Referral Marketing Communications Plan — Tip #5: Success with Customer Testimonials

Referral Marketing Communications Plan Phone RecommendationOne of the most powerful and productive marketing tools you can use when looking for quality referrals is customer testimonials. Satisfied clients’ recommendations make your referral marketing communications plan that much stronger:

  • The testimonial builds commitment. When your customer’s name and faces have appeared in a direct mailing piece, on your website, or in a company newsletter, they are much more interested in your success, because, believe it or not, when they tell others of their success with your service or product, they are actually touting their own success – and everyone wants to look successful.
  • More referrals equal a stronger impression of your business. Prospects see a whole page full of testimonials and quotes and are much more inclined to believe that you are a strong, established business that can help them.
  • Even “cold call” leads, are impressed. When you do your own research and find “cold call” leads (second in quality only to referral leads), showing them several pages with pleased customers and clients testifying to your quality, Landscapers show completed projects with happy people in the photo, weight loss or fitness businesses show fit and happy people… why… because they work.

Don’t be frightened about collecting customer testimonials. When you look in the right place, you will get just what you, and your prospective customers, are looking for:

  • On your website, a video testimonial is outstanding. But a nice picture with a great with quote will work well also, since many people won’t necessarily want to appear “on camera.” So the photo and written quote may be easier to get.
  • Another option is an “audio quote.” You can record it simply using your cell phone or a digital recorder. Many times, this will have more value than a printed quote – combine this with a nice photo, and you have a winning combination.
  • If recording, audio of video, preview your questions to your customer, and let them know what type of answer you are looking for – this will get you the quote or answer that will serve your marketing best. You can even prompt them to say what the most effective words, and then edit out your “prompt” leaving just the words that tell your story best. When your customer knows what you need, they will be most likely to give you just the right tone. And make sure you get their approval on exactly what you will use in your materials before it is put on the web or printed in a brochure.
  • Asking for testimonials should become a habit with each transaction. And when a customer has referred a few new clients with written quotes, follow up and ask for an audio or, better yet, a video recommendation. When you are asking, never try to hide what you will be doing with their recommendation. Always ask them if they would like to participate in your marketing program.
  • Make sure you edit the comments, written, audio, or video to just the sentence or phrase that succinctly says why your service or product exactly fit their needs – not a whole story, just a precise statement of the benefit.
  • Since your business should benefit from your customers’ testimonial, you will want to create some benefit to them for their participation… without making it a direct “payment” for their participation. You really want honest responses, not ones made to; “get something” in return. So a quick thank you note, and possibly entry into a “drawing” for future discounts may be just the reward that lets you customer feel good about participating without feeling that they have been taken advantage of.

Customer testimonials complement your marketing program, and are a great way to gain valuable referral clients.




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