Advertising to your target market the products or services you sell is a great way to inform potential customers of what you have to offer. But every claim made in your advertisement is coloured by the knowledge that you are spruiking products for financial gain. Accordingly, a potential customer will keep in the front of their mind that the promised relationship is between a seller and a buyer. As the famous saying goes, caveat emptor - “buyer beware”. You can’t trust everything that you read in advertising.
However, every business is sitting on a highly valuable asset which, if used properly, has the potential to dramatically increase the number of new customers. That’s right - a list of satisfied customers.
The Secret Behind Star Ratings
Potential customers like to read about satisfied customers because it is seen as an independent verification of the claims made in an ad. When you read how much someone has been satisfied by a spending decision, it raises confidence that the decision is a good one for other people too. And instead of a conversation between a seller and a buyer, you now have a buyer talking to a potential buyer about the positive experience they enjoyed with your business.
The power of recommendations is evident in the way e-commerce sites place user reviews or star ratings right at the top of the page next to the ‘buy’ button. Potential customers believe in safety in numbers, and if 40 out of 50 people have given a product five stars they will feel reassured that buying that product is highly likely to be a wise decision.
Satisfied customers are a fantastic resource because you already know who they are - it’s information you freely own. There’s nothing stopping you from emailing your best customers tomorrow for their opinions, although you might get a better response if you request feedback personally. Always ask their permission first before you include a testimonial; some customers might not consent to their name being used in a marketing campaign.
The first step is often the hardest. Collecting customer satisfaction ratings can be a revealing and not always positive experience. Some customers might love the product but have reservations about the timeliness in delivery, the quality of your website or the attitude of your sales team.
Recommendations consist of two elements - the message itself and the identity of the referrer. Both are important. It’s often interesting to look at the ‘puffs’ on the back of a book jacket; sometimes the bigger ‘names’ are quoted first, even if their recommendations aren’t as glowing.
Once you have a selection of short, snappy quotes from reputable customers, add them to any location a customer might see them. That might mean your website, business card, newsletter, in-store marketing, pamphlets, corporate t-shirts. Good news deserves to be shared.