This is a guest post by Christopher Wallace, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, a leading provider of personalized pens and other promotional products such as imprinted apparel, mugs and customized calendars. He regularly contributes to Promo & Marketing Wall blog.
As a society, we value one others’ opinions. For a business, then, others’ opinions are potentially quite valuable. Good customer testimonials equate to cash in the bank, but only if deposited them in the right ways and the right places. Today’s consumers face a constant barrage of sales pitches and strategically placed products, and they’ve become smarter about choosing top goods and services. So what’s the best way to show potential clients that your business makes the most sense? Appeal to their senses with a well-leveraged library of positive reviews:
SMELL: Savvy consumers can easily sniff out a fraud, so authenticity and reliability are essential components of successful customer testimonial campaigns. Although PR pros like to clean up every aspect of a business’s image, reviews are best left untouched — simple typos, spelling errors, and the inclusion of pros as well as cons all lend an air of truth to such content. Presenting a reviewer’s photograph, name, and home city alongside his or her quote (ask permission first), adds a personal — thus more dependable — element to the statement. And offering comments from a variety of satisfied clients tells prospective customers that you work well with lots of individuals.
SIGHT: You want your target market to see your successes in a number of places, so look for creative ways to showcase those testimonials: sprinkle customer feedback throughout your website (placing reviews for specific goods and services near points of sale); implement an online review system with visual performance indicators (stars, for example); add short and sweet customer statements to Facebook and Twitter pages; include a testimonial in your email signature (and refresh often); and encourage your best customers to review your business in online listings such as MerchantCircle, Yelp, and Citysearch.
TOUCH: Put testimonials directly into the hands of prospective clients by bundling one or two pages of praises into every direct mailer, and use other ubiquitous print materials, such as business cards and invoices, as real estate for reviews. A well-crafted, concise statement of applause can inform current patrons of additional items or services that may be of interest. Another valuable venue for a powerful, personal quote is the promotional product; when designing company giveaways like pens, T-shirts, mugs, and tote bags, be sure to include a punchy line from a loyal consumer.
HEARING: Even better than seeing a review is listening to a cheerful customer explain in his or her own words why your business is the best. Encourage regular clientele to share their positive experiences with friends using an incentive like a discount or gift with each referral they make. You might also ask to record your most popular patrons demonstrating their favorite products, and then establish a video channel on YouTube or Vimeo on which to present their stories. The smart promoter will burn video testimonials to a DVD and include it in direct mail pieces, too.
TASTE: Allow your happiest customers to tout you as a fabulous find by sending them out the door with promotional bites that give a friend a taste of your business. For example, a gym might present regular customers with coupons for a free month’s membership to pass out to their pals. Everyone loves a freebie, and such deals ensure your word of mouth marketing campaign continues to expand.
Feature image courtesy: Tatmouss on Wikimedia Commons.