03 Aug How to Use Testimonials to Promote Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth continues to top the list of most effective forms of marketing. We all want to hear about someone else’s experience with a product or service. Even for established businesses, word of mouth exposure can fluctuate. Your company’s website and social media channels offer great opportunities to take charge of the word of mouth marketing happening around your business. Sometimes, however, you just need a little help with how to get a customer testimonial.
Choose Your Customers Wisely
What do you want your prospective customers to learn from previous customer experiences? Do you want them to recognize the names of people speaking about your company? Then choose customers in good standing in the community or their industry who also have strong name-recognition. Do you want to highlight large projects you’ve completed or difficult problems you’ve solved? Narrow your customers to just those who fit that description. Also make sure you choose customers who were happy with the end result.
Choose Your Format
The internet offers us so many options for publishing testimonials. You can create videos, write a one-sentence promo, create a slide-share or flip book or include the your customers’ reviews in an ebook or case study you’re writing. Know the format you want to use before you contact your customer. You want to provide as much information as possible to your customer about the format, time expectations, location, etc when you ask for their help. For small projects, a few lines about how you helped solve their problem and what they liked most about working with you works well. Save large video testimonials or case studies for the larger, more complex projects.
Frame The Questions
You have in mind what the perfect testimonial would say, right? You do want your customer to be honest, but sometimes a vague response doesn’t do you much good. Write out a few questions or concerns other customers might have and include those in your list. For instance, if prospects often worry about your work disrupting productivity, ask a client who had the same concerns to address how your team dealt with that issue.
Talk To Your Customers
Some people don’t mind writing down what they are thinking. While others’ jobs may not revolve around a computer so typing out a statement to email to you isn’t convenient. When you ask your customer if they would provide a review for you company, ask if they would prefer to write it down themselves or if they would like to give you a verbal statement and have you write it for them. If you do a verbal statement, record what they say (and let them know it’s being recorded) and then you can transcribe it for your use. You can also offer to text or email them a copy for their approval.
The journalist inside me screams “No!”. The PR pro says, “Um, yeah, you have to.” Not only do you want the review to make your company look good, you also want it to reflect well on your customer. If they misspell a word, use bad grammar or write the name of your company wrong, it’s okay to make those small corrections. If you really just need one sentence of their 2 page essay on your company, do what you need to do. Again, you should offer to send your customer the finished product to make sure it reflects their intent and their voice. Your goal isn’t to mold this into what you want it to be, but to make sure it’s usable for your purpose.
Write It Yourself
The first time I wrote a news release for my first job, I wanted to quote a member of my board of directors. I told him what kind of quote I needed from him and he said, “Just write it and make me sound good.” I couldn’t imagine making up a quote for someone. You will have customers who really want to help your company but aren’t sure about what you really need. You may have some who say, “would you just write something for me.” While this isn’t the ideal situation, think about phrases and words this person uses often. Also think about the type of work you completed for them. Write a couple of drafts and ask them to choose which one best represents how they feel about your company and the work you did for them. You can also ask them if they would like to make any changes.
If your customers are happy with your products and services, they will be happy to offer a testimonial. Many times you just need to ask. By being prepared and offering them complete information about how their words will be used, you can make sure to get the review you need to communicate your message.