Nothing speaks to a customer more than a testimonial or review. It’s something that cuts through all the marketing jargon and tells you what the product or service is and it’s return on investment.
Your marketing tells prospective clients how you can improve their lives – testimonials prove it.
To quote Mark Zuckerberg: “People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friends. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.”
But when you’re just launching a product, how do you generate these statements of social proof?
The answer is to gather them in your product development process, and here’s how:
1. Free Trials
People love free things. They also love to be the first to try something. So appeal to this audience. Onboard as many people as you can in the early stages of your launch. Ask them for feedback and how to develop the product – don’t ignore them!
When the free trial ends, thank customers for using your product and ask, “Would you recommend our product to family and friends? If so, why?” If you don’t receive much of a response, offer to extend the free trial as a reward for the comments.
And, voila, you have a testimonial!
2. Perfect Your Welcome
In the late 90s, the Harvard Business Review published an article about the Experience Economy, explaining that “Commodities are fungible, goods tangible, services intangible, and experiences memorable.”
This statement is still true 17 years later. In a world where sales are often conducted online and businesses need to maximize efficiency, the need for a personal connection is often craved.
It’s something Small Business BC’s Best Community Impact Winner Christina Platt, founder of Bamboletta Dolls knows all too well. Each of her handmade dolls has a name and a story. And, each is sent with an adoption certificate and care instructions.
So take a step back, consider what you can do to make a personal connection or how you can create an experience for a customer using your product. If you don’t find the testimonials pouring in, simply create a process to contact the customer and ask how they are, what they think of the product and if they will recommend it.
3. Ask For Volunteers
Do you belong to a LinkedIn or Meetup group? Or are you part of the local BIA or Chamber of Commerce?
These communities can be the perfect place to find testers who are willing to review your product and give honest feedback.
If their experience is positive, you can then ask if you can use their comments as testimonials. Just remember to return the favour when another member of your community is looking for help too.
4. Build Relationships with Credible Experts
Think about the last book you read. Whether it was fiction or non-fiction it is likely there were a series of quotes from other writers and members of the press who praised the book.
Why not do the same for your product?
Build relationships with experts in your field and ask them for feedback. It was a tactic used by very successfully by Small Business BC’s Best Online Marketer Award Winner Jennifer Wilson, Owner and Founder of VONBON reached out to well respected mom bloggers and famous new moms with examples of her products. Excited by her product those moms then shared their testimonial on their own social media and websites.
But how do you approach credible experts who get so many requests? Just be yourself. Start genuine conversations with them on social media. Cultivate your relationship. Ask for their advice. Then send them your product as a thank you – and wait for the testimonial.
5. Invite People to Test Your Beta Version
All products go through multiple rounds of revision. Whether it’s a piece of software or a purse, get your customers involved in your development process. No matter how clear you are about what you want your business to be, you have to ask your actual customers if you’re achieving it. So get them involved early, and let them know you want their honest and useful feedback. Not only will it help you develop your business, but will provide you with some great testimonials.
Collect, Curate, Publish
Product development is fun and a great time to collect testimonials. But remember, feedback is a continuous and that collecting the opinions of your clients throughout your businesses lifecycle.
Whether you use them immediately on your website or just collect them as a useful content for your marketing, keep them current, in a central location, and most of all, keep creating those great impressions.