3 Ways to turn testimonials into marketing gold dust

testimonials

Your clients love you and you have some great testimonials. Today, I want to show you how to transform those testimonials into a massively valuable asset for your business.

I was prompted to write this, after I added some testimonials to a page that promotes my individual marketing sessions. In just 72 hours, using the 3 ideas I’m about to share with you, bookings surged by almost 50%.

Here’s what I did and how to make it work for you and your business.

The 3 Key factors

First of all, here’s the page I’m going to be referring to. If you take a look, you will see that I have used the testimonials in a very specific and highly effective way.

Here are the 3 key factors behind the success of those testimonials.

1. The testimonials are in the correct place

Many business owners have a dedicated testimonials page. This is extremely ineffective. Your prospective clients need to see testimonials in context! Testimonials need to be right there, as a part of the message they’re reading.

This makes your marketing message stronger, because an independent 3rd party is confirming how valuable your offering is, at the exact point where the prospective client is forming their opinion.

2. The testimonials stand out, rather than get in the way

Even when a business owner places them on the same page as their marketing message, they usually use the wrong format. Typically, the testimonials will be placed into the text of the marketing message.

The challenge with that approach is that it breaks up the flow of your message. It gets in the way. It weakens what you have to say.

If you take a look at what I did, you’ll see that the testimonials are delivered as images… clean, clear white text on a deep grey rectangle. These text images are placed to the right of the actual content, so they are there to be seen, yet without them breaking the flow of the message. This allows you to get the balance right, between making the testimonial highly visible, yet not putting it in the way of your marketing message.

3. The testimonials are short and relevant

Most testimonials you see business owners using are way, way too long. Using lengthy testimonials wrongly presupposes that your prospective client is going to wade through the fluff, to find the key, relevant reassurance she needs.

Lengthy, diluted testimonials lack the impact of a short, relevant statement. They are also too long to use within your marketing message. So, find the key point or points of the testimonial and discard the fluff.

Remember: You worked hard to earn your testimonials. Now it’s time to make your testimonials work for you.

Successful marketing leaves clues

success leaves clues

When it comes to marketing, success leaves clues. By following these clues and learning from them, it’s possible to significantly improve your marketing.

For example, spend a few minutes thinking about the following:

  • The last marketing email, which you were motivated to open because it had a powerful subject line.
  • The last marketing email you read, which persuaded you to take action. [To ask for information, pick up the phone, make a purchase, etc.]
  • The last blog post you read, which you were motivated to bookmark, save or share.
  • The last advertisement you saw or heard, which led to you making a purchase.
  • The last service you experienced, which impressed you so much that you wanted to tell your friends about it. Read this. It will help.
  • The last newsletter you received, which you forwarded to¬†your friends.

Turning clues into results

Each of those examples contains a clue. To uncover the clue, you need to answer this question:

What can I learn from this example of marketing success, which I can adapt and apply to my own marketing?

By studying marketing success, it’s possible to make better marketing decisions. The good news here is that there are examples of successful marketing all around you.

Bonus: You can also learn a great deal by studying terrible marketing and uncovering why it was so ineffective. Knowing what to avoid is enormously valuable, too.

How easy would it be for your clients to replace you?

easy replace

It’s easy to find another service provider. The marketplace is flooded with them. They’re out there right now, offering a commodity service and fighting for attention.

It’s hard, really hard, to find an excellent service provider. These valued professionals are rare. Their clients love them, stay with them and recommend them.

No service provider sets out to be average

Most average service providers truly believe they are excellent. That’s why there are so many average [or below average] providers in every industry.

What happens, is they underestimate the services offered by their competitors and overestimate their own services. They fail to accept the passion their competitors have… how hard their competitors work and how dedicated their competitors are to serving their clients.

How replaceable am I?

It’s worth asking ourselves the following, difficult question from time to time: How easy would it be for my clients to replace me? By being totally honest with our answer, we get an invaluable insight into whether we’re an average or excellent provider.

This may help you. Think about your competitors and consider your answers to the following questions:

  • How average are your fees?
  • How average are the range of services you offer?
  • How average are your opening hours?
  • How average are the guarantees and promises you provide?
  • How average is your client retention?
  • How average is the number of client referrals you receive?

If your business seems a little too similar to what your competitors are doing, I very strongly recommend you read this. It has lots of useful advice on how to turn things around. It’s maybe the most important post I have ever written.

If your service provision is truly excellent, you need to make sure that this comes across in your marketing. An excellent business with average marketing is a travesty. It means you’re achieving a fraction of what you deserve. Don’t worry, I know a guy who can help you. Guaranteed!

Whatever your answer is, there’s important work to be done. So, what are you waiting for?

Marketing Tip: Seek out the dissatisfied

marketing tips, marketing ideas

Here’s an important fact of business: People who are happy with the service they get from one of your competitors, are not looking for whatever your business is offering.

Satisfied customers and clients are exactly that… satisfied. They ignore marketing messages, because they’re not in the market for a new (whatever).

So, even if you’re providing amazing value. Even if you are less expensive. Even if you are faster or more reliable, your value will be virtually invisible to those who are not interested.

Focus on the dissatisfied

Of course, it’s important to build an awareness of how great your product or service is. This is essential, so people know who you are and where you are, when they become dissatisfied.

However, if you want to have the full attention of the most motivated buyers, [people ready to make a purchasing decision right now], seek out the dissatisfied.

It’s far more rewarding than trying to convince the disinterested. It’s also a a faster and more sustainable way to build a successful business.

Tip: Here’s some free advice on how to build a successful business, which includes lots of ideas and examples.

Reach out, pay it forward and watch your whole world improve!

pay it forward, invest people, human business

Here’s a suggestion: When you connect with people today, leave them in a better position than you found them.

The temptation is for us to treat people with respect, but not to invest in them. Sure, we say please and thank you, but seldom look for an opportunity to invest in them.

The thing is, a few words from you can have a genuine, positive impact on someone who needs it.

For example:

  • Your words can boost their confidence, when they were starting to doubt themselves.
  • Your words can help shift their focus from negative or neutral, to positive.
  • Your words can encourage them, when they were beginning to lose faith.
  • And your smile may be the only sunshine they see today. Many people outwardly look happy, yet inside they are hurting. Something as simple as a smile or a sincere “thank you” can make a huge difference.

So, why did I refer to all this giving as an investment?

A non typical Investment

Many businesspeople fail to understand that some things are hard to measure immediately on a spreadsheet. If they can not see an obvious financial reward for doing something, they don’t do it. Investing in others fits into this category.

Business is all about people. Running a business with the kind of mindset I have just shared, improves how people feel about you. I have lost count of the times that someone I encouraged, has later been of just as much help to me… sometimes more.

You know what though? The sceptics are wrong!

Ironically, when we look back and, as Steve Jobs said, “join the dots,” we find that these hard to measure acts often end up having a direct, measurable impact on our own success. Oh, and if you want to start paying it forward immediately, why not share this message with your friends.

5 Extremely powerful questions to help your business thrive!

business development topics r

Today, I have 5 questions to help you and your business thrive. Each question comes with a suggestion, to point you in the right direction.

1. Are you earning trust by setting self imposed deadlines?

A great way to build trust is to deliver on a promise.

Think about it: Telling a client that their project will be ready “by the end of the week” is way less powerful, than telling her it will be ready “by 9am Thursday”.

Set deadlines and then deliver. When a client trusts you to deliver on your promises, they are extremely unlikely to seek out another provider. They are also massively more likely to recommend you to their friends. I wrote about this here.

2. Are you running your business?

If not, your business is running you. Unless you are working to a plan, you are simply reacting to whatever circumstances arise.

Tip: Never take business planning advice from someone, who has not achieved what you want to achieve. For example, be extremely cautious of marketing consultants who have to attend networking groups, because their own marketing doesn’t generate enough leads. There’s a powerful signal there.

3. Are you attracting daily sales or client enquiries from your website?

If not, you’re needlessly missing out on a wonderful opportunity. My blog generates over 100 emails a day — often twice that. Your site can be a sales generating machine too. However, it needs to be optimized correctly and you need to have the right strategy behind it. Invest in getting this right or you’re leaving money on the table every day.

Tip: Don’t copy what you see other sites doing. Almost every small and medium sized business blog or website I see, is poorly optimized.

4. Are you associating with the right people?

We tend to grow in the same direction as those we associate with. Mix with the wrong people and one day, everything they have will be yours. Think about that for a moment.

5. Are you learning from past business mistakes or repeating them?

If you are facing the same old frustrations, it’s because you’re repeating the same old errors. For better results, you need a better strategy. Old ways won’t open new doors.

I hope you find these ideas useful. More importantly, I hope something here inspires you to take positive action.

Don’t let this decision destroy your business

Pro development topics r

In many cases, business owners are missing out on massively better results because of an avoidable, sometimes fatal, yet tiny error.

How small? Just 5%!

Here’s what you need to know, including how to stop this error from crushing your business.

The marketing power of 5%

If you give a project 5% less than it needs, the cost to you is way more than 5%.

That’s because 5% less than good enough will achieve almost nothing. If it’s not good enough, even by 1%, you lose. It’s not good enough. That’s it.

If your marketing falls 5% short of what it needs to be, your sales or client acquisition numbers will be poor. You’ll be relying on repeat business and word of mouth referrals.

The challenge here, as you may already know, is that word of mouth referrals come when they come. In other words, they tend not to come when you need them, instead arriving when you’re too busy. This is such a common problem that it has its own name: the famine and feast cycle. This leads to cash flow problems, which cause more small businesses to go broke than any other factor!

Most small business owners are more than 5% away from what’s needed for their marketing to work. These hard working business owners wonder why their results are so erratic and why their lower quality [but better marketed] competitors are thriving.

It’s a decision — It’s always a decision

The decision to work hard, work long hours and make too little progress is exactly that. A decision. A deliberate decision, to be precise.

Why is it a deliberate decision?

Because you will never meet a small business owner, who doesn’t know when their marketing is under performing. They know better than anyone. They are totally aware that their efforts are not being rewarded. They are fully aware that their business isn’t developing the way they want it to.

Knowing this, they still decide to repeat the same errors.

Until one day, something changes

Sometimes it’s driven by the realization that things don’t just magically get better. Other times it’s a wake-up call, as they see that a landmark birthday [one with a zero at the end] is approaching. Occasionally the naked truth smashes them in the face — that they deserve more. So they make the decision to start growing their business correctly.

Some make the decision in time. Many will wait until it’s too late. These are the “let’s wait until next year” crowd. They become a casualty of their casual approach to business.

I have no idea where your business is right now. If your business is thriving, kudos to you.

If you want more from your business, the best time to do something about it was years ago. The second best time to do something about it… is today.

Use what you have, to get what you want

business development topics r

Think about it:

  • You can wait for the economy to improve. Or you can adapt to the opportunities available today.
  • You can wait for inspiration to appear. Or you can command it to appear. [Here’s what Steve Jobs and Picasso said about inspiration.]
  • You can wait for your competitors to raise the customer service bar. Or you can lead the way on service excellence.
  • You can wait for permission. Or you can take the initiative.

Focus on what you can control

It’s useful to remind yourself that your actions are what will determine your results. You only become a victim of poor commercial circumstances, if you passively allow those circumstances to control the direction of your business.

So, stay agile. Focus on what you can control. Set your own sail. Work with the things you can influence.

Do all you can with all you have… until you achieve the results that your agile thinking and hard work deserves.

Here’s why your business needs a great support network

network

To build a successful business, you need a great team of people around you. I’ve personally seen why this is so important over the past 72 hours… [more on that in a moment!]

Think about it:

  • You need to know what to do when faced with a challenge that’s outside your skill set.
  • You need to have someone to call, when only an expert will do.
  • You need people, who you can trust to help you when you need it most.

Here’s my first hand example of how a couple of potentially damaging issues were solved, thanks to having the right team around me.

There’s a very valuable lesson here for you and your business. Allow me to explain.

My blog vanished

On Sunday, the new-look Jim’s Marketing Blog went live. You can see how the new site looks, here. Everything went great, until I decided to make a few tweaks. Suddenly, my blog vanished!

So, it was 5pm Sunday. That’s absolutely not the best time to need expert help. Usually, that would have been a stressful situation. However, I knew everything would soon be fine. I emailed my developer, Gregor from Mass Media Design, and in no time the blog was back.

My server was attacked

Then, just before 11pm Tuesday night, my web server came under a heavy attack. Jim’s Marketing Blog had slowed down to a crawl. I called tech support at my hosts, WebFusion, and they took control. The problem was soon eradicated. I was able to go to sleep happy, knowing Rob and his colleagues were awake and making sure my server was fine.

Disclaimer: WebFusion sponsor my blog, however, I was a very happy customer of theirs for years before they sponsored me. It’s easy to see why I recommend them.

Without those key partners in place?

Had it not been for the team around my business, the past few days would have been extremely stressful. Without a great web developer, my blog would have been offline until at least 9am on Monday morning.

If I’d chosen cheap hosting, I could have been waiting 24 hours for a support ticket to be acted on. Then there’s no saying how long it would have taken them to resolve the problem. I’ve known sites on cheap hosting to be offline for 3 or 4 days.

The team behind your business

Here’s an important question to ask yourself about your business. When you need expert advice regarding; law, tax, technology, marketing, accounts, etc., who’s on your team?

The service providers you rely on for your business will have a huge impact on what you achieve. Get the best you can afford. Put them in place as soon as you can. This frees you up to focus on what you’re best at.

It also lets you plan ahead with confidence, knowing you have the key areas of your business covered and that you’re doing the right things, correctly.

Here’s a super fast way to boost your profits

marketing topics r

If you want to generate high quality sales extremely quickly, I have a powerful, proven idea for you. It’s based on a strategy I use with my clients, which has produced amazing results.

It can work for you too. Here’s what you need to know.

It’s based on 3 Facts… and a question

I want you to think about the following 3 facts, regarding your clients or customers:

  1. These good people trust you.
  2. They also have an existing trading relationship with you. In other words, they are used to working with you, receiving invoices from you and paying you. They also know you provide them with an excellent service.
  3. Because of those previous 2 points, making additional purchases from you is seen as low risk or no risk.

Now answer this question:

What additional, useful product or service could you offer to your existing clients or customers?

Here’s why this strategy works so well

Selling to your existing clients has 2 massive advantages over selling to strangers:

  1. The process is very quick, because of the 3 facts I just mentioned. This makes it perfect, if you want or need to increase your revenues and profits quickly.
  2. By offering more high value services to your clients, you become more valued as a provider. This makes them less likely to switch to an alternative provider. So, as well as making your clients more profitable, you also increase your chances of retaining their custom.

The bottom line here is this: If you’re looking for the fastest and least expensive way to generate far higher revenues and profits, this could be it. If not, it’s pretty darn close.

Oh, and if you want some help developing a new, attractive product or service, here are some ideas to help you.