Remember the old Yellow Pages ads that said, “Let your fingers do the walking?” (Yes, I just aged myself.) The phrase was clever slogan meant to encourage consumers to shop by browsing the yellow phone book page listings for a product or service. In the modern era of marketing, I encourage you to embrace a similar-sounding phrase, “Let your customers do the talking.”
The success of your marketing plan can hinge less on what you say and more on what other people say. Sure, words matter in marketing, but not necessarily your words. Instead, the words from happy customers carry a lot more weight.
When potential customers listen to you or read your marketing copy, they tend to view you as a salesman just trying to push product. In contrast, testimonials and endorsements from happy customers come across as peers giving advice that can be trusted.
If you’re skeptical and don’t think testimonials are important, then why is TripAdvisor, Yelp, Angie’s List, and Amazon customer reviews so popular? You’ve probably used at least one of these websites in the past month when deciding to buy a product or service. Millions of people visit these sites every day to read customer testimonials before making a purchase. If testimonials weren’t important to marketing, no one would visit these websites. The huge audiences these sites attract are proof that testimonials can positively sway a consumer’s mind.
Yet, most authors, non-profits, and businesses view testimonials as unnecessary or a waste of time. Otherwise, you’d see them a lot more. Usually, you find a few customer comments or endorsements buried on an irrelevant webpage or back of a brochure. Why do so many people and companies seem adverse to gathering testimonials? In my consulting work, I’ve heard all kinds of excuses, such as:
- We’re too busy to ask our customers for feedback.
- No one responds when we ask for an endorsement.
- We don’t know anyone famous to ask for testimonials.
- Why bother? Nobody seems to read our old case studies.
I’ve found these excuses to be smokescreens for the real reasons people don’t ask or display testimonials. In reality, the underlying problem is driven by one of the following misconceptions:
- We’re afraid to ask because we fear hearing “no” more than possibly getting a yes.
- If people decline giving a testimonial, it means our product is lame and we’re losers.
- A testimonial is only legitimate if it comes from someone famous.
- We tried asking for testimonials, but we stunk at getting them so we stopped.
- Testimonials pale in comparison to fancy social media tricks or a big ad budget.
Testimonials from happy customers cost you nothing but a little bit of time, and they’re easy to acquire. All you have to do is politely ask for them. Then, display the ones you get on all of your marketing materials, such as your website home page, newsletters, social media pages, brochures, etc.
Ask at least one happy customer for a testimonial. Do it today. What are you afraid of? The worst thing that can happen is a hearing “no” or getting no response at all. The best thing that can happen is to hear energizing words from someone who loves your product. Testimonials not only help invigorate your marketing confidence, they act like a magnet to capture the interest of prospects. The more your happy customers do the talking, the more prospects will do the walking – to buy your product or service.
Do I practice what I preach? Check out my list of client testimonials.