5 Ways to Use Online Testimonials to Grow Your Business

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[tweetmeme source=”rhondahurwitz” only_single=false]Recommendations and testimonials are one of the best ways to establish “social proof”.   How do you formalize collecting the glowing words of satisfied customers, in a way that is sharable, viral, and immediate?

1.  The “Ask”: by Email

Well, you could do what a local business did recently:  simply send an email, and ask:

Hello,

We are in the process of putting together a collection of testimonials about us from successful cases like yours. As we continue to grow, our strongest marketing tools include word of mouth and recommendations. We would like to utilize feedback from satisfied clients to help gain the trust of future ones. Would you please take a few minutes to give us your opinion of our services and how we’ve helped you? Simply reply to this email with a few sentences of feedback and we will choose useful quotes for upcoming marketing. Rest assured we will use neither your last name nor house number as we have the utmost respect for your privacy. We look forward to learning what you like about us, however we also welcome any suggestions or criticisms too. We appreciate your time.

Thank you for choosing (Name Withheld) for your (Service) needs!

Sincerely,

(Name Withheld )

I love the thinking behind this, and since I am a satisfied customer, I will certainly respond.  But … there is one big problem:  It will rely on “push” marketing for anyone to see it.  By the time it is incorporated on a website, or the next direct mail piece, you have missed many opportunities to share it and make it visible.  There may be slippage from the email, from well meaning and satisfied customers who forget to follow through.  How can we do this socially, virally, and automatically?

2.  Linked in: Recommend Button for Company Website

I have always loved recommendations on personal Linked in profiles.  This feature takes it a step further for Company pages: a Linked in widget to embed in your website.  A simple way to get recommendations recorded and seen.

3.  Facebook Reviews App

With the Facebook Reviews App, “your fans and customers can leave honest opinions about your business. Reviews lets your prospective fans know what to expect with you and can influence people interacting with your business”.  If you have a business page on Facebook, this one seems like a no brainer.

4.  Video Testimonials

I have seen some great video testimonials on websites and elsewhere, and they don’t always rely on great production values (although this one from Intelligent Video Solutions shows what you can do with a budget).  There is nothing more compelling than seeing and hearing a satisfied client talk about their experience.  If you’re handy with a flip camera, try collecting some video testimonials after your next event or trade show; if you have a budget, call a pro like  Linda Sedloff Orton at IVS.

5.  The Creative Approach

How do you like this creative customized Facebook tab, simply titled “Testimonials”? Powerful stuff, no? If you want one, who ya gonna call? (Hint) >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

As is often quoted, 78% trust peer recommendations over advertising — so it is a business necessity to start to collect, and use, recommendations and testimonials.

Customer satisfaction surveys,  video testimonials, and more … what are your favorite methods for systematically collecting and posting testimonials and recommendations, especially in social media?

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About Rhonda Hurwitz

Rhonda Hurwitz is a content strategist and marketing consultant who helps mid-sized businesses develop more effective online strategies. @rhondahurwitz on Twitter, and on Forbes.com: http://blogs.forbes.com/people/rhondahurwitz/
This entry was posted in Uncategorized, word of mouth and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to 5 Ways to Use Online Testimonials to Grow Your Business

  1. Thanks for the shout out!

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention 5 Ways to Use Online Testimonials to Grow Your Business | she means business -- Topsy.com

  3. Melissa Riley says:

    Rhonda, great post on the power of testimonials and the easy ways to collect them. We have found that clients love to be asked.

  4. Westchester-Flooring says:

    These are great ideas. We’ve been getting more online reviews and it’s really helping. But clearly there is much more we can be doing, esp on Facebook. Thank you.

    Debbie Gartner

  5. Debbie,

    Thanks for your comment! With the growing importance of Google Local, some clients have been successful with Yelp and other local review sites like Citysearch, Merchants Circle, Yahoo, etc. Have you tried any of these?

    Rhonda

  6. Pingback: Online Reviews: The Consumer Is In The Drivers Seat | she means business

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