amplify everything you do.
Need more examples? Click here to see Rob’s list of testimonials from authors, business owners, and non-profit clients.