[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ord-of-mouth advertising is one of the best types of promotion. In addition to the cost (free, you can’t beat that), it is so successful because potential customers are hearing good things about your company from someone they can relate to and trust. This is invaluable currency to have in business. However, Nancy in Omaha, who happens to love your product or service, has a Facebook following of about 30 people – your company is one of them, and her cat is another. Her cat isn’t going to do much to spread the word, but you can share your message to potential buyers by developing a testimonial campaign. This is one of the most effective marketing strategies available today. Here are four best practices when using a testimonial:
Speaking the same language – The best reason for using customer testimonials is because they give buyers a chance to hear about your company from people who have enjoyed a good experience with your product or service. They didn’t have to give a testimonial; they are doing it because they really like what your company offers. Customers speak the same language and can read each other. Their “B.S.” detectors are dialed in when it comes to their industry. Turn on the camera or audio recorder and let them share their insights – you’ll be happy you did.
Authenticity matters – Nancy is sweet, but you want her testimonial to really sizzle. You think by scripting her statement and hiring an actor or having an employee read it, it will accomplish your goal, right? WRONG! Customers will see right through this. When you are trying to promote something, having the customer sell it for you is more effective. Using an employee or a paid actor makes the testimonial seem staged.
Take a look at this powerful customer testimonial that CPI produced recently.
Keep it raw – Have a customer who offered a glowing recommendation on video, but didn’t use proper English? Keep it. A testimonial that is too clean and polished – even it if does come from a customer – can be viewed the same way as featuring an employee or an actor. Go ahead and encourage the customer do a few takes to deliver a better, more confident quote, but avoid the urge to coach them too much. You want customers to speak as if they are talking directly to their peers.
Reuse and redistribute – If you have loyal customers who provide great insight into your products, you can squeeze some mileage out of that. If you plan to interview four customers for an article for distribution to industry outlets, those interviews can also be repurposed into print or digital ads with a picture of the person using your product and a pull quote from the interview. You could also record the interviews and put together a video for YouTube. For additional mileage, divide that video into shorter clips for social media. From one interview idea, you have created a multi-platform campaign that will resonate with potential customers…and possibly their cats.