Testimonials from satisfied customers, put your prospective customers at ease. They give reassurance that your work has pleased others. When your customers pass on your name to others as in “word of mouth” this is a verbal testimonial. A written testimonial from a happy customer costs nothing other than your time asking for it.
Testimonials can be used in a portfolio of information about your product to prospective customers, they can used as support material, framed in the reception area of your business and excerpts can be used in your marketing collateral and as call outs on your website or blog.
Online, LinkedIn calls testimonials ‘recommendations’. As a matter of routine, you should ask connections you have done business for to provide you with a recommendation.
A testimonial letter can be on the customers letter head; can be short or long, hand written, typed, a You Tube clip, an online entry. As long as it makes prospective customers feel good about using your product or service, it’s a testimonial. Some organisations call these “praise or love letters”.
A bed and breakfast would keep a guest book with provision for comments from guests and this becomes their “brag book”. The comments that showcase the elements of their serivce that they are most proud of and best illustrate their unique offerings can be used as call outs on each page of their website or blog.
Letters from industry peers or celebrity endorsement can be useful in the right circumstances. I never forget receiving an information kit to exhibit at a Baby Boomer Expo which had a letter of Prime Ministerial endorsement from our Prime Minister of teh time, John Howard! Can you get Prime Ministerial endorsement for what you do?
I organised endorsement of my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary milestone from the Governor General, the Prime Minister, the State Premier and Local Member’s offices. I hate to admit it, but it’s not too difficult to organise – it just takes a little planning…and were my parents, family members and the guests impressed? You bet!
Positive publicity which you receive in the form of a radio or TV interview, write up in the local or metro newspapers, profile or interview for a magazine is great exposure for leads and your credibility, but the benefits are relatively short lived. You need to preserve it and incorporate it into your online and offline marketing efforts.
I kept a running list in reverse chronological order of all the media exposure our small business received since 1989 on the news page of our website. I laminated originals of the story for my permanent file, I photocopied or did colour reprints of selected pieces for prospective customers depending on what part of the business I was trying to pitch and to whom.
When Huey came to cook at Rocking Horse Lodge for our Open Weekend – he accidently dropped a wooden spoon in the grass which my daughter later found. At the end of the sojourn as is the custom, Mr Moon, Huey’s culinary assistant, presented me with ‘the blue tea towel’. (Washed of course!) I was then able to have suitably mounted – the spoon, the cover story in the local paper and the tea towel in a box frame and hung in the workshop in a high profile location. This provided mountains of credibility when the tour groups visited.
Across how many mediums can you promote how and why your customers love you and the feathers in your credibility cap?