How to harness testimonials in your marketing strategy

(Steve Holmes)

If you are currently asking for testimonials you are 90% of the way there 🙂

Before choosing a hotel room, you probably visited TripAdvisor. When you considered building that new deck, you likely went on-line or asked a friend, we certainly did when we built our new deck:)

And why wouldn’t you? After all, we now live and work in the testimonial world and turn to a source that we know like and trust.

Your company’s best customers—and potential customers—do exactly the same thing, they look for reviews and testimonials about your product or service, as well as your competitors.


What we say about ourselves doesn’t matter

In the Social Age, people have learned to stop paying attention to marketing or selling. They’ve learned what a company says about itself carries little weight. People are looking for legitimacy, the more we can do to “be real” the better. In fact, when a business talks about itself too often, it’s labeled a self-promoter or spammer.

When a client pays you a compliment, that is the perfect time to ask for a testimonial. So my challenge is to start asking for more testimonials. If you love what you do, and you are good at what you do, your clients will happily oblige.

Testimonials become the foundation of our customer journey. Good reviews make the buying decision easy.


Digital word-of-mouth

So, how must companies adapt to this digital world?

The answer lies in a three step process.

  1. We must recognise that our digital reputation is just as important as our personal reputation.
  2. We track everyone who talks about our brand (the good, and the bad).
  3. We diligently follow the people who say good things—and bad—about us, and when appropriate we take the discussion off-line.

Your clients live on Facebook, there are 22 million people in Australia and there are 14 million Facebook users, so it is a great place to start your digital marketing, have those conversations, and don’t be scared, you do it face to face every day.


The social age and building a community

I am often told by Financial Advisers that they are not sure where to start when it comes to social media and they are not sure who will manage their Facebook or how they will handle comments.

Here are some tips:

  • Start by becoming a storyteller.
  • When something goes wrong (and, eventually, every company has something go wrong), don’t be scared of it, defending the issue can be good for the brand, it shows you care.
  • Follow challenges on social media to determine whether they were sincere in their rants—and, if so, we should own the problem and do everything possible to make it right.  We then decide whether, and how, to invest in those challenges to fix the issue—and turn a negative into at least a neutral and maybe even a positive, an opportunity then arises to create more advocates because you have publicly addressed an issue. Obviously when it starts to get into personal or even general advice, take it off-line.
  • Many of us follow brand mentors such as Richard Branson—typically digital storytellers capable of influencing any potential customer, your business can do this amongst your own community as well. It helps your clients remain loyal and attracts prospects to your business.

Using hashtags on Twitter chats; developing groups and communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, and meeting each other in-person are all really important and all have their place. To dismiss one of these channels you are putting the blinkers on.

I absolutely believe that social media is very similar to being involved in a service club, you contribute to conversations and people buy people, but more on that one in another blog, there are lots of similarities and it is a great story I want to tell.

Along the way, the members of a community say and do more for a brand than any marketing department or ad agency will ever do—and at a fraction of the cost.

All because we now live in a testimonial world—when what we say about ourselves doesn’t matter… because it’s what others objectively say about us that sways our opinion and launches brands.
How well does your marketing team leverage the testimonial? Well Feedsy can certainly help you build you digital community, but don’t just take our word for it.

Check out these testimonials or even these video testimonials.

 

Cheers,
Steve Holmes

 

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