Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Your Testimonial Can Work For You Too

You may not realize it, but every day you come in contact with someone who can promote your business—for FREE. All you have to do is tell them a story about your experience with their product or service, and they'll be happy to relay it to others in the form of a testimonial.

Providing a testimonial gives you an opportunity to let others know not just about your experience with a product or service, but also about your company as well. Simply by including your company’s tagline or a short description, you’re able to promote yourself to prospective clients.

And remember, doing so works both ways! When you provide a testimonial, you may be asked to give one back. So talk about your experiences and make sure that your results match.

Share your story
If I think my story can help someone come to a more-informed decision, learn something new or connect with an industry leader, I email them a quick reference—even if it is just to say thank you and recognize and describe some of the benefits I received by working with them or applying their advice.

You can do the same. Or better yet, send them a video. If you have a digital camera or webcam, why not step in front of it for a few seconds and give them a snapshot of your experience? (Check your appearance first; you want to look your best.) Let them post a clip of it on their website; link it to YouTube or use it in their proposals, brochures and other promotional materials. Your investment in time can become a cost-effective marketing/PR measure to expand your reach and take aim at your desired target audiences.

Here are more quick tips to writing great testimonials:

Keep your review short and sweet

Write up a short and sweet account of your story or what your experience was like with this person. Stick to one main point and summarize it in a few sentences. And mention your expertise in a quote like this:
"As a __________, I found your suggestion about __________ to be a key piece of information I needed to _____________________."

Record it

Video or audio testimonials leave a much longer impression than written words and are fast becoming the next wave in publicity and promotion. So you might consider recording your testimonial as opposed to just handing it over.

Power signature

Whenever you send a testimonial, include a power signature. Go beyond your name and add any relevant information that supports your connection to the audience: your company name, appropriate title [for some you may be president, others a speaker or a consultant] and your website. Sending your photo along with your comments connects your name with your face and also gives you an opportunity for added exposure.

Send it

Sending your testimonial on your letterhead with a signature is the most formal approach, and is also the best when your letter will be displayed. Follow up with an email that includes an audio or video attachment. Give them approval to use your testimonial and photo in their press releases, as well as at their business and on their website.

Take action

Now that you know how to write and package your testimonials, you must take action TODAY.

Here’s how:
● Ask every client and supplier you work with for a letter of reference.
● Send a follow-up email to a speaker after a presentation depicting your top takeaways.
● Look in your inbox and find an e-zine you like, choose to respond to an article with a comment and testimonial on how much you enjoy each issue.
● Pick out a few products you like using, look up the company's contact information and let them know how their products make your life better.
● Offer to be a spokesperson—either paid or unpaid.
● Track the links from online mentions to your site[s] and blog[s] to measure your success.

Tell them about it!

Never underestimate the power of a good testimonial, whether it’s one that you provide a company or one that a client has provided you. Whether your marketing budget is a line item or simply a case of wishful thinking, these methods only require honest feedback and time. Not only do testimonials help you connect with other like-minded clients, you’ll also expand your marketing reach to other markets that you may not have targeted yet.

About the author:
Janette Burke, 'Your Marketing Magnet,” is a marketing/PR coach, consultant, columnist, trainer and speaker. She's also the creator of “Janette’s Marketing/PR Process TM” ("JMPP")—her unique, customized, cost-effective, one-on-one, step-by-step, do-it-yourself, get-results-now marketing/PR coaching and consulting program. “JMPP” comes fully packed with her invaluable marketing/PR know how, assessments, insider tips, action-plans, proven strategies, feedback, resources and contacts, and is ideal for those book authors, professionals, marketing directors, corporate executives, small and mid-size business mavericks who are bent on generating qualified referrals, closing more sales and leading and succeeding in their market place (without having to comb through numerous marketing/PR books, attend one marketing/PR course after another or pay big agency fees in order to do so)! To learn how Janette can help you grow your business, visit

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