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The Freelance Writers Blog

How to Create Money-Making Customer Testimonials

Francesca Yates - Saturday, July 17, 2010
This blog is going to tell you how to get money-making, deal-closing testimonials from your customers, instead of the lackluster  testimonials you've been forced to use. Our process of developing great customer testimonials will surprise you in its elegant simplicity and its amazing effectiveness. 

First, let's go back in time for a moment

My partner and husband  Duncan Yates and I are professional Internet writers and website content writers (hence our company name: Freelance Writers Dot US).  We have worked at the craft of advertising writing for over 25 years. Our lives as professional writers are divided dramatically into two parts--what we did before the Internet and everything we've been doing after the Internet dramatically arrived.

Before the Internet, we were direct marketing copywriters (a.k.a. direct response copywriters) and focused almost exclusively on B2B and B2C direct mail campaigns. As highly disciplined direct mail copywriters, the objective of our copywriting was to excite the reader so much about the product or service that they were compelled to take immediate action such as ordering, requesting information or returning the business reply card. How well we did our job was reflected in large part by the response rate of our target market.

What does this have to do with money-making customer testimonials?

An important ingredient for success in a direct mail campaign, as well as a website, is customer testimonials. The more, the merrier. Customer testimonials have always been a powerful sales-closing technique whether you're selling door-to-door, on interactively on the Internet.  As website content writers, we have found that testimonials are even more important online. They serve the important function of building confidence in potential buyers who may never have heard of you or your company and convincing them to buy from you even though you may be 3,000 miles away.

All customer testimonials are not created equal

Not by a long shot. There are three main types of testimonials, and and they vary widely in effectiveness.

Anonymous Testimonials
The more dramatic the claims are about the effectiveness of a product, the weaker the testimonials are.  Think of the "Lose 10 Pound of Ugly Fat Overnight" type of websites with suspiciously enthusiastic, yet anonymous, testimonials from "D.K., Atlanta" or "Housewife, N.Y.C."  The reason they are so suspicious is because they are usually fake. 

Typical Testimonials
They usually read something like, "Thanks for the great work you did!"  from "Mary Smith, Seattle, WA".  This type of testimonial is much better than "D.K. Atlanta," but it's got a long way to go before it can be considered a money-maker.

Money-Making Testimonials
These are testimonials that work hard for you and help your prospects make the final decision to buy from you. They are powerful, money-making deal-closers. They are longer than most testimonials because they have detailed information about the customer's experience with your company. They have the ring of authenticity to them. And they are signed by people with real names from real cities. B2B testimonials are signed by a real person with a name, a title, a company name, and a city and state.  You know you're reading the truth. That's why these testimonials are such great deal closers.

How can you get money-making testimonials from your customers?

If you're like most business professionals, you can only think of one way to get customer testimonials--you ask them to write one.  It may seem like a logical approach, but it's actually a big mistake.  Here's why:

1.  Your customers usually won't write a testimonial for you.  They say yes initially, but it's just not a priority for them. So they keep procrastinating. You don't remind them because you don't want to appear needy.  Time goes by, your customer completely forgets to write it, and you're too embarrassed to remind him. Sound familiar?

2. When your customers actually write a testimonial, it's not very inspirational or persuasive. It doesn't reflect the customer's genuine enthusiasm for your company. That's because most people aren't comfortable writing...anything!  Regardless of how pleased they are with your company, regardless of how many people they've referred to you, they don't know how to convey their feelings in writing. You can't just call them and say,  "Hey, you're testimonial was terrible. You're gonna have to make it better."  So you're stuck with a lousy testimonial.

Our 100% Fool-Proof Process for Getting Money-Making Testimonials from your Customers

Instead of asking your customers to write a testimonial, we interview them by phone and summarize their comments as a testimonial. They review our summary, revise it if necessary, and approve it. With our interview process, there's no need to wait for customers to write their own testimonials or nag them. And there's no need to settle for mediocre testimonials. As a third-party interviewer, we create a comfortable setting for your customers to talk honestly.

We have so much fun performing this service for our clients, because  the result is always money-making customer testimonials. Our clients are always thrilled and amazed that the testimonials are so powerful and genuine. A client in Atlanta--Elisabeth Jonas, owner of Encore Fundraising-- told us that the testimonials we developed  from interviews with over 30 of her customers had re-energized her sales force and given them more confidence when they made sales calls. Our client and SEO specialist, Evan Caulfield, Cybermed Marketing, summed up the testimonial interviews we've conducted with his clients in one word: "Awesome!"

"The Strongest Selling Point on my Website."

One of Cybermed Marketing's clients praised us for our website content writing and our customer testimonial service:

"You certainly taught me the selling power of professional website content writing! I appreciate all the great writing Freelance Writers Dot US did for our new website. I also thank you for interviewing ten of our customers and getting the wonderful testimonials that are now featured on our site. New customers are always telling me that they go to our Car Trendz website, read all the testimonials and feel confident that I will do a great job on their vehicles, too. I'm firmly convinced that our testimonials are the strongest selling point on my website.   Before my new website and the testimonials you got from my customers, new customers came from the local neighborhood.   I firmly believe that the testimonials have helped attract business from a wider geographic area. Some of my customers drive two hours to bring their car to me.  That never happened before. By the time they get here, they are already pre-sold and eager for us to do the work."   -- Tai Nguyen, Owner, Car Trendz, Alexandria, VA

We don't put words in your customer's mouth. We just ask the right questions, and they answer.

Step #1. You compile a list of satisfied customers you want us to interview. You contact each one to get their permission for us to interview them about their experience with your company.

Step #2.
  You give us the list of customers who agreed to be interviewed. Next to each customer's name, you write specific notes like, "Be sure to ask him about our deluxe service. He was thrilled with it." or "Be sure to ask him how we compared to the last company they worked with."

Step #3. 
We contact your customers by email or telephone and schedule a brief telephone interview -- 10-15 minutes max.

Step #4.  We interview each of them, asking specific questions that will generate solid details and a strong testimonial.

Step #5.  We summarize your customer's comments into a testimonial and email it to him along with a short Approval Form for his signature. We encourage your customers to revise their testimonial if it doesn't accurately reflect our interview. We've found that customers rarely change the testimonials we prepare, because we always listen carefully, take good notes and accurately summarize their comments.

Step #6.  Your client emails us the approved testimonial.  We then forward it to you. You now have the first of many money-making customer testimonials. Each will become a 24/7 sales closer on your website and other marketing materials.

Simple process...incredible results

Take advantage of our proven system to increase leads and sales on your website with customer testimonial marketing. Contact us today for more information about money-making customer testimonials.

Our new Business Catalyst website - Part 3: Designing the new site

Francesca Yates - Monday, May 17, 2010
When my partner Duncan and I made the decision to have Adobe Business Catalyst host our website and provide their impressive backbone of six integrated online business management tools, it was the perfect opportunity to do a major upgrade and expansion of our existing website, Freelance Writers Dot US.  Our Business Catalyst consultant, Evan Caulfield of Cybermed Marketing, began by copying our existing site and placing it on the Business Catalyst development platform.  At that point, Evan began to teach me how everything worked.

Our new Business Catalyst website - Part 2: Learning the Ropes

Francesca Yates - Thursday, May 06, 2010
In my last blog, I told you about the exciting launch of our new website, www.FreelanceWriters.us, powered by Adobe Business Catalyst's new online business management platform. My partner, Duncan Yates, and I are professional Internet writers, website content writers and SEO copywriters who work with many web design firms and SEO companies across the United States to give their clients the missing piece in their marketing strategy -- professional, results-getting content for all of their Internet needs.  We're very good at what we do; but when it comes to the more technical aspects of being an online business, we've had to rely heavily on our techie colleagues to explain, handle and implement the simplest things. And, naturally, we pay them for everything they do.

When our SEO colleague, Evan Caulfield, of Cybermed Marketing, introduced us to Adobe's new Business Catalyst platform last summer, we were blown away. He explained how  Business Catalyst now provides a powerful backbone to our website with an impressive set of six  tools that are so easy to use, even Duncan and I can use them.  Now instead of having to rely on webmasters to keep our website fresh or pay email marketing companies to send out emails for us, we can do it ourselves for free. 

The six tools are:  1) Text Editor;  2) Ecommerce; 3) Contact Forms; 4) Customer Relationship Management Tool; 5) Marketing Reports Tool; and 6) Email Marketing Tool.

This is amazing!  For the first time since we launched our first website in 1995, control of our online business is almost completely in our hands. But before we could control everything, we had to learn the ropes.  That's where Evan, our personal Certified Business Catalyst Consultant came in. He was fully trained on the system and took us under his wing. I'll tell you more in my next blog about what kind of student I've been.

Introducing our new website powered by Business Catalyst

Francesca Yates - Thursday, April 29, 2010
My writing partner Duncan Yates and I are thrilled to announce the launch of the latest update of our website, freelancewriters.us. We've launched several updates over the years, but never one like this. As small business owners like many of you, we've been constantly frustrated about being able to manage our online business more effectively.

For example, we understand the power of email marketing; yet, we couldn't afford to regularly use the popular email vendors out there such as Listrak and Constant Contact. Even though we are professional website content writers and Internet writers, we were not able to regularly refresh the content pages of our Freelance Writers Dot US website as often as we would have liked, because we had to pay our webmaster to make every change and addition.

As non-techies, everything we thought about doing seemed to be very tedious, confusing and expensive. Sad to say, we became passive about our website, instead of actively engaged in running a dynamic online business. We remained moderately busy due to repeat business from our loyal clients; however, as a result of our inattentiveness, our SEO rankings fell with a resounding THUD.

Last summer (2009), our long-time friend and SEO expert Evan Caulfield, Cybermed Marketing, in Burke, VA told us about Business Catalyst, a new website management system from Adobe, the iconic developer of some of the most popular Internet software programs such as Dreamweaver, Acrobat, and Photoshop.

Evan was attending a conference and overheard a casual conversation between two web developers during a break. Adobe hadn't  officially announced Business Catalyst at that time. Evan was intrigued by what he heard and began to research it. What he discovered was an amazing full-bodied online business management system -- Business Catalyst. He quickly realized that the system was truly awesome. He signed up to market it, went through their training program and became a Certified Business Catalyst consultant. We became his first Business Catalyst customer.

In my next blog, I'll tell you in more detail about how it has already revolutionized the way we market our professional content writing services. It’s a true godsend for any size business. By the way, we were invited to become a Business Catalyst reseller, but we decided that we wanted to simply stick with what we do best -- WRITING. But we are so enthusiastic about how Business Catalyst is empowering us for greater success online that we are eager to share our experience with you.

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