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This post is one in a series of tips designed to guide small business owners through the challenges of today’s startup environment and is sponsored by Canon MAXIFY the printer lineup designed to help small business owners increase productivity so that they can focus on everything else that matters. For more information about the Canon MAXIFY printer lineup visit Canon MAXIFY?
There are an absolute ton of articles out there on how to make your customer fall in love with you. Today, I’d like to take this one step further and talk about testimonials.
Testimonials actually serve a dual purpose:
First, they give your customer the opportunity to share why they love working with you or buying from you. It may not be obvious to you, but the simple act of creating a testimonial reminds them of why they should keep doing business with you and actually re-ignites feelings of satisfaction, assuming you did good job.
[Tweet “The act of writing a #testimonial reminds customers why they love doing business with you #MAXIFY @CanonUSAImaging”]
Second, customer testimonials are a form of word-of-mouth and when you share them, they serve as free salespeople for your business.
So, if testimonials are so powerful, then why aren?t you using them?
Make Collecting Testimonials as Important as Collecting Payments
Testimonials are a powerful marketing tool, yet there’s just something uncomfortable about asking for testimonials. Maybe you’re ridiculously shy and can’t imagine walking up to or calling a client to get a testimonial. Or sometimes, you just get so busy working and so excited about the completion of a project, that you FORGET to ask for a testimonial. This is an absolute SHAME because testimonials are truly like money in the bank, and not collecting them is a lot like not collecting payment for your products and services.
Now that I’ve got you thinking differently about how important testimonials are, how are you going to make them happen? Easy, you’re going to make them part of your marketing system
7 Creative Ways to Collect and Share Customer Testimonials
- Set a GOAL: The key to grabbing testimonials is to actually set a goal for how many testimonials you’re going to get each day, week or month. If you don’t make collecting testimonials a priority, then you simply won?t do it. So do it now! How many testimonials do you want to collect this month?
(Tweet: Tip#1: The only way to get testimonials is to set a goal to collect testimonials! (link) #MAXIFY @CanonUSAImaging)
- Decide on the best times to collect testimonials. The best time to get a testimonial is when your customer is the MOST satisfied. Usually this is at the end of the process or transaction, like when the landscapers finish your deck in time for a big party or when you receive your giant 65-inch television in time for the big game. But sometimes, especially if you are in a business that has a long project life cycle, the happiest moment might be when you bring your client a cost-saving solution or when you ?save the day?. And sometimes, the best time to ask for a testimonial is after clients have had the opportunity to experience the full benefit of your product or service such as with a private trainer. Make a list of all the points where your customer is happiest and most satisfied in doing business with you.
- Create sentences that lead to testimonials: You’re not the only one who gets tongue-tied when it comes to testimonials. Your customers are too. They simply don’t know what to say. The way to get around this and to get their testimonial juices flowing is to create a series of sentences that, when completed magically transform into great testimonials. Here are a few you can use:
- I approached you when?
- I decided to work with your company because?
- Your company helped me by?
- One thing I really appreciated was?
- I found the experience of working with you?
- I would recommend your company to people who?
- Before working with your company I ?.
- After working with your company I?
[Tweet “Tip#2: Create sentences that lead to testimonials You helped me by? (link) #MAXIFY @CanonUSAImaging”]
- Build a testimonial collection system: If you really want testimonials, build them into the way you do business and create a system around collecting and sharing them. I’ve actually created some of these for clients recently and used my Canon MAXIFY printer to print them out as we need them.
- Include a testimonial sheet in your product information packets: Use your imagination. You can create a single page with testimonials on it and a blank page that customers can fill out. I’ve created a blank testimonial collection sheet that you can download and customize for your own business.
- Create a testimonial card: A testimonial card is a notecard with a single question on it that your clients can fill out while waiting in your office.
- Display your testimonials: Collect the note cards or any customer thank you letters you received and put them inside of a scrapbook that you leave in your lobby for your customers to look through. You can also take these cards and attach a picture of you and your client or customer along with your product or service and display them on a bulletin board.
- Send a short surveys: Take those testimonial sentences and put them into a simple online survey software. Send it to your list and watch the testimonials come pouring in. I have a client that used the Constant Contact survey tool and received more than 40 testimonials in under an hour! I printed those off on my Canon #MAXIFY printer in minutes and by the end of the hour, we were able to pick the best ones to feature in our sales materials.
- Email Testimonial Prompts: If you’re sending emails or newsletters to your customers via Constant Contact, Mail Chimp or any other email tool, remember to insert a P.S. at the end (you know those NEVER get skipped) and ask them a testimonial question such as What is the one thing we helped you with this month? Sweeten the pot by offering to put all of the responses into a contest for a free offer of some kind
- Newsletters: Create a testimonial block in your newsletter that features customer or client letters and feedback that you’ve received. Be sure to ask for pictures from clients and customers who are enjoying your product or service with friends. When you print the newsletter, you can bet they will be printing off copies of their own to share with friends and family.
- Web site: Don’t be afraid to put a FEEDBACK button or option on your website. And make sure that it appears on every page. Then simply use those sentences that lead to testimonials I covered in step 3 above to create a short feedback page and you’re done.
- Chat box: Chat boxes are the unsung heroes of increased sales and great testimonials. You can get a free chat box on your site from Olark, it’s super easy to install and gives you the ability to really engage with your customers right when they are trying to buy. Once you’ve answered their question, don’t just ask if you’ve helped them ask how you’ve helped them BOOM! Testimonial.
[Tweet “Sneaky Tip: Ask your customer to snap a pic with your product/service and send it to you or post on social media #MAXIFY @CanonUSAImaging”]
Testimonials Create a Mutual Love Fest
The really great thing about testimonials is how good they make YOU and your customer feel. It not only makes your customer fall in love with you again it helps YOU to fall in love with your customer again. And when you’re having one of those days? you can look at your testimonials and fall in love with your business again.
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Canon will be spotlighting several small business owners on its social media channels throughout the next several months, so be sure to leave a comment and share your thoughts on this post using the hashtag #MAXIFY in order to qualify. If you are a U.S.-based small business owner (1-9 employees) and have faced a unique business challenge in your first year on the job, let us know! We’d love to hear what line of work your small business falls within and what you feel is the most important takeaway from this post. We’ll also be rewarding select small business owners with a prize pack including the Canon MAXIFY MB5320 printer as well as other essentials to help you run your business more efficiently. So don’t forget to leave a link to your website or social media pages that way we can see how well you’re marketing your business and get in touch!