Chris and I try to stay pretty active – running and hitting the gym regularly. I have to admit I chuckle every time I see one of those infomercials on T.V. You know the ones, promoting an exotic piece of exercise equipment promising to deliver incredible results… Results that most will probably never achieve.
I actually don’t have a criticism about these pieces of fitness equipment. At the end of the day, they are a tool that makes it easier to work out, as long as the user is committed to using it. No piece of fitness equipment can deliver results if it’s under your bed or being used as a drying rack in the basement.
The same applies to internet marketing. Offering an amazing product or service on your web site won’t deliver results without the discipline of regular marketing efforts to drive prospects to your web site and painstakingly following up.
When it comes to collecting testimonials, the same principles apply. Just placing a form on your web site and waiting for clients to arrive will not deliver the results you want. Instead, developing a process for regularly collecting feedback provides a systematic way to gather testimonials. Such a process would include:
Build requests into your standard process
A simple fact is that the more people you ask for testimonials, the more you will receive. And the easiest way to do that is to ask each and every one of your customers. You’ll want to think about the appropriate time frame for them to have experienced the product to ensure that they can talk about results – the key to an effective testimonial.
Of course, if you are using an automated marketing tool or auto-responder, this can be made easier. You can simply set the requests to go out automatically and drive them to your collection form.
Don’t hesitate to ask again
Many clients we work with assume that customers don’t respond to testimonial requests because they aren’t happy. More often than not, it is because they are simply very busy and don’t always have time to provide the feedback being requested.
So if a customer doesn’t respond to the testimonial request, don’t hesitate to ask again. And again. I’m not suggesting that you unleash a torrent of requests, but periodically asking for that feedback will help the customer by providing opportunities to respond when it is a better time for them.
Reward the effort
Let me say up-front that I am not suggesting paying or otherwise compensating for insincere feedback. What I am suggesting is that when you ask for a testimonial, you are battling with numerous other competing customer priorities. By providing a bit of a reward for them taking the time to action your request, your customers will treat your request with higher priority.
And in terms of what is offered as that reward, it doesn’t have to be expensive. But what I do recommend is that it is a personal gift. A $10 Starbucks gift card, for example, will go further than an offering associated with your products or services. One looks like a sincere thank-you for taking the time, one looks like an attempt to up-sell…
Make it easy for customers
You want to make it easy for clients to give you feedback, so using an on-line form is a convenient way of doing it. And you want to make sure it’s easy to find.
For example, in addition to pointing clients to it via email, include links throughout your site to the feedback form to help prompt visitors. And if you have a customer support area – make sure you ask there: you know these are customers.
And don’t forget about social media: why not send a tweet asking for feedback. And with Testimonial Director you can collect text and even video, right from your Facebook page.
Don’t be afraid to reach out in person
So far, we’ve been speaking about on-line testimonial collection. That is not your only option.
If you have a chance to see your customers in person, there is no better way of getting feedback. Simply put, it’s much harder to say no to someone who stands in front of you and directly asks for a testimonial. And, if you have your handy smart phone of camcorder, it’s a perfect chance to capture video.
If you don’t see your customers in person, then why not pick up the phone? Especially for those customers you know have had great results, a quick phone call can capture the information for a great testimonial. They key here is to make it easy: ask questions that would form the basis of a testimonial, write it up on the customer’s behalf and send it to them for their quick approval.
So next time you look at your feedback form and wonder why you’re not getting the results you want – take a look at these five strategies: given the power of testimonials to increase conversion rates, you can’t afford not to be implementing them.