Improving Student Testimonials
Student testimonials are one of the most effective marketing tools for any martial arts business, small or large. A business may suggest that they offer quality products and services, but to a jaded consumer such might be received as a hollow declaration. More likely to be accepted as true, though, are testimonials from previous customers. First-person narratives from old customers offer new customers full insight into a company's practices and product quality and are therefore a trusted yardstick for businesses. However, not all testimonials are created equal. For a customer testimonial to have a successfully positive influence on new customers, there are certain points or tips businesses should consider when obtaining testimonials from past customers.
1. Provide proof of genuine testimonials.
It's a known trick for businesses to hire content writers to provide false testimonials. Generic names like Bob S. or even anonymous reviews are triggers for doubt. To appear genuine, testimonials should include more than a random name attached to a review. Ask for permission to use your customer's real name and location if possible. Including a photo of the testimonial provider would further serve to verify their identity. If a photo isn't possible, providing a link to the customer's website, if there is one, is a good alternative.
2. Avoid ambiguity in the testimonial.
If it's a service you're offering or products you're selling, have the testimonial directly reference it. Vague testimonials are as effective as generic authors in that they're not. Potential customers are looking to see how good a business is at what it does, so have your testimonial provider answer that question in detail.
3. Provide numbers.
In keeping with the previous tip, testimonials should have specific content. When it comes to numbers, quantifying a point attracts greater positive attention. For example, if your services are cheaper than your closest competitor, citing the discount in a dollar amount will have a greater impact.
4. Follow the "Less is More" principle.
Superfluous testimonials will do more to damage your business than help it. A customer only needs a few reviews to determine if you're a company worth doing business with. Saturating your website with testimonials will appear to others as forced promotion so use only your best testimonials. If you have many positive testimonials, rotate which ones you feature on your website.
5. Feature great testimonials on your karate website.
Often one great testimonial is enough to clinch a sale. For a testimonial to qualify as great, some of its key features will include quantifiable, specific, positive content by an author that appears legitimate. If you have one of these, feature it front and center on your homepage so that it pops out to new visitors.
6. Sort testimonials into categories.
If your business offers several services, or if your testimonials focus on different aspects of your business such as different programs for different ages groups or genders, categorize them and present each in the section of your website that's relevant to the testimonial's content. For example, if there's a testimonial discussing a customer's positive experience with your customer service, feature it as supplemental marketing on your customer service webpage.
7. Display testimonials in unorthodox places.
Testimonials are traditionally featured on homepages and dedicated webpages. Broaden the landscape and include testimonials in email marketing campaigns or alongside business or product descriptions. The aim is to expose potential new customers to the positive experiences of past customers as often as possible in the hopes of influencing their decision to choose you and not your competitors. But remember tip number four and don't over do it.
8. Go after testimonials.
There's nothing wrong with recruiting customers to provide testimonials. Any successful business is rendered so by satisfying their customers, and every great business amasses a loyal group of customers. Ask them for testimonials or for permission to publicly quote any positive statements they've made in the past. There are always satisfied customers willing to share their experience, businesses just need to do the leg work and find them.
9. Get creative in your search for testimonials.
On social sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Formspring, consumers are always sharing their past experiences of dealing with businesses and their resulting unadulterated opinions of them. Searching these sites, as well as forums, and utilizing tools like Google Alerts or Monitter are a good way to track the public's opinion of your business and capture raw testimonials. When you find them, reach out to the authors for their permission to use their positive experience as a testimonial for your business. Chances are they will readily agree.
10. Always look for new testimonials.
Businesses change. Their products change and their services change, often for the better. For this reason it's always important to constantly obtain new testimonials. Always recruit past customers to provide testimonials and always track social networking sites, forums, etc. for positive references of your business. Consumers communicate with each other so if your business is a part of that conversation be there to capitalize on the opportunity to obtain testimonials. Constantly updating your testimonials show customers that your business is consistently providing stellar service, so make obtaining new testimonials a constant priority.
There's no better marketing campaign than using the words of a satisfied customer. Following these 10 tips for successful customer testimonials will help you to both obtain new testimonials and render them more effective in driving sales.