*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.
Confidence. That’s what potential customers want to know they will have when they make the decision to hand their money over to your small business for a purchase. As consumers, there are tell-tale signs we look for that indicate whether or not we can trust that a product will deliver what it promises to do in its marketing language. We feel good when we recognize reliable name brands, consumer reports give a “thumbs up” rating or when someone we know makes a recommendation. As small business owners we can appease a consumer’s sense of wanting to trust us by providing testimonials from our satisfied customers.
Sometimes customers are so impressed by a product or service they will be inclined to give you testimonials of their own volition. The easier you make it for them to give you their opinions, the greater are your chances for getting this invaluable documentation. In my marketing firm, we use blogging as a method of maintaining contact with our customers. The “post a comment” feature makes it very conducive to getting testimonials. WordPress, a blogging platform can easily be set up with additional functionality using “plugins” that encourage hearty discussions and feedback.
You’ll do very well by taking a proactive attitude toward collecting testimonials. According to Joe Rubio of Adalante Consulting they should offer a good story written in first person by the customer and cover what they needed, what they purchased and their evaluation of the purchase. You can get this information for your small business by creating a user-friendly survey form. In the form you ask questions such as:
“What were the circumstances that brought you to us?”
“What was the buying experience like and what did you get?”
“How did you like your purchase? Did it meet your expectations?”
“Are there any special comments or recommendations you would like to pass on?”
Include a release statement on the form that describes how you intend to use their information and authorization to do so. Respect your customer’s identity by using initials rather than their full names and addresses on public materials. Ask them if they are willing to provide a personal photo. Use your own digital camera if you have the opportunity. You can even film them for a short video clip and post this on your site, or on YouTube. Written testimonials are the next best thing to word-of-mouth referrals. They inspire confidence in your potential customers to go ahead and make purchases from your small business.
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