New Year-New Habit No. 6: Use Customer Testimonials

Congratulations! You’ve completed the first work week of 2012. Are you developing new public relations or social media habits that will set you apart? If not, it’s not too late. Review my suggestions this week about good social media etiquette, calling instead of emailing, using social media productivity tools, updating your image and becoming headline-worthy. Today my suggestion will rev up your marketing communications. If you are looking for new ways to market your company, don’t overlook the importance of customer testimonials.

New Year-New Habit No. 6: Use Customer Testimonials

Here are the top 10 ways to use customer testimonials effectively:

1. Sales collateral
The most traditional use of a case study or testimonial is to include it among your company’s sales collateral given to prospective customers. It could be a stand-alone piece or incorporated into a brochure.

What Do Your Customers Say about You?

2. New business solicitation
Go one step further in your sales solicitations by mailing or e-mailing prospective customers directly with testimonials. This often is perceived as a “softer” sales approach, as a customer testimonial is viewed more objectively than a company’s own marketing pitch.

3. Corporate positioning
Many companies, wishing to be viewed as customer-centric, use customer testimonials as the basis of their ad campaigns.

4. Website content
Make use of your corporate website by including a section on customer testimonials. It adds examples of real-world applications that site visitors will appreciate.

5. Customer recognition
You can reward your most important customers by soliciting feedback from them about your products and services — and then use the testimonial to promote your company and theirs.

6. Press or analyst references
The media and analysts scramble for objective, third-party views of your company. Although business and financial reporters and financial and industry analysts won’t use a case study provided word for word, they often will use it as springboard for covering your company or follow up with the customer for an interview.

7. Employee communications
Employees crave good-news stories about the success of their company — especially early wins for startups. Company leaders should send customer testimonials to all employees and recognize the employees who were instrumental in gaining the customer’s favorable response.

8. Speeches
You can weave testimonials into speeches to show how end users have used you product or service successfully.

9. Trade shows
There are multiple uses for testimonials at trade shows. Companies can include testimonials in their presentations, speeches, marketing collateral and even booth graphics. Many also include customers in their in-booth demonstrations.

10. Bylined articles
Some trade publications will publish case studies with a byline from either a company or customer representative.

Tell me how you’ve used customer testimonials — and let me know what public relations or social media habits you’d like to develop this year.

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