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Harness the Power of Testimonials to Leverage Your Brand

by Hermas Haynes

One of the most powerful and very often overlooked strategies that the Web business can use to expand its customer base and reach new markets, comes in the form of the customer testimonial.

A great testimonial can add credibility, infect readers with enthusiasm for your product and is relatively easy to get. And when you consider the economics, one strong testimonial from a satisfied customer can dramatically outperform many types of paid advertising.

To enjoy that luxury requires you to take the initiative and set up an ongoing system for soliciting testimonials from different segments of your market, and then find creative ways to use them to your advantage. Here are some ideas to get you started.

How to Obtain the Testimonial

1. Provide a feedback form on your Web site and make it easy for customers to submit their experiences and opinions about using your product. Then follow up with a thank you email and make sure to ask permission to use their comments in your future marketing efforts.

2. Give away freebies of your product to a select number of your customer or newsletter lists and have them tell you what they like and don't like about it. The "likes" will be testimonials and the "don't likes" will let you know where improvement is needed.

3. Ask for opinions on particular product features so that you can accumulate testimonials that address a range of benefits. This will give you quite a bit of marketing flexibility when you need to draw attention to specific aspects of your product.

4. Set up a toll-free number for customers and invite them to call in at their convenience and record their impressions. This is easy to do, does not cost them a single penny, and it can be set up to draw responses from as large a geographic area as you can afford.

How to Market the Testimonial

1. Use as much identifying information as necessary to satisfy readers that the testimonial is authentic. Include the customer's full name, their professional credentials, location and domain address to help convey legitimacy.

2. Choose testimonials that highlight a specific benefit or that appeal to a particular untapped segment of your market. Only use those that you believe will do the best job of influencing acceptance for your product and attracting new business.

3. Plug them into your advertisments as headlines, classifieds, or sprinkled throughout your promotional Web pages. They can also be used on fliers, brochures, business cards and other offline advertising materials.

4. Dedicate a page to all your testimonials and direct visitors there to read other people's appraisals of your product. This is a powerful way to reinforce value, show benefits, and convince those that may still be undecided.

5. Embed audio or video testimonials in your Web pages to add the elements of sound and motion to the mix. It's not an expensive or complicated process and will drive up your business because the newly engaged faculties will make the stories seem more compelling.

The testimonial is essentially word-of-mouth advertising, and that has always been a reliable way to create interest and convert prospects. The investment is miniscule in relation to the payoff, and whether solicited or not, it works wonders for business when done right.

About the Author:

Hermas Haynes has more than five years of solid online marketing experience and is the webmaster of http://ebizinfocenter.com - a popular resource for marketing ideas, tools and strategies that will help you advance your Web business.

Have a nice day!

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