Many small business owners shy away from marketing because they feel uncomfortable blowing their own trumpet. In an ideal world, our products and services would sell completely on reputation alone and all we’d have to focus on is doing a great job.
But the marketplace is swamped with businesses, services and products and you have to do something to stand out. But I’ve got good news for you: There is a way around this and it’s not even complicated!
Let Your Customers Speak For You
It’s that simple: Earn the trust of your target group by letting OTHERS boast about your skills and talents. Who’s better suited for that than happy customers and clients?
As employees we use references to back us up, so why not do the same with your small business? There are several ways to use good feedback to market your small business, so you can pick and choose what suits you and your company.
Have A Routine
If you want to harness customers or clients satisfaction, have a workflow in place. Establish a system where customers are automatically asked for feedback after your work is done or your product has been delivered.
Make it easy for them to get back to you and always ask if it’s ok to use their feedback for your marketing, especially if you want to use their name or photo. Most people are happy to give something back and shout about your successes.
Reviews are supposed to be objective and impartial but, thanks to the internet, we know this isn’t always the case. To use reviews to attract new business, choose a reputable and reliable platform for it.
Whether you want online or print reviews, pick a forum that is used by your target group and is easily accessible. Any hurdles in signing up or writing the review itself will make it harder for you to collect a decent amount of feedback. One tip is to send customers a few points they could cover in their review to help them get started.
Unlike reviews, testimonials are personal statements from your clients or customers about you, your products/services or your customer service. You can use them on your own website, in newsletters and advertising and they’re often preferred by small businesses because they’re personal and individual.
LinkedIn has a great way of getting testimonials from clients and co-workers or, if you work B2C (business to consumer), simply email customers and ask for a statement for your records. Again, you can easily send them a draft so they don’t have to start from scratch.
3. Case Studies
If you usually work on larger projects, consider using case studies to do the complexity and scope of your work justice. This way you can describe your clients’ goals, the steps you took to achieve them and the results.
Case studies are a great way to describe your approach or procedure and give you ample room to explain the benefits of working with you to potential clients. Round them up with a little testimonial from your client and a sample of your work, if possible.
If you’d rather be in charge of customer reviews or testimonials, consider asking them questions. A few quick questions by email or even a little survey will find out their thoughts and ways you can improve your service.
These interviews can also be used for PR, for example in an advertorial where you give your small business a platform by letting your customer tell the readers everything about you.
It can be beneficial for your business to exchange links with your clients and customers, for example having their logo on your website and vice versa, linking to your respective websites. Another way to collaborate is to advertise in each others’ newsletters or blogs.
It’s a win-win situation: They can let their customers know how they improved their booking process with your help, for example, and you can spread the word about how easily their staff found the new system you installed for them.
Happy customers and clients are, of course, the ideal source for referrals or recommendations. Whenever you talk to a satisfied customer, ask them to spread the word and refer people they know who could benefit from working with you.
Offer them a discount for every successful recommendation or something similar, as long as you always thank them for their loyalty. One thing still works better than online reviews and that’s word-of-mouth.
Of course, letting clients or customers speak for your small business always comes with risks. Negative reviews on TripAdvisor, angry customers on Facebook and disgruntled employees on Yelp – it can go wrong.
But keep in mind that nobody’s perfect. I’d actually be a bit suspicious if a company only had stellar ratings without the odd complaint among it. Plus, there’s always a way to respond to negative feedback and show potential new clients that you care.
WANT TO READ MORE?
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
Do You Know Where Your Clients & Customers Are Coming From?
How I Found My Ideal Client & What I Learned Along the Way
Are You Hiding from Your Customers?
7 Steps to Understanding Your Customers